For local mountain bikers, a new conservation plan for land above Cal Poly Canyon offers both good and bad news.
Cyclists on the newish Stenner Creek Natural Reserve will likely lose some unsanctioned trails, which the city says are creating erosion problems, but they could gain a new trail along with a special “skills area.”
The plan encompasses four parcels of land totaling 363 acres spread across two areas on West Cuesta Ridge. The majority of that land, 314 acres, was donated to the city of SLO in 2007 by the SLO County Land Conservancy.
The conservation plan, which will be reviewed by planning commissioners on Aug. 26, includes several environmental projects, such as removing non-native eucalyptus trees and planting native oaks instead, and wetland restoration projects. Several segments of unsanctioned trails are also set to be closed as “restorative areas.”
City Natural Resources Manager Neil Havlik said the city is trying to get permission from Camp San Luis, which has a 50 percent interest in one of the properties, to allow the building of about a mile of new trails. The skills area, a sort of jungle gum of raised wood trails for bikes, is not included in the list of projects the city wants to implement over the next six years, but is included in the city’s list of goals as a possible use for the open space.
Still, according to Havlik, there would probably be a net decrease in trail mileage. Up to two miles of pirated trail would be shut down, he said, to curb erosion problems. One of the trails, which originates near the “Morning Glory” trail and continues through the botanical gardens, is very steep and prone to erosion. The other trail likely to be axed originates near the eucalyptus grove and heads east.
After the conservation plan is viewed by the planning commission, it will be considered by the Parks and Recreation Commission, and finally, the plan will go before the city council on Sept. 15.