Santa Cruz, CA -- The City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department breaks ground today on construction of a new bike/pedestrian bridge and trail system at Arana Gulch. The bridge and trail system is part of a master plan for the Arana Gulch Open Space area that includes bike and pedestrian trails that are fully ADA compliant, interpretive opportunities and habitat protection. The $6.2M project will be built in two phases and will take approximately one year to complete.
“Arana Gulch is a unique open space within our city,” said Santa Cruz Mayor Hilary Bryant. “This project will protect treasures, like the endangered tarplant, while improving access to Arana Gulch for all residents and providing an important cross-town link for pedestrians and bicyclists.”
· Almost one mile of all-weather trails that integrates with its surroundings and provides full access for visitors with limited mobility
· 340-foot “stress ribbon” pedestrian bridge across Hagemann Gulch
· Amenities that include benches, interpretation, bike racks and refuse/recycling bins
· Interpretive program, including signage on the natural history of the area and encouraging stewardship; docent-led walks; opportunities for school programs to be offered in collaboration with partner organizations such as the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
· Adaptive management plan to restore and enhance native habitats, especially that of the Santa Cruz tarplant
· Elimination of “volunteer” trails in sensitive areas, such as near tarplant and seasonal wetlands
· On-site botanist during construction
· Managed seasonal grazing by cow and calf pairs to facilitate natural restoration processes
· City of Santa Cruz -- $2M
· Santa Cruz County – $1.38M
· Federal Transportation Enhancement Funds – $2.43M
· State Funds $0.4M for Phase 2
The project received extensive environmental review from state and federal agencies before receiving approval from the CaliforniaCoastal Commission, California Fish and Wildlife and US Department of theInterior Fish and Wildlife Service. The site was once part of the ranchlands known as Live Oak Ranch, and was later home to the East Side Dairy. The dairy ceased operation in the mid-1950s and the property was grazed until the late 1980s. The City of Santa Cruz purchased the property in 1994.