Thursday, January 20, saw a great turnout, over fifty people, for a neighborhood meeting about trail improvements in Glen Park. The 2008 Clean & Safe Neighborhoods Parks Bond has made $5.8 million available for overall improvements in city parks. Of that, $900,000 is slated for a trails restoration program among eleven park sites, Glen Canyon being one of them.
The Department of Recreation and Parks is partnering with the Trust for Public Lands (TPL), a national nonprofit organization focused on preserving land and developing and designing parks. TPL is gifting its services to this project. The Department of Public Works is involved in the landscape architecture aspect.
At the first of two meetings, the project managers hoped to introduce and get feedback on a number of issues and concepts– What are urban trails? What are the existing conditions in Glen Canyon? How do we explore and connect with nature in the city? Should we link up with other trails in the city and the Bay Area? What are the safety concerns? How can we have a sustained volunteer system to maintain the program? An so on.
Among the trail enhancements and improvements discussed were pathways, stairways, walkways, gravel surfacing, erosion mitigation, stability of walking surfaces, appropriate plantings, signage and navigation, and entrances and connections to the trails.
If this all sounds rather dry and technical, it was anything but.
Many people had favorite issues, such as bicycle paths; or special fears, such as the City paving over the park or overdeveloping it and destroying its wilderness aspect.
A lot of discussion centered on access points to trails in the park, either existing or possible additions. There was debate about “social” trails (made over time by foot traffic) vs. official trails.
There was a lot of impassioned and, at times, harsh discussion. At some points the meeting threatened to devolve out of control. The atmosphere got downright unruly at times, as the presenters tried to stick to the agenda they’d planned and the various slides they brought for illustration.
The next opportunity to meet will be an on-site trail walk in the canyon on February 5, from 10 AM to noon. The meeting place will be the picnic area outside the Recreation Center.
The second planning and design meeting will be on February 17.