Manes & Trails - A trail to nowhere: Easements and making connections

Rope and Spurs

Last in a three-part series

Having the Ramona Trails and Pathways Master Plan in place and knowing that the basics of funding trails and pathways must be done, no plan can move forward without easements.

Easements are the cornerstone for connecting trails and pathways and can be purchased (which goes right back to funding), may be donated or built into the road plans by Department of Public Works (DPW) or development plans as Ramona grows and changes, which is the most frequent method for easements to be obtained.

Easements are needed in many areas because, quite frankly, we can’t just build a trail or pathway wherever we want. Easements are used to obtain the general alignment needed because communities are older than trails plans.

A trail may show on the map that looks like it runs straight across your property, right in the middle cutting your property in half. What happens in reality is that trail or pathway would be placed in the general area providing the best alignment. There are no hard, fast rules. They are more like guidelines, to coin a phrase.

Whether it’s an individual, company or agency, as the property owner where a trail or pathway easement is needed for connection within the plan, biological and geographical issues may also play a part in gaining easements and laying trails. Whether given or purchased in whole by deed or title, or given by permission, easements are an integral part of every trails plan.

I did promise to tell you a bit about the Santa Maria Creek Greenway and, as an example for your better understanding of and for easements, it is the perfect project to use. It’s a huge, major project of such importance to this community for so many reasons and it has to be done in small sections over time, partly because of funding and partly because of the numerous easements needed for trail and pathway sections along the route.

T

he Santa Maria Creek Greenway trail in its entirety is nearly 9 miles, includes sections that are pathway rather than trail. Pathways are the connections necessary and are very typical due to the way the creek crosses Ramona. Roadways, bridges, different property owners and landholders as well as biological and geographical uniquenesses all include challenges to gaining easements along the way.

Aptly named, the trail runs right along (not in) our Santa Maria Creek from north Ramona at Black Canyon – in a mostly east/west direction – all the way out to the Ramona Grasslands on Highland Valley Road. Much of the property along the route is privately owned and some have granted permission for an easement so the trail can run along or past – not through – their property (thank you), but it hasn’t made sense to get most of those small sections done quite yet. Those that are in place may make it seem like there are trails to nowhere today, because of the nature of the necessary easements, but if you look at the plan as a whole you will realize that it is indeed a work in progress and each easement granted is another step closer to connecting the pieces of the puzzle.

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