County will look at how to bring Cross Marin Trail to Point Reyes Station

06/22/2017

Ever wish that you could make the trek to Point Reyes Station from as far south as the Larkspur ferry landing, without getting into your car? The county parks department recently nabbed $40,000 from supervisors to conduct a feasibility study that will bring it one step closer to making that vision a reality. The original concept was for a 37-mile connector trail, first outlined in a 1975 “Cross Marin and Bicycle Route Master Plan.” The project was largely completed—except for a portion that stretches inland from just east of Olema Hill all the way to Point Reyes Station. It’s this westernmost section of the 1975 connector that will be the subject of the newly funded Cross Marin Trail West Connector Feasibility Study. “The original vision was for the trail to include an urban, rural and then nature experience,” said Craig Richardson, the lead for the project. The developed stretch of the Cross Marin Trail includes roadside pathways and bike lanes, whereas “this last section was supposed to be natural part of the experience,” he explained. A roughly five-mile stretch of the trail starts near Shafter Bridge, follows Lagunitas Creek and ends at the intersection of Platform Bridge Road and Sir Francis Drake; the final stretch would pick up where it leaves off. Currently, an old railroad roadbed—a vestige of the North Pacific Coast Railroad—suggests a pathway for the desired stretch, but it crosses multiple privately owned properties, in addition to public land owned by the National Park Service. “The easiest thing to do would be to use the old railroad alignment, but we need the feasibility study because there are private properties along this alignment and it would be best for everyone to avoid those properties,” said Mr. Richardson, who added that the county will be reaching out to the affected property owners. The feasibility study, which will be directed by the county but completed in partnership with the park service and the Marin Municipal Water District (which has a water line that runs along the old railroad roadbed), will determine the best route for alignment of a public trail. The study will include a constraints and opportunities analysis of the public portions of the current roadbed; an evaluation of alternative routes that could circumnavigate private property; and a brief survey of opportunities for habitat enhancement along the proposed route.