Friends of Marin Open Space

Oppose Change of Use of Alto Bowl/Horse Hill Open Space Hiking/Walking and Equestrian Trails

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To the Marin County Board of Supervisors and Marin County Parks:

We, the undersigned Friends of Marin Open Space, are opposed to any proposal to change the use of open space lands to accommodate recreational mountain bikers, in particular the proposal by cycling advocates to convert the Horse Hill/Meadowcrest Ridge Trail, the Gasline Trail and the Middagh Trail from single track to multi-use. We support the upgrade of the Gasline Trail by the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) for safety reasons, but do object strongly to the proposed cutting of a new multi‑use trail through the open meadow adjacent to the Gasline Trail.

These open space lands are home to abundant wildlife including deer (especially does and fawns), bobcats, coyotes, foxes, jackrabbits, at least one mountain lion, nesting Great Horned Owls, black and red-tailed hawks, migrating birds, as well as diverse flora throughout the preserve, all of which would be severely and irreparably harmed by the contemplated change of use proposed by advocates for trail biking in our open space districts.

These lands are used extensively by walkers, hikers and equestrians along single tracks that were never intended or constructed for the recreational use of mountain bikers who have a multitude of options on existing fire roads and bike lanes throughout southern and central Marin.

We believe a change of use and increased presence of mountain bikes will:

  • threaten the safety of walkers, hikers and equestrians
  • encourage the building of unlawful "rogue" trails across open meadows, exposing MCOSD to major ongoing erosion control expenses
  • permanently displace wildlife and destroy natural flora
  • harass the horses on Horse Hill
  • breach the privacy and security of the adjacent homes
  • expose MCOSD to significant costs for liability insurance due to risk exposure to cyclists, horses, and equestrians on Horse Hill.

Please oppose a change of use for these unique trails

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