News – Events

News:

June 23, 2017

Meeting on June 26th 4 p.m. Fallbrook Public Utility District, 990 E. Mission Rd. Fallbrook

There has been an Integrated Management Plan prepared by The Wildlands Conservancy if the sale is completed. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife made their comments concerning the plan and they included potential seasonal closings of more than one crossing, and they included 6, 7, 8 and 10. (Most of the crossings on the south side) Since we agreed to close crossing 5, it is not acceptable to have any other potential seasonal closures so riders and hikers cannot cross the river from the south to the north sides. That would tremendously affect the recreational aspect of our trail system to our community.

Also since fire season in San Diego County is September through February, we absolutely would not go out with weed whips to clear trails during that timeframe. Plus, if you hadn’t cleaned the trails in the April – May timeframe, the grasses would be extremely high, like this year, three to four feet high. By that time of year that would be an extreme fire hazard. In February 2002 and October 2007 the fires burned the valley. In 2002 it took 43 homes. In 2007 it took a lot more. I appreciate about being concerned about protecting habitat, but I also am about protecting Fallbrook from fires, as well as bringing visitors to Fallbrook for the great recreational area we enjoy.

We need your support to maintain the integrity of our Santa Margarita Trail System not only to our community but to all the visitors who come to visit Fallbrook.

This is a very, very important meeting for you to attend!

Happy Trails
Donna Gebhart
Fallbrook Trails Council

June 23, 2017

Dear Trail Users,

The Fallbrook Trails Council would like to request your support in the form of a donation to help us maintain our 18 miles of trails in the Santa Margarita River Trail System. The funds are utilized for supplies and to pay for the contract work with Cal Fire Crews and the workers we utilize to work on the projects and repairs on the river trails. There have been many projects completed this year to keep our trail system intact.

Currently, the Fallbrook Public Utility District is in the process of selling the Valley to Wildlands Conservancy as the Long Term Steward, with the Fallbrook Trails Council as the owner of the easements that will be placed on the Deed to preserve our trails. We have incurred attorney’s fees so far of $4000, and expect to incur more as the process moves forward. We need your help financially so our trail system will be preserved for hikers, equestrians and bikers. We are at a critical point these next 90 days, as the process should be closing in June. We are using the expertise of Mr. Wayne Brechtel, who is General Counsel for the San Diegito River Valley Regional Open Space Park Joint Powers Authority, and the Leucadia Wastewater District.

The usage by the community is in excess of 30,000 people a year and growing, and it is very important to keep the trails as safe as we can. We are trying to raise $10,000 to help us maintain our 18 miles of trails and pay for attorney’s fees to keep our trails in perpetuity.

You can either send us a check to:

Live Oak Park Coalition
Fallbrook Trails Council
P.O. Box 2974
Fallbrook, CA 92088 OR

Go onto fallbrooktrailscouncil.com and use Paypal for your donation.

Live Oak Park Coalition is a 501 (c) 3 Tax ID 33-0659436
Thank You

June 16, 2017

Saddle up! Santa Margarita River Trails will be open for the first time in 2017…tomorrow, Saturday June 17th! Equestrians get there early as the parking lot fills up quickly. Be careful as you’ll be the first large groups from the County parking lot in months. They have been out there clearing this week.
Remember, the Sandy Wash crossing at Sandia Creek has changed course and that’s where the quicksand is. You are being rerouted with marked trails.

Have fun out there this weekend and remember if you love these trails we need your help to keep them. Please come to the Fallbrook Public Utility District’s monthly meeting (990 E. Mission Rd.), on Monday June 26th at 4 pm. There will be an update on what is happening with the trails and we need community support in the form of bodies!!! Please be there at 4 pm,  we hope to have a packed room again. Let’s show the powers that be we haven’t given up on our trails and are still keeping an eye on them. It’s not a done deal by any means.

Happy Trails!

