Marin County Parks and Open Space Department

Road and Trail Management Plan/Environmental Impact Report

Overview

The Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) is developing its first comprehensive Road and Trail Management Plan (RTMP) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to direct future use and management of roads and trails on the MCOSD’s 34 preserves. The RTMP/EIR will employ extensive public involvement, and will incorporate the MCOSD’s mission, community preferences, natural resources goals, and the best available science in decision making. Land managers from sister agencies in Marin County also will be engaged to maximize opportunities to serve the Marin County citizens, and to coordinate protection of Marin’s natural lands and important habitats. Project timeline

Background

Since its inception in 1972, the MCOSD has acquired and preserved nearly 16,000 acres of marshland, forests, creeks, and rolling hills that define the character and quality of life in Marin, promote health and wellness, and protect important natural habitats and ecosystem functions. These lands include over 200 miles of unpaved roads and trails that consist of former logging and ranch roads, fire roads that are shared use trails, narrow recreation trails, and wildlife trails. Over time, many of these trails have been improved and opened for use by hikers, dog walkers, equestrians, bird watchers, mountain bikers, and those who want to be immersed in nature in their recreation pursuits. These recreation opportunities in the MCOSD’s beautiful and diverse preserves have become well known and much loved.

In addition to the recreation opportunities of the preserves, the preserves provide critical benefits to the ecosystem including carbon sequestration, the natural cleaning of our water and air, and the protection of wildlife. The roads and trails provide access for other agencies’ community and emergency services (e.g., Marin County Fire, Marin Municipal Water District).

The demand for recreational use of the roads and trails grows every year, as do conflicts among user groups and impacts from use to the natural environment. Trails not sanctioned by the MCOSD have developed as a result of repetitive informal cross-country use, and the unauthorized construction of trails by private parties on the MCOSD lands. Roads and trails, especially unplanned informal trails, can have a number of undesirable effects on the natural environment. They can contribute sediment to streams, fragment habitat, provide opportunities for the influx or spread of invasive weeds, and create visual scars through once lushly vegetated areas. The MCOSD has struggled to keep up with the maintenance, mitigation, enforcement, and improvement of the formal and informal roads and trails system.

All of this has led the MCOSD to determine that a planning and analysis process is necessary to provide the forum to consider a common vision, and establish a set of strategies to address all of these management challenges going forward.

Process and Outcomes

The RTMP/EIR will employ a robust, inclusive, transparent public process to study appropriate types and locations of road and trails for public use in the preserves, and analyze relative impacts of alternatives. It will provide direction for future management to achieve the following outcomes and outputs.

Outcomes

  1. A fair, desirable, and appropriate range of recreation opportunities – and associated infrastructure – for the public to enjoy the preserves will be determined.
  2. The impacts to the natural environment from the modified road and trail network will be acceptable under the California Environmental Quality Act.
  3. Conflicts among users will be minimized.
  4. The road and trail network’s foreseeable construction, maintenance, and enforcement responsibilities will be financially feasible.

Outputs

  1. The system of roads and trails to be officially built and maintained by the MCOSD will be broadly described.
  2. Key improvements will be detailed.
  3. Strategies to retire, restore, and decommission existing trails that are not to be part of the MCOSD trails system will be identified.
  4. Best Management Practices to upgrade and maintain sanctioned preserve roads and trails will be studied.
  5. An approach for monitoring for success in achieving outcomes will be put forth.

Consistency with Existing Plans and Policies

The development of a RTMP/EIR is consistent with countywide and the MCOSD plans and policies, including the following:

Supporting Documents

A key element of the RTMP/EIR is improving our understanding of visitor use of the open space preserves. The MCOSD hired Alta Planning + Design to undertake a Visitor Use Census and Survey. The effort provided data regarding visitor demographics, trail use mode ( walk, bike, equestrian) and patterns of use (time and frequency, where users enter and exit preserves), and visitor experiences and preferences. This work will inform the development of the RTMP/EIR.

