County trails required by Stanford's new General Use Permit.
27 November 2000
As a requirement for future development by Stanford, the County
of Santa Clara has required Stanford to build out trails in the
Stanford Dish area. Stanford's recent actions in reducing access
to the Dish area have produced considerable interest among trail
users in finding ways to provide trail access in the Stanford area.
Existing planning documents indicate that options exist which have
not been widely discussed. This summary provides some background
on some trails that are consistent with the County Trail Master
Plan and Stanford's current General Use Permit.
The Santa Clara County Trail Master Plan
Santa Clara County has a Trail Master Plan. The Plan shows a system
of multi-use trails throughout the county. Parts of this trail system
already exist, but much of it does not. In general, the County advances
the build-out of the trail system by making trail easements and construction
a condition of permits for construction and land use changes by landowners
who own land over which trails will pass.
Two mapped trails pass over Stanford land in Santa Clara County. These
are trail C-1, the San Francisquito / Los Trancos Creek trail, and
trail S-1, the Matadero Creek / Page Mill Trail. Neither trail
has been built out over Stanford land, but substantial portions
of these trails already exist on the property of others. Our goal
is to connect the pieces and provide a recreational facility for public
It is a requirement of the General Use Permit that Stanford build
these trails. From "Stanford
General Use Permit, Informational Draft on Areas of Agreement, 27
November 2000". Page 22:
2. Stanford shall dedicate easements for, develop, and maintain
the portions of the two trail alignments which cross Stanford
lands shown in the 1995 Santa Clara Countywide Trails Master
Plan (Routes S1 and C1), according to the following timeline:
a. In consultation with the County Parks and Recreation
Department, Stanford shall identify trail easements and complete
Agreements for Trail Easements within one year of GUP approval.
For purposes of this condition, the term “easement” includes
any other equally enforceable mechanism acceptable to the
County Board of Supervisors.
b. Stanford shall work with the County Parks and Recreation
Department to identify responsibilities for trail construction,
management and maintenance. An agreement regarding these issues,
including but not limited to a time frame for implementation,
shall be reached within one year of GUP approval.
Trails are only useful if the sections connect. The sections of
the trails discussed here involve San Mateo County, Santa Clara
County, and the cities of Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Portola Valley.
We've been working with the San Mateo County Trail Advisory Board
and the Palo Alto Planning Department, and our proposal is consistent
with the publications and informal positions of those agencies.
These trails provides a quick escape from the urban environment, offering
a relatively easy hike with connections to trail systems offering
more challenging climbs and distances.
With the closure of the Cardiac Hill trail near Stanford Avenue, the
serious runners in the Stanford area (a group which includes several
Olympic athletes) have lacked good hills to run. These trails will
provide a good, hilly running route for the serious athlete.
Stanford's privately-operated Dish trail system is not open to bicyclists
or mountain bikers. In conformance with the County Trail Master Plan,
the new trails would be open to mountain bikes. We expect that this
will provide a significant new recreational opportunity for mountain
bikers, providing a good hill ride accessable from the campus area.
The trails must be built out to width standards sufficient to accomodate
this mixed use.
There's far more horse activity in this area than is generally realized.
Over seven hundred horses are stabled
within a mile of the San Francisquito / Los Trancos Creek trail. The
figure below shows only major public stables with over 100 horses.
These large facilities. with the exception of Creekside Stables, are
on land leased from Stanford. Many smaller horse facilities are on
Table 1 - Horse Population along
the San Francisquito / Los Trancos Creek trail
|Portola Valley Training
Typical costs to keep a horse in this area run upwards from $6000
per year, ($10,000 is probably more realistic) so annual
horse activity along this trail alone is roughly $7,000,000 in financial
With the unexpected closing of the Dish area to horses, the Stanford
Equestrian Center has become landlocked. There's no place to go.
Several riders have already been forced to move their horses elsewhere,
lacking the access to hills and trails needed to condition their
animals for competition.
Imagery shown is circa 1998. Used with permission