June 9, 2017

Trails Update:

The Santa Margarita Preserve ranger has stated that they plan on opening the Preserve and main horse staging area on Saturday, June 17th

Our volunteers were out on Wednesday and Thursday this week, checking and marking the crossings. Thanks to volunteers Ron, Bert, Craig and Lorinda. One crossing is now open at Sandia Creek. Please pay attention to the signs and stay between markers in the river. Any deviations could land you in belly deep sand. This is the first crossing once you leave the Sandia Creek parking lot. The second is not open. Santa Margarita County Preserve crossings have not been checked by the Trails Council, so please use common sense and good judgement. Thank you everyone for your patience and be safe.

From the North Side of the River looking towards the Parking Lot
From the North Side of the River looking towards the Parking Lot
From the South Side of the River same side as the Parking Lot
From the South Side of the River same side as the Parking Lot
Sign
Sign at main trail
Sign just past the cut off on main trail to indicate next crossing is closed

June 5, 2017

The workshop meeting at Fallbrook Public Utility District has been cancelled on June 8th and the Santa Margarita River presentation will be at the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday the 26th of June at 4 p.m. at FPUD. Please get the word out and plan to attend this public meeting.  We need the public to come to show support for our trails.  Thank you.

June 2, 2017

*** CANCELLED ***

There will be a workshop on THURSDAY June 8th at 4 P.M. at Fallbrook Public Utility District, 990 E. Mission Rd, Fallbrook,( https://www.fpud.com) and the Santa Margarita Trails will be on the agenda.  The stakeholders will all be present and will be making presentations to the Board concerning the sale of the River Property.  This is a very important workshop to go to to express your feelings on why the Trail System is important to you and to our community and to ask questions of the stakeholders.  Your attendance is very important.

 

May 19, 2017

On May 22nd at 4 p.m. at the Fallbrook Public Utility Building, 990 E. Mission Rd.,(https://www.fpud.com) there will be their monthly meeting, and the Santa Margarita all the Stakeholders, FPUD, Fallbrook Trails Council, The Wildlands Conservancy, Western Rivers Conservancy. THIS WILL BE AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT MEETING FOR YOU TO ATTEND!!  
We also went out with the County, Ranger Tom and District Manager Jake, to assess our crossings to the trail system from the Sandia Creek Parking lot today, and we are still finding quicksand in the areas you would need to cross to get into the trail system. We took a 5′ PVC pipe and it is still going in 4 1/2 feet in traveled spots you would need to cross from the south side to the north side of the Trail system. OUR TRAILS ARE REMAINING CLOSED

The Santa Margarita Preserve as well as our trails are remaining closed till the sand in the river settles more. We check it every week.

 

April 20, 2017

Testing the sand at one of the first crossings Thursday evening, April 20th, Al has a 5 foot pole and in these pictures he is showing how far down it goes into the sand.  He tried it at different areas.  This means the sand has not settled and it is still not safe to cross with horses.  The crossing will be tested again in a week or two.  The trails are still closed to horses at this time for safety reasons.  The Deluz staging area and the county park are  still closed as well.  Thank you for your understanding.

 

April 6, 2017

We, the Fallbrook Trails Council, have been very hard at work pulling all the 18+ miles of trails together after the worst rain damage the trails have seen in 15+ years! Most of our trails are finished and ready to go. The dangerous problem is the water crossings!! Once the County opens up the Horse Staging area the two water crossings after crossing the street to enter the FPUD trail system ARE NOT CROSSABLE!! Please do not try…they look good but there is very deep quicksand and you will get stuck or hurt! 

It is best to wait a few more weeks and allow the sand to pack in and settle before anyone comes to the trails. We will check it again mid-month (April 16) and let everyone know the status at that time. If you do go to the staging area and it is open please ride on the 2 mile loop they have provided at the county park area and do not cross the street…the county is clearing their trails and will open when their side is safe. This does not mean our end is safe – we will keep the FPUD trails closed to horses until the quicksand crossings are safe. Keep tuned for more info.

On another note we have spent over $5,000 so far on repairs and trail damage. We have held one work day with 30+ volunteers. We will hold one more work day in May and really need your help. If you ride these trails PLEASE help us by either donating money or sweat! We need both. There will be another important FPUD meeting on the sale of the property coming up in May I will send out a notice beforehand. Thanks so much.

