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(Draft.  Subject to Big Sur Community approval.)

PROPOSED PROCESS FOR WRITING THE MASTER PLAN
FOR THE BIG SUR PORTION OF THE
CALIFORNIA COASTAL TRAIL



PURPOSE

The purpose of this process is to agree on the Master Plan for the portion of the California Coastal Trail that passes through Big Sur (The Trail).[1] 

AREA

The area within which The Trail shall be located shall be from the Pacific Ocean on the west, generally to the eastern boundary of the California Coastal Zone, and from the Carmel River on the north to San Carpoforo Creek in San Luis Obispo County on the south (The Area). For purposes of this document, the "Big Sur Community" shall include all individuals who are residents and/or landowners within The Area. 

PLANNING SEGMENTS

To implement the planning process in this proposal, The Area shall be broken into the planning segments described in Appendix B

ORGANIZATION

The following groups are/will be formed to implement this process for writing The Trail Master Plan:

  • The Executive Committee,

  • The Local Workgroups (one for each Trail planning segment), and

  • The Steering Committee.

These groups shall have the composition, duties and responsibilities described below.

 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

NAME

The name of the executive committee shall be the Executive Committee for the Big Sur Portion of the California Coastal Trail (Executive Committee).

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE PURPOSE

The Executive Committee's mission statement is as follows:

Our mission is to guide the planning and implementation of the California Coastal Trail through Big Sur, in a way that protects the ecosystems of the Big Sur Coast, and the Big Sur Community, for the benefit of our visitors, residents, and landowners alike.

The Executive Committee's purpose shall be to develop and steward a grassroots, community-based planning process for The Trail by:

  1. Drafting this proposal, and amending it as needed. 

  2. Developing universal Local Workgroup protocols and requirements for the purpose of ensuring that the process is fair, transparent and responsible.

  3. Establishing a thorough and ongoing disclosure process, for the purpose of disclosing conflicts of interest that might compromise the integrity of the Master Plan process.

  4. Keeping the community, interested agencies and the general public informed of meeting dates, and encouraging their participation.

  5. Working to resolve conflicts if they arise and providing advice to the Steering Committee and Local Workgroups.

  6. Assisting Local Workgroups.

  7. Informing Local Workgroups about provisions of the Guidelines, for example, issues regarding private property, privacy rights, liability, critical viewshed, environmentally sensitive habitat areas, etc. 

  8. Utilizing resources of the California Coastal Conservancy, its consultants and other state agencies, to obtain helpful and necessary materials, information, etc., including providing them to Local Workgroups. 

  9. Interfacing with the Coastal Conservancy, its consultant(s), and other state agencies, and if need be the State Legislature, to support the Master Plan developed through the process outlined in this proposal.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

Membership of the Executive Committee shall be comprised of the residents and property owners within The Area who responded to the invitation to participate, who have attended trail meetings, and who are listed in Appendix A. Residents and property owners within The Area may petition for removal of any member of the Executive Committee.

 

LOCAL WORKGROUPS

NAME

The name of each Local Workgroup shall be The Local Workgroup for Segment [insert segment number (1 to 6)] of the Big Sur Portion of the California Coastal Trail.

LOCAL WORKGROUP PURPOSE

There shall be one Local Workgroup for each trail segment. Each Local Workgroup shall determine the alignment of The Trail through that Local Workgroup's segment. 

Each Local Workgroup shall also determine trail design and attributes for each portion of its segment, and shall also determine the entity that will be responsible for management, maintenance and policing for each portion of its segment. 

Local Workgroups shall communicate with the Local Workgroups to their immediate north and south (as appropriate) to ensure that the trail alignment for each segment connects with those to the north and south.

LOCAL WORKGROUP MEMBERSHIP

Each Local Workgroup shall be comprised of individuals who reside and/or own property within the pertinent segment who wish to join and participate. Designated representatives of public agencies that own land or have management responsibility for land within the segment shall be encouraged to participate in Local Workgroup meetings for the segment as a non-voting member of the Local Workgroup. For consistency's sake, public agencies are encouraged to designate one (and the same) individual to represent the agency for each Local Workgroup for the duration of the Trail Management Plan drafting process. 

Local Workgroups shall keep minutes of each meeting including a record of motions and decisions. 

