What Does CRAHTAC Mean to Equestrians?
In a series to provide information on how the County's Trail management and policy comes about, we'll be publishing a number of articles on the various entities that have a say over and make decisions about your equestrian trails.
We'll start with the most influential (and the most troubling) trail policy committee, the County Riding and Hiking Trails Advisory Committee or "CRAHTAC". Their Agenda schedule can be viewed at https://www.countyofsb.org/parks/crahtac.sbc
What is CRAHTAC?
On the County's web page, https://www.countyofsb.org/parks/crahtac.sbc, it states:
"County Riding and Hiking Trails Advisory Committee (CRAHTAC)
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 four members from each of the five Supervisorial Districts, and serve at the pleasure of the appointing Supervisor. CRAHTAC meets regularly on a bi-monthly schedule."
Things to note are:
CRAHTAC was created back in 1990 via a Resolution approved by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors (BOS). You can view the Resolution by clicking on the document below. Bob Crowe, a SYVR member was one of the founding members of CRAHTAC.
In addition the the duties specified in the above description, the Resolution charges CRAHTAC with the preservation and character of historic trails (Item G). The Live Oak (Equestrian) Trail was part of the San Marcos Ranch, the largest Ranch in Santa Barbara County. Live Oak Camp and Live Oak Trail are two relics of the Ranch. The Live Oak Camp was used by the Rancheros Visitadores for years before the Camp was turned over to the County. Live Oak Equestrian Trail was created by Bob Crowe's tireless efforts with the County Parks Department - now Parks Division to create the Live Oak Trail for equestrian riders in 1989. Horse camping and the equestrian trail are both documented and described in the current Cachuma Recreation Master Plan. With this history, the Live Oak Equestrian Trail and the Camp have strong equestrian ties and are historic resources that deserve to be preserved. It is up to our equestrian community to remind our CRAHTAC officials of their change to preserve the Live Oak Equestrian Trail as a safe and accessible trail for equestrian riders as it was intended to be.
CRAHTAC is bound by the Ralph M. Brown Act is California's “sunshine” law for local government. It is found in the California Government Code beginning at Section 54950. In a nutshell, it requires local government business to be conducted at open and public meetings, except in certain limited situations. The Brown Act is based upon state policy that requires public decision making bodies to inform the people so they can keep control over their government. Over the past year it has become apparent that CRAHTAC is not adhering to the Brown Act to the extent required and during the pandemic, public access to meetings and comment has been even more restricted. The Agenda, with the link to the November 8, 2021 Zoom meeting was not included in the meeting's email announcement, nor was it posted on the County's website ( https://www.countyofsb.org/parks/crahtac.sbc,) until the day of the meeting. For the upcoming February 14, 2022 meeting, the Agenda was sent out on Friday, February 11, 2022, within the customary 72 hours (3-day) notice. Are 3-days enough? It really does not give the public - such as yourself- time to read, digest and respond with a letter? We think not. We think the solution is a stakeholder working group - that includes equestrian leaders - to formulate and drive the upcoming trail policy development in Santa Barbara County.