 

Upcoming Events:

 

Past Events:

The Fallbrook Trails Council would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers that came out on Saturday, March 18, 2017 to help work on the trails. Hopefully we will be able to get them open again in the next two to three weeks. We had a huge success. We still have a lot to get cleaned up from the flooding we had. The guys have started weed whacking yesterday, starting at the north side and moving slowly toward the View Point Crossing. A lot of weed whacking was done on the northside from View point to Rose Crossing Saturday. We still need some volunteers to help during the week when they work, because there usually is only two of them for carrying gas and raking the trails. The trail down from Cinco Arroyo to the switchbacks also needs Mc Leod work and weed whipping as well, and the north end of the canyon needs a lot of the above.

We want to thank Denso Manufacturing for the volunteers that came out to help.

Also The Wildlands Conservancy sent 4 of their rangers out to help us as well. Thank you so much!!

We also still have the trail that comes from the Santa Margarita County Preserve, from the FPUD sign saying you are entering FPUD land to the Sandia Creek Crossing. That will need the weed whipping of the by-pass trail, and ribbons have been placed where the trail needs to be repaired with mc leods and rakes, and a few small trees cut down.

If you can help, it would be greatly appreciated. Please email me or call 760-822-8530.

A Special thanks to my husband, Al, who has maintained all of our tools all of these years, and keeps them up and running, which over the last 19 years has saved our group thousands of dollars.

 Saturday, March 18th, 2017

We will be having a workday on Saturday, March 18th at 8 a.m. till Noon at the Sandia Creek Trailhead.  Because of the rains, we have had a lot of damage to the 18 miles of trails that we manage.  We will need volunteers to be able to use shovels, mc clouds, rakes, chain saws,  (only need a few for that) being able to move brush off the trail, and weed whips to clear the high grass off the trail as well.  Some crews will be used to cross the river in places, and tamp the sand to make sure it is safe to cross.  Please bring gloves and shoes to cross the water.

Our location is, take the Fallbrook exit off of 15 and head west into Fallbrook about 4 miles.  Take a right turn on Pico (right past the light at Mission and Main), which becomes Deluz Road.  You will come to a fork  in the road, and you will want to stay right onto Sandia Creek Road.  Drive about a mile, and before you cross the river you will see the Trailhead and parking area.

We do provide lunch and water for our volunteers.

January 31, 2017

The recent rains have caused extensive damage to the river trails and crossings therefore the Santa Margarita River Trails are closed to the public until further notice. The area has become very unsafe so please do not venture onto the trails. The staging areas are closed. We are working as quickly and safely as we can to restore the trails. Thank you for understanding.

Downed tree blocking trail access.
Trail to Willow Glen crossing washed out.
Trees down and washed out trail leading to unsafe water crossing.
Washed out trails.
Water erosion causing unstable trails.

 

December 13, 2016
Dear Trail User,

The Fallbrook Trails Council would like to request your support in the form of a donation to help us maintain our 18 miles of trails in the Santa Margarita River Trail System. The funds are utilized for supplies and to pay for the contract work with Cal Fire Crews and the workers we utilize to work on the projects and repairs on the river trails.  There have been many projects completed this year to keep our trail system intact.

Currently, the Fallbrook Public Utility District is in the process of selling the Valley to Wildlands Conservancy as the Long Term Steward, with the Fallbrook Trails Council as the owner of the easements that will be placed on the Deed to preserve our trails.  We have incurred attorney’s fees so far of $4000, and expect to incur more as the process moves forward.  We need your help financially so our trail system will be preserved for hikers, equestrians and bikers.  We are at a critical point these next 90 days, as the process should be closing in June. We are using the expertise of Mr. Wayne Brechtel, who is General Counsel for the San Diegito River Valley Regional Open Space Park Joint Powers Authority, and the Leucadia Wastewater District.

The usage by the community is in excess of 30,000 people a year and growing, and it is very important to keep the trails as safe as we can. We are trying to raise $10,000 to help us maintain our 18 miles of trails and pay for attorney’s fees to keep our trails in perpetuity.