All Local Workgroup meetings shall be open to the public. The intent is to make participation in Local Workgroup meetings as inclusive as possible.

LOCAL WORKGROUP REPRESENTATIVES

Each Local Workgroup shall vote to decide on one individual to represent the Local Workgroup on the Steering Committee.

LOCAL WORKGROUP DECISION-MAKING

Local Workgroups should make decisions by consensus to the extent possible. If agreement cannot be reached after reasonable attempts at resolution, members of the Local Workgroup may request that the Executive Committee resolve the disagreement.

PUBLIC AGENCY PARTICIPATION ON LOCAL WORKGROUPS

Public agency participation shall include, but not be limited to (within the spirit and scope of this proposal), ensuring that trial alignment and design is consistent with all applicable requirements of the pertinent agency. Public agency representatives will facilitate the Trail Master Plan process within the scope of their authority and expertise, subject to the formal approval by the agency. 

 

STEERING COMMITTEE

NAME

The name of the steering committee shall be The Steering Committee for the Big Sur Portion of the California Coastal Trail (Steering Committee).

STEERING COMMITTEE PURPOSE

The purpose of the Steering Committee shall be to provide an overview of The Trail planning process undertaken by Local Workgroups. The Steering Committee shall also act as a communication conduit between the Executive Committee and the Local Workgroups.

STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

Membership of the Steering Committee shall be comprised of five representatives elected by the Executive Committee, plus one representative elected by each Local Workgroup (for a total of 6 Local Workgroup representatives). Individuals who live within or own property within a trail segment may petition the Executive Committee to remove their Local Workgroup representative from the Steering Committee. Should such removal occur, a vote for a replacement representative shall be held by the Local Workgroup. 

 

GUIDELINES FOR THE MASTER PLAN PROCESS

GUIDELINES FOR PUBLIC OUTREACH

Ongoing outreach shall keep the public and residents and property owners informed of meeting dates and activities of the Local Workgroups, the Steering Committee and the Executive Committee. Interested public agencies shall designate their contacts, who shall be kept similarly informed. The Steering Committee shall be responsible for informing the Executive Committee of meeting dates and other relevant information, and the Executive Committee shall be responsible for communicating the information to the public. All meetings (Local Workgroup, Steering Committee and Executive Committee) shall be open to the public and the public shall be encouraged to contribute to the discussion.

GUIDELINES FOR THE TRAIL'S ALIGNMENT

  1. The Trail's alignment shall:

  1. Be within The Area.

  2. Avoid impacting Big Sur's sensitive environment or its scenic quality, improving existing trail conditions where possible.

  3. Afford users an enjoyable and unique experience, to the benefit of visitors, residents and landowners alike.

  4. Utilize only existing public lands or existing public easements over private land (including the Highway 1 right of way).[2]

  5. Take into account feasibility and cost of construction, ease of maintenance, policing, parking, and other associated considerations.

  6. Be sited so as to avoid trespass or impacts on privacy or uses of private property, by maintaining adequate separation between The Trail and private land or by other appropriate means.

  7. Be mapped and otherwise described with sufficient detail to make it readily knowable where The Trail will be located, including which parcels and ownerships The Trail crosses.

  8. The Trail shall be located consistent with the "critical viewshed policy" in Monterey County's Big Sur coastal planning area, provided however, should the critical viewshed policy preclude The Trail within the Highway 1 right-of-way the Big Sur Local Coastal Program may be amended to allow the trail to be within the critical viewshed if it is located within the Highway 1 right-of-way and does not diminish motor-vehicle carrying capacity of the Highway.

  1. Notwithstanding guidelines A.4 and A.6 above, private landowners may voluntarily invite The Trail to cross their property if that can be done without the need to require access over neighboring private property. "Voluntarily" means acting or done without compulsion or obligation. In no case shall a portion of the alignment be left undecided if it would imply a future alignment over private land. 

  2. In order that Local Workgroups may align The Trail to avoid significant impact to sensitive habitats, the Executive Committee will obtain from the Coastal Commission, Coastal Conservancy, or other sources if need be, a list of clear definitions for all environmentally sensitive habitat areas in The Area, and shapefiles (geographic data files) showing known locations of environmentally sensitive habitat. The State of California shall be responsible for the cost of habitat/biological surveys needed by Local Workgroups to avoid sensitive habitats within The Trail's alignment.