Environmental Review Process

The MCOSD prepared a Notice of Preparation of Environmental Impact Report on February 1, 2011.

The MCOSD completed a Draft Tiered Programmatic Environmental Impact Report for the Draft Road and Trail Management Plan. The special joint public meeting held by the Marin County Open Space District Board of Directors and the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission on October 1, 2013 initiated the 60-day comment period on the Draft TPEIR. For more information, please see the Notice of Availability.

The Final Draft TPEIR will include the final environmental report, the comments received during the public-review period, the response to comments, and the mitigation monitoring and reporting program. After release of the Final Draft TPEIR, the MCOSD will hold two additional public meetings regarding the Final Draft TPEIR and Final RTMP. The first will be a public meeting of the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission, at which the commission will consider a recommendation to the MCOSD Board of Directors to certify the Final Draft TPEIR and adopt the RTMP. The second will be a public meeting of the MCOSD Board of Directors at which it will consider certification of the Final TPEIR and adoption of the RTMP.

Preliminary Draft Road and Trail Management Plan

The draft plan is available in individual chapter format:

Draft Road and Trail Management Plan and Draft Tiered Program Environmental Impact Report

Digital and printed copies of the Draft RTMP and Draft TPEIR are available as of October 1, 2013. Please note that digital copies available for viewing or download from this webpage are web-friendly (or low resolution). The high resolution copies, which are available on compact disc or flash drive, exceed the maximum file size limit to publish online.

  1. View or download Draft RTMP
  2. View or download Draft TPEIR: Part A, Part B, and Part C (please note, the Draft TPEIR exceeds maximum file size to publish online as a single PDF)
  3. High resolution digital copies on compact disc or flash drive: will call pickup at the MCOSD administrative office for free or $2.00 to ship
  4. Printed Draft RTMP: $30.50 for will call pickup at the MCOSD administrative office or $36.50 to ship
  5. Printed Draft TPEIR: $74.50 for will call pickup at the MCOSD administrative or $82.00 to ship
  6. Printed Draft RTMP and printed Draft TPEIR: $105 for will call pickup at the MCOSD administrative office or $114 to ship

To request your preferred version(s), please contact Carl Somers at CSomers@marincounty.org or (415) 473-2820. To receive high resolution copies on compact disk or flash drive, or printed copies of either or both the Draft RTMP or Draft TPEIR by mail, send a check payable to Marin County Parks with your shipping information to Marin County Parks, 3501 Civic Center Dr, Suite 260, San Rafael, CA, Attention: Carl Somers.

Revised Sections of the Draft Road and Trail Management Plan

The MCOSD presented the following revisions to Chapter 4 on January 23, 2013:

Public Involvement

Public involvement will be critical to the success of the RTMP/EIR process. The MCOSD will host public workshops at key stages of the process to solicit input, convey information, and to bring divergent interests together to resolve differences. Below is information about the first round of public workshops for the RTMP/EIR process, including dates, locations, and agendas. Additional documents will be placed here as the process unfolds. Throughout the development and implementation of the RTMP/EIR, the MCOSD will work closely with stakeholders, neighborhood and community groups, and the general public to ensure information sharing and transparency in the development and implementation of the RTMP/EIR.

Public Meetings and Workshops

All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held in accessible sites. Requests for accommodations may be made by calling (415) 473-2495 (voice/TTY) or 711 for the California Relay Service or by e-mailing disabilityaccess@marincounty.org at least four work days in advance of the event.

Community Workshop

The MCOSD hosted another workshop on the Draft RTMP and presented information about project planning for 2014 and 2015.

Date: Saturday, March 15, 2014
Time: 9:30am – 12:30am (doors open at 9:00am)
Location: Marin Health and Wellness Campus Connection Center
3240 Kerner Boulevard, San Rafael

Public Meeting

At a meeting of the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission on January 23, 2014, staff gave a presentation on the Draft RTMP. Staff summarized public comments received on the merits of the plan, outlined proposed revisions to the plan, clarified certain elements of the plan, and described the process to implement the plan.

