Interpretive Program

Arana Gulch Interpretive Program
Implementation of the new multi-use trail system in Arana Gulch will create a unique opportunity for the Parks and Recreation Department in partnership with the Santa Cruz Natural History Museum to implament “The Arana Gulch Interpretive Program” within an urbanized setting. Opportunities exist for a diverse population of residents and visitors to view a variety of habitats and wildlife, and to learn about resource management and environmental stewardship. Some of the primary objectives of the project are to maximize opportunities to educate, inform, and inspire users of the trail system. The interpretive program will enhance their enjoyment of Arana Gulch and its resources, and encourage them to take action to help protect our local natural resources.

Mock-up of Hagemann Gulch panel to be installed along the new trail
Our program includes interpretive signs, docent-led school programs, and other educational opportunities in coordination with educational partners and local experts. Few interpretive opportunities exist in close proximity to urban areas making access for many of the City’s senior residents a challenge.  Arana Gulch, however, is located within short distances some of the City’s and County’s retirement and supportive living communities and will offer peace of mind, fresh air, room to breathe, to walk and to continue their healthy retirement lifestyle. A major occupational rehabilitation facility is also within a very short walk to the new westerly entrance of Arana Gulch. 

New entry sign for Arana Gulch
Arana Gulch is the City’s only greenbelt property located within the urbanized area. The Arana Gulch multi-use trail will provide greater access for wheelchairs, pedestrians, children in strollers and bicycles with all-weather access points from all sides. The interpretive program in conjunction with the increase in accessibility will encourage greater use of the trails, by both locals passing through and out-of-town visitors to improve overall safety of the open space.  

Through interpretive programs, visitors will learn about the natural value of the area, and be inspired to support programs to restore and protect Arana Gulch’s ecological integrity. With an informed public who understand the benefit of healthy local ecosystems, Arana Gulch will attract more funding for restoration to support native plants, animals, and sensitive habitats.