  3. In order that Local Workgroups may know the location of proposed alignments for The Trail, and of property lines near proposed alignments, land surveys may be needed. The State of California shall be responsible for the cost of all land surveys needed by the Local Workgroups.


GUIDELINES FOR THE TRAIL'S DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT

  1. Different portions of The Trail within each segment may be designed with a different character (e.g., one portion may be a dirt hiking trail while another portion may be designed for use by hikers, bicycles and/or equestrians). However, each Local Workgroup should strive to ensure that portions of The Trail with similar intended uses will have a similar appearance and design.

  2. No portion of The Trail shall be established or opened for use until a public agency has assumed responsibility for maintaining and policing the portion, including demonstrating funding adequate to ensure these duties can be performed for so long as the trail is open for public use.[3] The agency may delegate its obligations to a non-profit, community-based organization, or other entity, especially when so provided in the Trail Management Plan, but shall remain responsible should such delegee fail to meet the obligations. The pertinent portion of The Trail shall be closed to use should the responsible agency fail to meet its maintenance or policing obligations, until such time as the obligations are met. Provided however, if a private landowner voluntarily invites The Trail onto private land, that portion of The Trail may be opened for public use if a public agency or the private landowner agrees to be responsible for maintaining and policing that portion of The Trail. 

  3. In order that Local Workgroups may design The Trail using best practices, the Executive Committee will request that the Coastal Commission provide design details for creek crossings.

GUIDELINES FOR THE TRAIL MANAGEMENT PLAN'S CONTENT

The Trail Management Plan shall include at a minimum:

  1. The provisions and guidelines in this proposal, incorporated into The Trail Management Plan.

  2. A map and other description of The Trail's alignment sufficient to know where the trail will go, including which parcels it will cross (with ownerships).

  3. A clear statement that the State of California or the Federal government shall be responsible for the cost of any land survey work needed.

  4. A clear statement that the State of California or the Federal government shall be responsible for the cost of any surveys for sensitive habitat that are needed.

  5. A clear statement that the State of California shall be responsible for all costs related to obtaining necessary permits for construction of The Trail.

  6. A clear statement that land visible from The Trail, or near it, shall not ever have its use limited or otherwise affected due to its visibility from The Trail, or its proximity to it, including but not limited to that The Trail and lands near it shall not ever be considered a vantage point when determining the location of the Critical Viewshed (as defined in the Big Sur Coast Land Use Plan). 

  7. A clear statement that The Trail shall be closed to public use if use of land visible from The Trail, or near The Trail, is limited due to the land's visibility from The Trail or its proximity to it, including but not limited to if views from The Trail are considered when determining the location of the Critical Viewshed.

  8. A process for approval of the completed Trail Management Plan by the Big Sur Community.

  9. A clear statement that community support for the Trail Management Plan only applies to the plan as approved by the Big Sur Community, and that any amendments to the Trail Management Plan will require reaffirmation by the Big Sur Community through a process comparable to the initial community approval process.

  10. A description of the responsible agency and its proposed management duties for each portion of the trail, consistent with the guidelines in this proposal and each respective agency's approval process.

  11. A description of existing trails and related amenities that will be crossed by The Trail (or which The Trail will follow for its alignment).

  12. A description of the type and location of sensitive habitats near the alignment of The Trail, and the measures that will be used to avoid impacts on the habitat by The Trail and its users.

  13. A description of the measures that will be used to protect drinking water sources near The Trail from impacts by The Trail and its users.

  14. A statement of the maximum carrying capacity for each portion of the trail, which may trigger closure if exceeded.

PROCESS FOR AMENDING THIS DOCUMENT

The Executive Committee anticipates that changes to the process described in this document may be needed after the process of writing The Trail Master Plan begins. After adoption of this proposal and its approval by the Big Sur Community, the Executive Committee may amend this document as needed, provided that the amendment is first provided in context to all members of the Executive Committee, and at least one Executive Committee meeting is held at which the amendment is open for discussion. After an amendment is approved by the Executive Committee, it shall not become effective until after the amendment has been approved by the Big Sur Community in a manner comparable to the community's initial approval.

 

______________
Footnotes

[1] The executive committee decided this work does not include a "community trail" or other trails. Which is not to say that use of the CCT by the Big Sur Community cannot be considered when choosing The Trail alignment and/or design.