Date: January 23, 2014
Time: 2:30pm-5:30pm
Location: Planning Chambers (Room 328), 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903

Public Meeting

The Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission solicited public comment regarding the Draft RTMP Draft TPEIR.

Date: November 19, 2013
Time: 6:00pm-8:30pm
Location: Planning Chambers (Room 328), 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903

Public Meeting

The Marin County Open Space District Board of Directors and the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission held a special joint public meeting to hear a staff presentation on the Draft Road and Trail Management Plan and the Draft Tiered Program Environmental Impact Report.

Date: October 1, 2013
Time: 5:00pm
Location: Board of Supervisors Chambers (Room 330), 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903

Community Workshop

Staff presented the Preliminary Draft Road and Trail Management Plan.

Date: Monday, October 29, 2012
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: Marin Health and Wellness Campus Connection Center
3240 Kerner Boulevard, San Rafael

Community Workshop

Staff presented information about visitor use management zones, visitor use policies, preparing and implementing the Draft Road and Trail Management Plan, and conducting the environmental review process. Participants visited map stations and provided direct feedback to staff.

Date: Saturday, March 31, 2012
Time: 8:30am – 12:00pm
Location: Marin Health and Wellness Campus Connection Center
3240 Kerner Boulevard, San Rafael

Community Workshop

Staff presented the draft results of the visitor use census and survey, the draft results of the existing conditions assessment and the results from the June 18 workshop. The MCOSD then conducted a follow-up exercise to revisit how participants think the road and trail network might be altered.

Date: Saturday, October 29, 2011
Time: 8:30am – 12:30pm (doors open at 8:00am)
Location: Marin Health and Wellness Campus Connection Center
3240 Kerner Boulevard, San Rafael

Community Workshop

Staff presented results from the March 26 community workshop, provided an update on the status of the Draft Vegetation and Biodiversity Management Plan and commencement of its environmental review process, described the relationship between the Road and Trail Management Plan and the Vegetation and Biodiversity Management Plan, explained the road and trail inventory process and its status, and conducted an exercise to encourage and capture participants’ ideas about where and why the MCOSD’s road and trail network might be altered.

Date: Saturday, June 18, 2011
Time: 8:30am – 12:30pm
Location: Marin Health and Wellness Campus Connection Center, 3240 Kerner Boulevard, San Rafael

Community Workshop

Staff provided a forum for staff, invited guest speakers, and community members to discuss recreational use in open space preserves and consider the ranges of appropriate and desired resource conditions and visitor experiences.

Date: Saturday, March 26, 2011
Time: 9:00am – 3:00pm
Location: Marin Health and Wellness Campus Connection Center, 3240 Kerner Boulevard, San Rafael

Background Materials

Other Reference Materials

Public Scoping Meeting

Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the MCOSD held a public scoping meeting to consult with the public and interested agencies about the Road and Trail Management Plan/Environmental Impact Report process. This meeting represented the official launch of the RTMP's environmental review process, which will result in the preparation of an EIR.

Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Time: 3:00pm – 7:30pm
Location: Marin Center, Manzanita Room, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael

Public Scoping Workshops

The MCOSD held a series of workshops to kick off the preparation of the RTMP/EIR. The workshops were held in different locations throughout the county to facilitate community participation.

Date: November 29, 2010
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Location: Margaret Todd Senior Center, “Hill Room”, 1560 Hill Road, Novato

Date: November 30, 2010
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Location: Lagunitas School Multipurpose Room, 1 Lagunitas School Road, San Geronimo

Date: December 1, 2010
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Location: Mill Valley Community Center, Mountain View Room, 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley

Date: December 2, 2010
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Location: Board of Supervisors Chambers, Room 330, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael





For more information, contact Chief of Planning & Acquisition Carl Somers at CSomers@marincounty.org or (415) 473-2820.