- Santa Ynez Valley Riders Information
Live Oak Equestrian Trail Updates! CRAHTAC Meeting, Summer Doings, Future Activities & Actions
About time for an update on all the goings on at the Trail, don’t cha think? Here’s a summary of what’s going on as far as we know….
What’s going on Right NOW?
The next CRAHTAC Meeting is this coming Monday afternoon!
Meeting Date: Monday, October 10, 2022
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Zoom only, no in person meeting
Zoom Webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86045678273?pwd=N0h5RkdFTE5mQlV1WCs1cEhVOFFQZz09
Meeting Minutes 9/9/2022
Two Important things about this meeting and CRAHTAC:
1) **CRITICAL***Please pay attention to Agenda Item XI. Announcements
a) There are currently NO District 4 (LOMPOC - Bob Nelson Supervisor) or District 5 (NORTHERN SANTA MARIA AND CUYAMA VALLEY – Steve - Lavagnino Supervisor) members on CRAHTAC. There are four (4) openings in each District.
b) We need to get a few equestrians as the CRAHTAC representatives from these Districts. We’re already hearing of mountain bike representatives being nominated.
c) Please consider becoming a CRAHTAC Member! To apply, please go to https://sbcounty.granicus.com/boards/forms/110/apply/2895641?code=b5fad2cf-0973-4362-9508-80f5ab788a82
d) The County Riding and Hiking Trails Advisory Committee (CRAHTAC) was established by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in an advisory capacity to review programs, policies, and procedures affecting county recreational riding and hiking trails and their use. Committee members are concerned with the location, development, and maintenance of the recreational trails system countywide, to provide public access and links to the Los Padres National Forest, parks, beaches, and other public recreation areas. The committee is comprised of a maximum of four members from each of the five Supervisorial Districts and serves at the pleasure of the appointing Supervisor. CRAHTAC meets regularly on a monthly schedule via Zoom. No travel required! More info at https://sbcounty.granicus.com/boards/w/23ff8404489256c3. 2) These are the proposed ways the CRAHTAC meetings will be held in the future:
a) Only the agenda packet will be posted to the web and distributed to the master distribution list for any upcoming meeting. Public comment emails/letters will not be included (This is nothing new).
b) Public comment email/letters will be distributed to CRAHTAC members as one pdf packet (rather than multiple emails) before the meeting when received greater than 48 hours prior to a meeting.
c) Public comment email/letters received within 48 hours of a meeting (that would be the THURSDAY BEFORE THE MEETING) will be distributed to CRAHTAC members before the following meeting a month later as part of the public comment packet for that meeting. (Meaning any “late” issues will be discussed the following month – possibly too late for any real action).
d) The Zoom meeting chat feature by the public during the meeting will not be available to avoid distractions to all.
e) There could be an open discussion among the public using the “raise your hand” option if you'd like to speak.
Summer Round-Up – Summer began with interesting events at Cachuma Recreation Area and the County Parks Division. Two staff members who we had been fostering a relationship with resigned or took a position with another County agency. Those positions have been filled by Jeff Lindgren, Deputy Director, and Mr. Jeff Bozarth, who is now Supervisor for South County Parks .
Jeff L in addition to his management duties has taken over the trail coordination duties as well. Jeff B is a former member of Back County Horsemen, knows the Los Padres well and we are hopeful his leadership, trail riding and packing experience, and input will aid in representing equestrian interests in the County Parks system.
The good news is that with new leadership, the tree trunks at the trailhead since late summer are being chipped for mulch. Not all of them will be removed, but enough to allow access to shade. In addition, the access road trees were trimmed so that trailers can again use both sides of the road without scraping their roofs! Please be sure and thank the Parks staff if you see them working to bring the Live Oak Equestrian Trail back to its original beauty. The new staff heard the equestrians and future conversations with the new staff seem promising and productive.
Also, as you may or may not know, there is legal action pending for the Live Oak Equestrian Trail change in use – that is, adding hikers and bicyclists to the trail users. Because that is pending, none of the County Supervisors nor the County Staff are allowed to discuss any past occurrences or details of the future use of the Live Oak Equestrian Trail with anyone. However, equestrian representatives have been attending the Parks Commission and CRAHTAC meetings as usual. There's nothing wrong with giving information!