You can either send us a check to:

Live Oak Park Coalition
Fallbrook Trails Council
P.O. Box 2974
Fallbrook, CA 92088   OR  Go onto the Donations page and use Paypal for your donation.

Thank You,
Donna Gebhart, Chair

FPUD Board Meeting  December 12  4:00 pm

The Fallbrook Public Utility District is having their Board Meeting on Monday, Dec. 12th at 4 p.m., and there is going to be a complete update on the Purchase-Sale Agreement of the Santa Margarita Valley Trail System with Western Rivers Conservancy.  The Assistant General Manager, Jack Bebee, Peter Colby from Western Rivers, The Wildlands Conservancy and the Fallbrook Trails Council all will be giving updates on the progress of the agreements and the sale.  We all have been working on the Restrictive Use Easement and the Integrated Resource Management Agreement.  The package has been submitted to the funding agencies.

FPUD Board Meeting  October 24  4:00 pm

The next board meeting for Fallbrook Public Utility District will be held on October 24th at 4 pm. This should be a good meeting for the public to attend as there will be an update on the meeting that was held with all the involved agencies, concerning the progress of the Santa Margarita River Trails. There are many things going on to make sure our trails are preserved but the public presence is an important aspect to keep things going in the right directions so please if you use the trails get the word out and attend the board meeting. The address is 990 E. Mission Rd. here in Fallbrook. The meeting starts at 4 pm and is open to the public.

FPUD Board Meeting  July 25  4:00 pm

There is an upcoming board meeting at FPUD Monday afternoon, July 25th, at 4 pm.  It is open to the public and although the Santa Margarita River trails sale is not on the agenda and there will not be a vote at this meeting it is important to show a large community support for our trails so if you can come PLEASE be there.  There are some new details in the works on possible grants to assist in a better sales agreement option for the trail use.   The board meeting starts at 4 pm  and is held at Fallbrook Public Utility District (FPUD) located at 990 E. Mission Rd. in Fallbrook.  Pass this on to all those who use the trails and come help us save our beautiful trails.

Santa Margarita River Trails Update:

Thanks to all of YOU we are almost there! It was moved forward by a standing board member to bring the issue of recording our multi-use trail easement on the deed to vote!! This vote will happen at the next board meeting. So needless to say we need to PACK the room! It will be a live vote during the meeting and there will be time for audience to speak for/against before the vote. Please fill out a card to speak and encourage them to vote YES!

Tell all your horsey friends, trail riders, hikers & bikers that they need to save the date. Our petition is at almost 2,000 signatures so perhaps we can get a few hundred to show up in person! Please pass this on to all interested groups!

Meeting: June 27th at 4:00 pm at the FPUD board room 990 E Mission Rd Fallbrook CA 92028

FPUD Board Meeting  May 23  4:00 pm

The next FPUD Board meeting will be on Monday May 23rd, at 4 pm.  The address is 990 E. Mission here in Fallbrook.  There is going to be a discussion for the new Ordinance that the board discussed last month concerning the Rules when you are riding, biking, or hiking the Santa Margarita Trail System.  Donna Gebhart will be giving an update on a grant and also on the tour that was done on part of the trail system with a Western Rivers representative.  There are many things going on and this meeting will help update people, so it is so important to come to this meeting.  Please pass the word around to riders, hikers, bikers and anyone who uses this wonderful trail system to please attend this public meeting, May 23rd, at 4pm.

 We need the public’s help!

The Santa Margarita Trails are in danger of being taken away forever. We have to make sure that FPUD records a legal easement on the deed to provide for non-motorized public trail use including equestrians, throughout the river valley property. This needs to be recorded as a floating trail easement on the Deed now versus prior to any sale closing. If left undone and negotiated at a later date, that could be tenuous. If you haven’t been on the Fallbrook Trails Council website to sign the petition we have going please do and just as important we need you and your friends who love these trails to come to the meetings, they are open to the public. The meetings are the 4th Monday of the month at FPUD at 4 pm,  990 E Mission Rd Fallbrook CA 92028. Be the voice that helps secure our trails for future generations. It is so important to continue to flood FPUD (https://www.fpud.com) with letters, questions, and demands to make our trails secure.