[2] About seventy-five percent of the land in Big Sur is currently in public ownership, and the Highway 1 right-of-way spans the entire area. There is sufficient land in public ownership and within existing easements so there is no need to require private landowners to provide for The Trail. Moreover, the CCT advocacy book, Hiking the California Coastal Trail, assumes most of the CCT through Big Sur will be in the Highway 1 right-of-way.

[3] This language does not preclude non-profits from helping the agency. 

 


Appendix A 
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TENTATIVE NOMINATIONS FOR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Jack Ellwanger

Mary Trotter

Betty Withrow

Pam Peck

Lisa Kleissner

Kerri Frangioso

Jon and Corrine Handy

John Doud

Tracy Cheseborough

Mike Gilson

Belinda Shoemaker

Lygia Chappellet

Mike Caplin

Honey Williams

Thomas Rettenwender

Barbara Woyt

 


Appendix B 
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PLANNING-SEGMENT BOUNDARIES

The Planning Segments used to define the area within which The Trail shall be planned by each Local Workgroup are generally as follows (note that segment 6 is broken into three subsegments). Local Workgroups may adjust segment boundaries to avoid splitting parcels or ownerships. The eastern boundary for all segments is generally the eastern boundary of the costal zone (areas further east may be included if needed). See the following GoogleEarth images for graphic representation of the approximate location of planning segment boundaries (note that ownerships and lines in images may lack accuracy).


Planning Segment 1 --- North boundary is generally the Carmel River, including Carmel River Beach trailhead (on Scenic Road, within Carmel River State Beach). South boundary is generally Soberanes Canyon, including Soberanes Canyon trailhead (post mile marker 65.8 on Highway 1). This segment does not include any portion of the John Doud Ranch. This segment is approximately 7 miles north to south. 

Planning Segment 2 --- North boundary is the southern boundary of Planning Segment 1. South boundary is generally to Andrew Molera State Beach Park, including the Andrew Molera State Park main trailhead (post mile marker 51.1, near junction of Old Coast Rd. and Highway 1). This segment is approximately 15 miles north to south. 

Planning Segment 3 --- North boundary is the southern boundary of Planning Segment 2. South boundary is generally Ventana Inn entrance road (post mile marker 44.5 on Highway 1), including the Coast Ridge trialhead. This segment is approximately 7 miles north to south. 

Planning Segment 4 --- North boundary is the southern boundary of Planning Segment 3. South boundary is generally McWay Canyon, including the McWay Canyon trailhead in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (post mile marker 35.8 on Highway 1). This segment is approximately 9 miles north to south. 

Planning Segment 5 --- North boundary is the southern boundary of Planning Segment 4. South boundary is generally Limekiln Creek, including the Limekiln Creek trailhead in Limekiln State Park (post mile marker 21.0 on Highway 1). This segment is approximately 15 miles north to south. 

Planning Segment 6a --- North boundary is the southern boundary of Planning Segment 5. South boundary is generally Pacific Valley/Sand Dollar Beach, including Sand Dollar Beach trailhead (post mile marker 14.0 on Highway 1). This segment is approximately 7 miles north to south. 

Planning Segment 6b --- North boundary is the southern boundary of Planning Segment 6a. South boundary is generally Salmon Creek, including the Salmon Creek/Silver Peak Wilderness trailhead (post mile marker 2.4 on highway 1). This segment is approximately 12 miles north to south. 

Planning Segment 6c --- North boundary is the southern boundary of Planning Segment 6b. South boundary is generally San Carpoforo Creek (San Luis Obispo County post mile marker 71.3 on Highway 1). This segment is approximately 5 miles north to south.

 

 

 


TRAIL PLANNING-SEGMENT BOUNDARIES FOR THE BIG SUR PORTION OF
THE CALIFORNIA COASTAL TRAIL

(Ownerships and lines may lack accuracy.)

 

Planning segment 1 boundaries.  Click for better image.
Planning segment 2 boundaries.  Click for better image.
Planning segment 3 boundaries.  Click for better image.
Planning segment 4 boundaries.  Click for better image.
Planning segment 5 boundaries.  Click here for better image.
Planning segment 6 boundaries.  Click here for better image.