Because of this time-out in communication, summer was fairly quiet out at the Live Oak trail. Most of our efforts were focused on the Parks Commission and CRAHTAC meetings. Our coalition members continue to send in their citizen letters letting those that manage our trails know that equestrian voices must be heard! Thanks to all of you for your continued support – it means so much!
At the Parks Commission meetings in June and in August we used this time to lay out a framework for developing a plan and managing Live Oak Camp and Equestrian Trail. Our coalition sent letters to the Parks Commission asking for and giving examples how equestrians need to be involved in trails policy and establishing new trails. These include:
1. Maintaining and prioritizing safe equestrian recreation opportunities at the Live Oak Equestrian trail at Live Oak Camp, Cachuma Lake Recreation Area for equestrian trail riders.
2. Requiring that a Master Plan be developed for the Live Oak Camp and Equestrian Trail.
3. Creating a Stakeholder’s Trail Policy Working Group and include equestrian leaders to develop the trail policy For the Master Plan.
4. Committing to a Trail Management Plan process for any trail use, or other changes, consistent with the process for the Baron Ranch Trail Master Plan to encourage robust public participation.
5. Establishing a sales or bed tax to fund trail management
6. Establishing an Adopt-a-Trail Program to partner with organizations with historical ties or interest in maintaining a certain trail such as Live Oak Equestrian Trail.
7. Listen to and learn from EQUESTRIANS (rather than false notions long touted incorrectly by Mountain Bike organizations) about what riders deal with and have control over when confronted with other trail uses.
In August, we used our precious three minutes during the public comment period to educate the Parks Commissioners on what equestrians are doing to promote and maintain trails and equestrian facilities in other California Counties. We gave examples of fund-raising activities arranged and conducted by equestrians in other counties. These include the Coast Mounted Assistance for Montana de Oro State Park and the Black Rock campground improvements in Joshua tree National Park. We always remind them that there are no County-owned equestrian facilities in Santa Barbara County and there need to be at least some!
What’s coming up?
The Pilot Project is supposed to end this month (October) but because of the pending litigation and outcome, who knows what the decision will be, if any, on the Live Oak Equestrian Trail. A decision involving the legal action and effect on the opening of the Live Oak Equestrian Trail will be revealed in the future and should influence the County's decision. Stay tuned for further updates.
The next Park Commission Meeting will be on Thursday, October 27, 2022. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend if you can. Currently it says it will be an in-person meeting at the South-County Planning Commission Hearing Room 123 E. Anapamu St. 1st. Floor in Santa Barbara which will likely be hard for some to attend. Will update you if they switch to Zoom. Again, we will use our three-minutes for trail riding educational purposes. Watch for a handy dandy fill in letter for your use.
The next CRAHTAC Meeting is Monday November 14; letters will be due November 10th. Watch for a fill in letter for your use.
In November, the Live Oak Camp will be the site of Reggae on the Mountain (https:/www.reggaeonthemountain.com/), November 18, 19, 20, a musical festival which will likely exceed the Lucidity Festival in attendance numbers. Big names in the lineup. The trail will be closed possibly before, during and after the festival. Please watch for updates.
We wrote this week with concerns to Jeff Lindgren, Assistant Director, and Jeff Bozarth about adequate notice to trail users prior to closing the trail, providing adequate notice to the surrounding landowners and grazing permittees to ensure livestock safety, address fire danger, and to urge requirements for security personnel in the lower parking lot (where we park our trailers) and restitution requirements should trespass, and further environmental damage occur to the Trail as was witnessed during last spring’s Lucidity Festival. Mr. Lindgren has assured us that Jeff Bozarth is coordinating with the event organizers and has been meeting with them on logistics and operations. The Reggae organizers are new to Live Oak, and are experienced festival organizers, but wisely hired a local advisor who has been involved with Live Oak events going back years to the former Live Oak Music Festival, Lucidity and Powwow. We hope for the best.
That’s it for now. Thank you all for continued support and letter writing. It may be quiet now but expect some action by the end of the year/first part of 2023. More updates to come.