Trail Work Day  April 16  8:00 am

We have set a work day on Saturday, 4/16/2016 at 8 am at Sandia Creek trailhead.  We will be going across the street and as far as we can towards the Santa Margarita large Staging Area. If anybody has weed whackers that they are willing to bring, that would be helpful.  We have a couple and also some hedgers.  We will be crossing the river several times.  Make sure you bring gloves.

January 25, 2016

Wow! We would like to thank everyone who came to the FPUD meeting tonight and spoke on behalf of the SMR trails. There were several different perspectives on why these trails are important and what they mean to those who use them. A lot of time and effort is being put into making sure the trails remain for generations to come so please continue to get the word out and sign the petition Thank you all again for your time and effort!

Western Rivers Conservancy November Blog

Western Rivers Conservancy made an important move toward conserving a key stretch of the Santa Margarita, one of the last free-flowing rivers in Southern California. By committing to purchase 1,384 acres of riverland we moved one step closer to creating an unbroken habitat corridor and a critical ecological link between the inland high desert, coastal Santa Ana Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

The Santa Margarita drains an arid region. It begins at the confluence of Murrieta Creek and Temecula Creek in Riverside County, before it carves through desert canyons and flows into its large floodplain at Camp Pendleton. Finally, the river enters the Pacific Ocean near Oceanside, just north of the Del Mar Marina.

With a higher flow than other streams in the region, the Santa Margarita provides key habitat for endangered Southern California steelhead. Camp Pendleton biologists have documented a remnant steelhead run in the lower river in recent years, and NOAA Fisheries ranks it as a Core 1 river, its highest priority rating for steelhead recovery. This alone gives the Santa Margarita national significance. The river also supports remnant populations of arroyo chub, a tiny omnivorous fish that’s disappearing from other California coastal streams.

The Santa Margarita nourishes a vast array of plants and wildlife, including the highest diversity and density of bird species in the Southern California coastal region. Birders regularly hike the river corridor, and the luckiest spot life-list species like endangered least Bell’s vireo, endangered southwestern willow flycatcher and the threatened California gnatcatcher.

WRC’s acquisition of these lands, which we will purchase from Fallbrook Public Utility District, will conserve five miles of the Santa Margarita and nearly two miles of Sandia Creek, a key tributary.
We are proud to be part of strengthening a vital link in a rare habitat corridor, and to launch a project that will benefit not just fish and wildlife, but the people of Southern California. Our efforts will help ensure compatible public access to a place that people have come to love, and to which they return to bird-watch, ride horses and walk along the banks of a clean and free-flowing river.

Spring Cleaning

(April 2015)

We had a great workday . Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) performed service work under Milt Davies. They repaired the hiking trail and installed 7 benches. They did a great job!!!

LDS Work Crew

The Gordons cleaned under the old Oak tree at Willow Glenn and placed two of the new benches there. We had a bobcat and quads down in the canyon and got a tremendous amount completed. Again, a big thank you to Milt and all the wonderful volunteers that came out under his direction and did a phenomenal job.

Milt did a wonderful job organizing this, and the benches he made are beautiful.

Work Day
Work Day

The last of the survivors of the day, we are standing by our last bench installation!!  Al Gebhart, Arlene Eyerman, Linda Traut, Lee Traut, Milt Davies, Donna Gebhart, and Richard!

Kiosk Refurbished

(April 2015)

Kiosk Refurbished by Elijah of Boy Scout Troop 739
Kiosk Refurbished by Elijah of Boy Scout Troop 739

Elijah of Boy Scout Troop 739 refurbished our kiosk and installed it in a better location at the trailhead at Sandia Creek.  By the end of the day the new Trail Map created by Jeff Marchand of the FPUD, our new signs, and our pocket field guide were displayed on the kiosk.  Elijah did a great job!!

