Mountain bike advocacy issues in Santa Cruz county
Monday, July 19, 2010
Trails not Tracks: Access to Pogonip will Solve the Problems with Heroin Hill
A 640 acre city park in Santa Cruz called Pogonip has an area known as Heroin Hill which is the place to score cheap heroin in Northern California. Heroin addicts come to Santa Cruz from all over Northern California (and beyond) and stick around - which may have increased the population of homeless. The incidence of petty and property crime has increased in the City over the past few years. The situation in the Pogonip has deteriorated so badly that many of the local residents have had enough. We saw opportunities to work with the city to bring in more positive use (i.e, mountain biking) to push out the bad use. We formed a sub-committee to focus on this issue. We were pleased to hear that the Parks and Recreation Department were crafting a multi-use trail plan right through Heroin Hill. If you are a mountain biker in Santa Cruz this multi-use trail will allow you a fun and scenic alternative to the train tracks to access the U-conn trail.
On Monday July 12th the multi-use trail proposal was introduced to the Parks and Recreation Commission at their monthly meeting. This proposal has the support of the Santa Cruz Police and Fire Departments, Parks and Recreation staff, the equestrians and Take Back Santa Cruz - a grassroots crime and public safety advocacy group. The mountain biking community fully supports this plan and offerred trail design, labor and fund raising to get this done.
We were really pleased that the Commission voted 7-0 to move it forward to City Council. The next step is that the Parks and Rec multi-use trail will be discussed and voted by City Council probably in September.
Right now we are shoring up our support within the mountain biking community, local bike shops and bike industry. We are also reaching out to community groups and local residents and visitors to Santa Cruz. Our opposition were not as prepared as we were for the Commission meeting but now they are starting to organize. We need to build a broad base of support for this plan to demonstrate that the community endorses this plan as a way of displacing the negative use of the park with positive use.
We think that opening up more of the park to legitimate use will prevent moving the illegal activity to another part of the park. 11 years ago mountain bikers and equestrians built the U-Conn multi-use trail in the northern part of Pogonip - which was also a refuge for illegal camping and drug activity. It was pushed out of that area after the trail was constructed and it was in use by the community. Mountain bikers love our community. We can provide positive solutions to displace the bad elements. Please support this plan!