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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 20th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 51 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 51

Residents speak in favor of proposed trail between Santa Maria, Guadalupe

By SPENCER COLE

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 13 was filled with lengthy public comment, largely related to a proposed hiking and biking trail between the cities of Guadalupe and Santa Maria. The speakers that day requested that the trail be placed on the supervisors' next possible agenda.

"When you think about Guadalupe's growing population and the 100,000 people who already live in Santa Maria, you can understand the need for additional family-centered outdoor recreational activities to the Santa Maria Valley," said David Hosking, a Guadalupe resident. "A hiking and biking trail between Guadalupe and Santa Maria would not only be used by countless families, both local and from afar, the trail would also be used by the [Guadalupe] Dunes Center, and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, and also our local school district."

Hosking added that the trail would be a good resource for schools and the two cultural centers to teach local kids about their immediate environment.

Jeanne Sparks with the Santa Barbara Action Network said the proposed trail would benefit hikers, bikers, and joggers with an alternative, safer route between the two cities.

"Highway 166 is just not the way to go if you're on a bike or walking," she said. "We really need a safe alternative transportation route. It goes along with sustainable communities. It's good for business. It's good for recreation. I would really like to encourage you to consider this because it's time."

Five students from Kermit McKenzie Junior High School spoke in favor of the proposed trail, citing the educational and recreational opportunities its construction would bring.

Guadalupe City Administrator Cruz Ramos said the project went beyond the local level and region and that it could be a "worldwide attraction" based on the touring cyclists that regularly visit the area, and due to lack of amenities, are forced to camp behind City Hall.

"I know we are a low-income community, but yet beyond all of that I see the residents, I see the culture, I see the pride of the people," Ramos said.

Andy Caldwell with the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business agreed the region did not have enough hiking and biking trails, but he questioned the proposed path for the trail.

"You don't want to put those hiking, riding, biking trails just anywhere," he said, adding the current path would go through a vast swath of farmland, which would create environmental regulation issues due to the pesticides used in those fields. "You would impact literally thousands of acres of farmland."

Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann praised the students who came to speak on behalf of the project.

"You have a voice, and you can shape what your community looks like and what your county and state look like," she said.

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam pointed out the move would be an openly hostile act to commercial agriculture.

"We are under siege out there," he said. "We are a factory with no walls. It looks all bucolic out there and everything, but there's still regulations and everything we have to comply with. We accept all of the liability for anybody getting sick anywhere in the United States. This kind of thing puts people in conflict's way, and I think it's unnecessary."

The supervisors took no action on the topic that day.




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