Completed Kiosk
Completed Kiosk

Fallbrook Trails Council merges with Live Oak Park Coalition

(March 19, 2015 Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News)

Volunteers with the Fallbrook Trails Council are, front from left, Linda Marshall, Lita Tabish, Jane Comella, and Sherri Lenfers; back row, Barbara and Bert Hayden, Joe Comella, Steve Hartshorn, Donna Gebhart, Al Gebhart, Jodi and Dave Gordon, Linda and Lee Traut, Beth Cobb, and Dianne Atkinson.

FALLBROOK – The Fallbrook Trails Council, which has maintained and repaired the Santa Margarita River trails for more than 25 years, is ending its affiliation with the Fallbrook Land Conservancy and has merged with the Live Oak Park Coalition.

The approximately 1400 acres with 14 miles of trails are actually privately owned by the Fallbrook Public Utility District (FPUD), but thanks to the work of the trails council, the scenic horseback and hiking paths are available for anyone to use.

The trails council, made up solely of volunteers, makes it possible for the trails to be open to the public. Through an agreement with FPUD, trails council members walk the paths and pick up trash, clear storm debris and make repairs as needed. They have also installed benches, picnic tables and hitching posts for horses throughout the trail system.

The merger with the nonprofit Live Oak Park Coalition will not change the scope of work or workload for the council, nor will it change the public accessibility of the trails. It will align the trails council with a larger pool of volunteers, and also with the Live Oak Dog Park group, which is also under the Live Oak Park Coalition.

Together, the coalition and the Live Oak Dog Park group are opening the first off-leash dog park in the county in March. The merger with the trails council combines three enthusiastic and very proactive community organizations.

Boy Scout Zach Schroeder, center, presents his Eagle Scout project proposal to Al Gebhart, left, and Donna Gebhart of the Fallbrook Trails Council; Zach plans to build a new kiosk for the Santa Margarita River Trails System.

The trails council has always raised all its own operating funds and 100 percent of donations have been applied directly to the trails’ upkeep and enhancements. Some of those include GPS safety markers on the trails, signage, maps and a pocket field guide to help hikers from getting lost on lengthy hikes.

Others also volunteer to clean up and help maintain the paths. Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts with Troop 739 are routinely working there.

Trails council members Al and Donna Gebhart recently attended the Court of Honor for Boy Scouts of America, Troop 739, Zion Lutheran Church. At that time, Scout Zach Schroeder presented the Gebharts with his Eagle Scout Project Proposal – to build a new kiosk for the Santa Margarita River Trails System.

Donna Gebhart said, “We are so excited to have such an enthusiastic group of Scouts to help us with the trails. Elijah Zepeda is going to be working on refurbishing the existing kiosk, which many years ago was an Eagle Scout Project. There are other Scouts that are putting together their Eagle Scout Project Proposals for the trails as well. These kids are just amazing.” The younger scouts are doing trash pickup one day every other month.

High school students are able to complete their required school community service hours there as well. The trails council also partners with Cal Fire. More volunteers are always needed and donations are very much appreciated.

Santa Margarita River Trail maintenance completed

(Winter 2014)

Trail maintenance along the Santa Margarita River was completed in November with the help of several volunteers with the Trails Council, Fallbrook Village Rotary and workers from the Rainbow Conservation Fire Camp.

Led by Al and Donna Gebhart , the project included hauling a significant amount of trail material down the trail to help stabilize some trail sections, as well as trimming vegetation and moving sand and rocks to improve sections of the trail.

The Santa Margarita trail system is within property owned by the Fallbrook Public Utility District that was originally acquired to be the site of a raw water storage reservoir with the construction of a dam on the river. Due to environmental concerns, this project is being modified to develop a joint project with Camp Pendleton to store water in wet years in water aquifers below ground on the military base instead of building a dam, and to build facilities to deliver water back to Fallbrook as part of the Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project which is currently being developed.

The Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project will provide a mechanism to permanently preserve the property and protect the passive recreational uses in perpetuity. The property is currently managed by the Trails Council, which agreed to manage the trail system and public access on behalf of FPUD.

