Roads and Trails

The Mt. Tamalpais Watershed Road and Trail Management Plan is the district’s first comprehensive road and trail plan for the watershed. This plan, approved by the Board on May 18, 2005; formally designates the official road and trail system for the watershed, and provides a detailed work plan for road and trail management over the next several years.
When it acquired the watershed lands in the early 1900s, the district essentially inherited a road and trail network that evolved from the watershed’s colorful history: Native American routes, logging roads, livestock routes, railroads, fire breaks, and telephone and power lines became roads or trails. Most of these routes did not benefit from modern design standards and water quality best management practices.

  • Improve water quality and minimize sediment into the creeks and reservoirs.
  • Reduce the impact of the roads and trails on wetlands, riparian areas, other environmentally sensitive habitats, and special status plant and animal species.
  • Reduce the impact of the roads and trails on the watershed’s natural ecological functions.
Road and Trail Mgmt Plan 2005
  • Make decisions regarding the existing road and trail network, in example, identifying which ones the district officially recognizes.
  • Implement Best Management Practices, BMPs, and Environmental Protection Measures in the upgrade and maintenance of the roads and trails.
  • Devise a system for managing all the roads and trails on the watershed.
Planning Process
The planning effort used to develop the plan included the following elements:
  • An inventory of existing road and trails, focusing on erosion and sedimentation, completed 2002
  • A road and trail environmental and management assessment that evaluated effects on creeks, lakes, riparian areas, and wetlands, completed 2003
  • A draft management plan that includes a work plan for the upgrade, repair, reroute, or decommission of road and trail segments, plus new standards for upgrades and maintenance, completed 2003
  • The preparation of environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA, for the proposed plan, completed 2005.
Public participation was key to the planning process. The district held three public workshops to help it craft the plan, and presented the draft plan before the district’s Operations Committee and board at two other public meetings. A sixth public meeting will be held during the environmental review process.

Plan Summary
  • Chapter One provides a brief background on the district and the watershed, why the district undertook this planning effort, and sets the scope and context of the plan.
  • Chapter Two summarizes the research and decision making methodology used to identify the official system of roads and trails, one that the district can communicate to the public via signage, maps, and recreation map and guidebook publishers.
  • Chapter Three describes the BMPs, design standards and environmental protection measures the district will use for its road or trail work.
  • Chapters Four and Five summarize the work plan for the system routes and non system routes, respectively. Combined with the appendices, which provides site specific detail on each erosion site, they provide the detailed work plan with realistic costs that will guide the district it in its management of the roads and trails.
  • Chapter Six concludes by outlining the plan’s implementation, including public outreach, assessing the plan’s effectiveness, and plan amendments.