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POWDRELL

The Franklin Trail in Carpinteria
updated: Dec 14, 2013, 11:00 AM

By David Powdrell

So here's the deal….The community of Carpinteria recently received an incredible gift, the re-opening of the first 2.15 miles of the historic Franklin Trail. The Franklin Trail is one of the oldest hiking trails in the area, dating back to 1913 when the forest service built a path from the Carpinteria Valley to the ridge of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The trail was closed back in the 1970's due to concerns for root rot to the avocado orchards.

I took my first hike on the Franklin Trail this morning. Like all the local Santa Barbara trails, the views were killer. By the count of the greenhouses, I'm quickly reminded of the importance of agriculture to our local economy.

Along the trail, there were a few headstrong wildflowers that weren't quite ready for winter to kick in. I saw some California Bay Laurel, California Sage, Chamise, Deerweed, Fennel, Golden Yarrow, Prickly Pear Cactus, California Prickly Phlox, Purple Sage, Toyon and some Tree Tobacco. I can only image what the place will look like in the spring when all the wildflowers are strutting their stuff.

For the last several years, there has been a group of amazing people and organizations working tirelessly to obtain permits, easements and eventually get the full seven miles of trail re-opened. Bud Girard and Jane Murray led the charge with Friends of the Franklin Trail and the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County under leadership of Michael Feeney deserve huge credit as well as countless other unsung heroes. Several local landowners need to be thanked for providing easements across their land.

There are some great website links to learn more about the Franklin Trail; the trail head, parking, how to get involved with the Friends of the Franklin Trail and how to contribute to the non-profit organization to help fund the work on the final 5 miles of trail. Check out http://franklintrail.org/. Ray Ford wrote an excellent article on the Franklin Trail in a recent issue of the Santa Barbara Independent. That link is Historic Franklin Trail Re-opens Today The Santa Barbara Independent.

Kudos to all the folks that fought for the permits and the easements, cut the thick brush, built the necessary fences and cleared the path for the rest of us. The gift of a hiking trail in the foothills of Carpinteria is invaluable and will likely exist for generations to come.

If you haven't hiked the trail yet, do. It's a beauty.

 

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