In April it will have been 10 years since Kalon Kelley and I first discovered the point where the last remaining section of the Franklin Trail leads up to the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
The Monte Alegre Ranch Manager, Stewart Welch, lead us up to the top of the power line roads on a crazy zig-zag route to a point where he thought the trail might be. An hour after he left us, we discovered a sliver of trail twenty-five feet up on the hillside above where countless road graders and cut off the trail and kept it somewhat hidden. A quick exploration of the trail led us to realize we really had found the trail.
Kalon and I went back that day thinking that Carpinteria’s dream of once again being able to access the backcountry might soon be at hand. But many things intervened. Easements needed to be obtained, preliminary routes laid out, environmental review to be done and most of all, bucket loads of money needed to be raised.
Thanks to Jane Murray, Bud Girard, the Friends of the Franklin Trail and hundreds of others who helped make the dream a reality, the lower third of the Franklin Trail was opened on Friday afternoon, November 1, 2013. As Jane so aptly put it:
“It seems that it takes a village to build a trail, at least when you are trying to re-create a lost trail through private farm land, a school campus, city streets and sensitive wildlife habitat. We are fortunate to have virtually the whole village of Carpinteria backing the Franklin Trail.”
A few years later the middle section of the original historic 7.9 mile trail was opened through Rancho Monte Alegre, extending the public route another 3+ miles to the point where it entered the National Forest. Work then began on brushing out the remaining 2.7 miles of the trail …. enough so that the final section could be reviewed and approved by the Santa Barbara District Ranger, Pancho Smith.
This past Monday marked the first day’s work on completing the final restoration of the trail, with the hopes that it will be open for multi-use in the next few months.
Here’s to all of you who helped make this possible!