Without our volunteer efforts, this trail system would not be able to be open to the public. Volunteers who helped with the recent trail efforts were Al Gebhart, Steve Hartshorn, Bert Hayden, Vince Ross, Scott Harry, Bob Butler, Eric Ramos and Jack Bebee.

Visit our Volunteer page to let us know you’d like to help!

Ribbon-cutting denotes opening of Santa
Margarita County Preserve

(October 11, 2007 Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News)

On October 3, the formal cutting of a red ribbon was the official signal by the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation that the Santa Margarita County Preserve is now officially open.

Red Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Red Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Members of the public were able to hike a two-and-a-half-mile trail that offers scenic views of the Santa Margarita River. By following the trail, hikers can connect to existing paths on Fallbrook Public Utility District land.

In addition, the County Parks and the Recreation Department and the Trails Council opened the first official equestrian staging area in Fallbrook which is considered one of the nicest and most used in the county of San Diego.

“The preserve opening marks another great achievement toward the future North County Multiple Species Conservation Program,” said County Supervisor Bill Horn, who represents District 5, which includes Fallbrook. “Our strong partnerships and strategic planning have provided an opportunity for the public to enjoy our region’s natural resources, while continuing our efforts to preserve them.”

The park is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. until 30 minutes before sunset. The preserve is closed during heavy rain to protect the public and natural resources. Fishing in the river is not permitted.

The county acquired the 173-acre preserve in 1992 to add to the future North County Multiple Species Concervation Program.

Private trail opens Reserve

(November 22, 2001 Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News)

Ribbon CuttingAl and Donna Gebhart cut the ribbon to the First Private Trail from a Fallbrook neighborhood to the beautiful picturesque Santa Margarita Reserve, which is owned by the Fallbrook Public Utility District, and the trails are maintained by the Fallbrook Trails Council.

This private trail is maintained by approximately 18 families which participate in the Trail Maintenance Agreement.  Each homeowner has agreed to pay $200 per year for the construction and maintenance for the first five years, and $100 per year thereafter.

This agreement was reached with Michael Crews and Mick Wunderlin, the developer and engineer who developed the 5-parcel development and the Santa Margarita Drive neighborhood.  The Gebharts and the other founders began the Fallbrook Trails Council approximately 2 1/2 years ago and chair that organization which has grown to approximately 100 people.  It is active in preserving Fallbrook’s rural atmosphere, and promoting trails and pathways throughout Fallbrook.  Their projects have included the Annual Santa Margarita River Day, with guided hikes and rides through the reserve as a fundraiser for maintenance of the trails.

Equestrian Journal

November 2001

This has been an exciting quarter for the Fallbrook Trails Council. In July, Donna Gebhart and Carolyn Major appeared before the Board of Supervisors along with many other trails representatives from around the County, to support the Regional and Community Trails Master Plan program as it pertains to the General Plan 2020. The direction of the Trails Master Plan is toward keeping the Community Trails Plan outside of the 2020 plan so that communities can make changes, additions, and deletions as necessary without going through extreme measures such as attempting to amend the County 2020 Plan.

The Regional Trails Plan (which includes the California Riding and Hiking Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the San Dieguito River Park Coast to Crest Trail, etc.) would remain within the 2020 General Plan. The Community Trail Master Plan would be developed using a baseline level of service related to population as a guide for meeting community needs. (i.e. .84 miles of trail for each 1000 people in a community). Trails, pathways, and other non-motorized paths within each community would attempt to connect parks, public open spaces, other trail systems, points of interest and/or sites with educational or historical significance.

The Fallbrook Community Planning Group now recognizes the importance of trails, and has begun requesting pathways from developers up front. In addition, the County and the Fallbrook Community Planning Group have put together two community workshops held recently in Fallbrook, and these workshops have focused on how the Fallbrook Community Plan fits within the 2020 General Plan. There will be a third workshop held here by the County in the near future. It is important that there be enough people attending who are advocates for maintaining the rural atmosphere which includes having trails and pathways connecting to parks and open spaces for our Community to enjoy.

Community support of the Fallbrook Trails Council insures all those living in Fallbrook a quality of life that everyone can enjoy.