Scotts Valley resident Katie McBurney usually likes to run along city streets. But on Wednesday, her friend D’Anna Anderson suggested she bring her dog, Fern, along to the Glenwood Open Space Preserve, to join Anderson’s canine, Ollie, on the trails.
At its most recent meeting, Scotts Valley City Council agreed to increase the contract amount with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, eliminate the confusing one-way system and increase access to the City’s large recreation outlet for local users.
“She dragged me here today,” McBurney said, adding now that the City will be investing more in the trail network, she may try coming back more often.
Anderson, who also lives in Scotts Valley, said the Glenwood Preserve is a great community resource because residents don’t have to drive down the hill to get exercise.
“For us, we like to bring the kids out here to get them outside,” she said. “It’s just good to have something so close to home, so you don’t have to drive into Santa Cruz.”
Back in December 2003, the City signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Land Trust, which made the conservation group responsible for planning and managing the 170-acre property. That same year, the Land Trust made a deal with the California Wildlife Conservation board worth $3.1 million for the acquisition of fee and/or conservation easements over the preserve.
Scotts Valley approved the Long-Term Management Plan for the Glenwood Open Space Preserve in 2017. That plan pointed to the need for a public access plan.
Under a new MOU approved in 2018, the City must engage the public for planning on public access proposals, oversee infrastructure related to parking, signage, waste management, benches and picnic tables and clean up graffiti.
The Land Trust has offered to take some of the burden off the shoulders of the City, such as sign installation and upkeep, trailhead beautification, repairing damaged sections of routes, managing vegetation, fixing gates, fences, barriers, boardwalks and bridges and dealing with graffiti and vandalism.
The price tag for these services: $20,000 per year.
But that, Councilman Randy Johnson said, will be money well spent.
“I think 20,000 is a good investment,” he said, noting the preserve was established as part of the Deerfield residential development approval.
Parks & Recreation Commissioner David Sanguinetti said the Land Trust has proved it’s up to the task.
“We’ve gotten a quality product from them,” he said. “The City’s very fortunate to have their availability.”
Carie Thompson, the access director for the Land Trust, said they are working to protect a large number of rare and endangered species that live in the preserve.
“It’s an incredible jewel,” she said, adding it’s a fantastic place for people to go mountain biking, hiking or to walk their dog.
Thompson said many people haven’t been following the one-way trail rules and suggested abandoning that setup out of practicality, which Council ultimately agreed with.
And she proposed moving forward with establishing some new entrances but not others, due to privacy and parking concerns.
Vice Mayor Jim Reed suggested the City go through a public outreach process to make sure residents are in the loop on the access decision-making, which the rest of the Council supported.
“Thank you for the partnership that you all have provided to Scotts Valley, especially since these trails have been opened,” Reed said to Land Trust officials, reflecting on the stunning scenery. “I don’t think there’s anything that compares to the Glenwood Preserve.”
The contract amendment was approved unanimously.