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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Trails: Santee Plans for Multi-use Trails

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

If you hike, bike or ride horses, Santee is planning trails to accommodate your mode of  movement.

This preference for multi-use trails is memorialized in Policy 3.4 of the Trails Element of the city’s 2009 Bicycle Master Plan, which states:  

“The City should include both hiking and bicycle trails in any trail system; equestrian trails shall also be considered.”

Recently, some folks have questioned the city’s commitment to this policy.  They’ve submitted a petition signed by those who favor additional horse trails in Santee, including a route along the San Diego River.

More than five years ago, city planners plotted the route of a future equestrian trail along the city’s northern boundary to provide access between Lakeside and Mission Trails Regional Park. The proposed northern route would cross through the future Fanita Ranch neighborhood and allow mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians access to Mission Trails Park. This route through the hills surrounding Santee would offer the best scenery and views for mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians.

A multi-use/equestrian trail along the San Diego River would be more complicated and costly to achieve. A riverfront trail would have to avoid impacts to protected wildlife habitat. It would require an underpass at Cuyamaca Street to avoid horses having to cross a busy, 4-lane arterial street.
“The city’s master plan for trails calls for additional paved trails along the San Diego River, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility of a parallel multi-use/horse  trail,” said Community Services Director Bill Maertz.
“It’s not an either/or situation.”

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