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California Coastal Trail

Ca. Coastal Trail emblemThe California Coastal Trail (CCT) will be one of the great trails of our nation. Once completed, it will extend 1,200 miles, 15 counties, along the coast from Oregon to Mexico. The California Coastal Trail is a network of public trails for walkers, bikers, equestrians, and others along the entire California coastline. It is currently more than half complete. One can make their way along the entire California coast finding trails through state, national and local parks, walking the sand or cobbles on beaches, and traipsing sidewalks or going along gingerly at the edge of rural roads and urban highways. In some instances the way is blocked by private property or government facilities, and in others it is blocked by water. In some cases, one must go inland. But it can be done. Finishing the trail will be a big job. Challenging will be to get all of the different jurisdictions, cities, counties, parks, etc., working together on deciding on a specific continuous alignment, setting standards, and getting the trail actually completed. Fortunately, there is a plan and mandate to complete the trail. Resolution ACR20, passed by the state legislature in 2000, declared that the CCT is an official state trail. The trail got Federal recognition that year too and was declared a Millennium Heritage Trail by President Clinton. How it started: In northern California, coastal awareness and activism started with PG & E’s 1962 attempt to build a nuclear power plant on Bodega Head. Defeated by an innovative group, with the presence of the San Andreas Fault, PG & E abandoned the site and left the evacuation for the reactor as a water filled monument to the battle of opening the power plant. From 1964 on, the number of projects to the coastline started to multiply, including five more power plant sitings were proposed. The Santa Barbara oil spill from offshore drilling occurred. These were just warnings of what was to come. Added to the industrial exploitation were land use threats of numerous housing developments hugging the coastline from Del Norte to San Diego. The 1972 Coastal Initiative, passed by 55% of the voters, was a landmark in coastal protection for California and even the nation, and again was an expression by the public of their devotion to this magnificent coastline. The state commission established by the 1972 initiative had twelve members that were appointed equally by the Senate, Governor, and Assembly. Plus five coastal regional commissions were established, using the same appointment procedure, to hold hearings and issue local permits. The State Commission was to develop a California Coastal Plan to be adopted by the legislature in 1976 at which time the Commission was to be made a permanent institution. The Legislature narrowly voted to carry out the mandate of Proposition 20 and added two necessary additions to satisfy local government. The Legislature mandated that coastal counties and cities to develop a local coastal plan that met the criteria of the California Coastal Plan. In addition, the Legislature appropriated money to buy coastal land and help develop trails, public access, and habitat restoration. What will the trail be like: After considerable discussion and consideration of prior descriptions of the Coastal Trail in legislative documents, it was agreed on this definition of the California Coastal Trail. A continuous public right of way along the California coastline. A trail designed to foster appreciation and stewardship of the scenic and natural resources of the coast through hiking and other complementary modes of non-motorized transportation. Estimated Linear Mileage of Mendocino County Coastline:
  • Highway Corridor Improvements …………………. 54 miles
  • Acquisition / Construction on Private Lands ….. 25 miles
  • Construction on Public Lands ……………………….. 7 miles
  • Current Improvements Adequate ………………… 41 miles
spring ranch headlands trailThe California Coastal Trail from Stevenswood Spa Resort is probably one of the greatest examples of what the California Coastal Trail offers. Leaving from the front door of Stevenswood and walking down the driveway to Coastal Highway 1, you would cross the street and enter through the large gap in the fence line. This part of the California Coastal Trail is a fun walk through a beautiful meadow where you will see deer, birds and other wildlife leading to the high cliffs over the Pacific Ocean. At this point the trail above the ocean which is a beautiful 1.5 mile easy walk where benches are set-up for watching the seals, birds, migrating whales for 4 to 5 months of the year, and of course the beautiful sunsets one thinks about when you come to the coast. The Headlands for guests of Stevenswood is a favorite place to enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch made by our chef at the resort.
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