State of California – The Resources Agency
DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
NOTICE OF PREPARATION
The California Department of Parks and Recreation is the Lead Agency under the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and is considering the preparation of a joint program level (first-tier) environmental document for the Santa Monica
Mountains National Recreation Area Interagency Regional Trail Management Plan.
The Trail Management plan will serve as a "blueprint" establishing the overall direction of future development and management of the trail network over the next ten to fifteen years. Based on desired conditions to be identified for park natural, cultural and recreational resources, the Trail management Plan will prescribe polices to streamline interagency management of the trail network throughout the National Recreation Area, and will also include a trail policy map depicting the planned trail network. The Trail Management Plan could potentially result in a program modifying current trail polices, recreational use patterns, and future trail openings and closures.
The National Park Service (NPS), the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR), and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) are to be cooperators in the preparation of the Trail Management Plan.PROJECT TITLE: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Interagency Regional Trail Management PlanPROJECT LOCATION: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, California
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area encompasses 150,050 acres, with approximately 71,300 acres of public parkland and the rest in private or other government ownership. Within the national recreation area, there is a 320-mile public trail network consisting of trails and dirt service roads. The greater Santa Monica Mountains trail network adjacent to the National Recreation Area features over 80 additional miles of public trails, several of which feed into the recreation area. Public lands and the trails in the National Recreation Area are managed by federal, state and local agencies with varying management policies. Additionally, much of the trail network consists of utility and old ranch roads that were inherited with the land and are not necessarily constructed to public trail management standards. After almost 25 years of continuous land acquisition, the public trail network has grown significantly, and several trails now cross parkland jurisdictional boundaries. There is the need to formulate an interagency regional trail plan to compile trail management policies to facilitate a seamless recreational experience for trail users and to prepare a vision for the final trail network and future development of trail-related facilities, ranging from trail network signs to backcountry trail camps.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The National Park Service, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy will jointly prepare an interagency regional Trail Management Plan (TMP) that will establish the overall direction of future development and completion of the trail network over the next ten to fifteen years. Based on identified desired conditions for park natural, cultural and recreational resources, the TMP will prescribe policies to streamline interagency management of the trail network throughout the national recreation area. The TMP will also include a trail policy map depicting the planned trail network. The planning and environmental analysis associated with the TMP could potentially result in a program that would modify current trail policies, recreational use patterns and future trail openings and closures.
POSSIBLE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS: The draft TMP EIR/EIS will address environmental and social impacts associated with the National Recreation Area’s trail network. Environmental issues will include, but not be limited to, trail and/or trailhead adjacency to sensitive plant and animal species’ habitats; adjacency to cultural and archaeological resource sites; trail erosion and impacts on water resources; soils and geology impacts from trail presence and new trail construction; back country camp impacts including fire hazard potential. Social impacts will include, but not be limited to, allowable uses and user conflicts on trails; trail network public access; trail network compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements; proposed trail and trailhead construction; trail network management and operation guidelines; and trail network signs.
PUBLIC MEETINGS: Public scoping for an interagency trail plan began with the Santa Monica Mountains Area Recreational Trails (SMMART) project that culminated in the 1997 SMMART Report. The SMMART Report is available for review at www.nps.gov/samo/trails. The SMMART Report contains the public’s recommendations regarding missing links in the trail network, back country camps along the regional Backbone Trail, trail network sign guidelines, multiple use trail guidelines, and trail system design. The report also put forth a list of priority coordination issues not addressed in the SMMART project, including interagency cooperation, volunteer commitment, and multi-agency trail crew and equipment sharing.
The National Park Service, the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy will conduct a conservation planning and environmental impact analysis for the proposed Interagency Regional Trail Management Plan. For initial scoping and alternative development, written comments will be accepted. The most useful comments are those that identify concerns and issues, provide essential environmental information, and suggest reasonable design alternatives that should be considered in initiating the TMP EIR/EIS process.
PLAN DEVELOPMENT & ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW: Once written and prepared, the Draft Trail Management Plan, including an environmental analysis section, will be made available for public review and comment in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Draft Trail Management Plan will then be refined, and responses to public comments prepared. The plan will then be presented along with public comments, and responses to comments. Following publication of this Notice, CDPR will issue a Notice of Preparation to initiate a draft environmental impact report (EIR) effort. The official responsible for the EIR is Ruth Coleman, Acting Director, California Department of Parks and Recreation.
We need to know the views of your agency or organization as to the scope and content of the environmental information that is germane to your agency's or organization’s statutory responsibilities in connection with the proposed project.
Your response must be sent to the address below not later than thirty (30) days after the receipt of this notice. We would appreciate the name of a contact person in your agency.
DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION CONTACT PERSON
Russ Dingman, Park and Recreation Specialist
Interagency Regional Trail
401 West Hillcrest Drive
Thousand Oaks, California 91360
FAX (805) 370-1850
Trail Planning-Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Notice of Preparation