Dog And Pony Show

Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Cemex recreational access, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, backpacking

Jan. 27, 2014—Remember Cemex? The 8,000-plus acres of forested Santa Cruz Mountain land purchased in 2011 by a consortium including Land Trust of Santa Cruz County and Sempervirens Fund, which will someday be open for recreation, hallelujah? That Cemex?

Well, the Land Trust, as you may remember, is leading the public process to determine what activities are eventually allowed on the property. And today, a little over two months into an endeavor that will last five, the folks there released some tantalizing early results drawing from the 700 surveys completed thus far. (And before we even get into the nitty-gritty, we'll just point out that only 52% of those surveys were filled out by Santa Cruz County residents. So weigh in and represent, Santa Cruz! You can take the Cemex Access Plan Survey here.)

Read Cemex Recreation Access Planning Begins
Read Cemex National Monument Plans on Ice

So far a few activities have extremely strong support. Hiking, a loop trail and a ridge-to-sea trail each get a thumbs-up from 89% of respondents. Biking does pretty well, with 70% support (and 15% opposed).

Then it gets interesting. Because the survey asks what people do and don't want, it can serve as a measure of passion. And dogs do tend to get people riled up. That 48% say they don't want Bowser running off-leash is no surprise, given controversy over off-leash access in other parts of the county. But 19% said they don't want dogs in the park at all, even on-leash. Fifty-nine percent of respondents say they want leashed dogs to be allowed in the park.

Horseback riding appears to be similarly divisive. It gets the thumbs-up from 37% of respondents—and 32% expressly say they don't want it allowed. (What is it? The poop? The parking? Help us out here.)

Hike-in camping—let's call it "backpacking"—gets a "yes" from 48% and a "no" from 24%.

The survey period is far from over; Land Trust will collect surveys until April 30. Go online and fill out the Cemex Access Plan Survey now.


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That's the main reason I don't like horses on hiking trails.

Hike in camping would be cool, I wonder if they're envisioning something like Andrew Molera "walk in" or Skyline to Sea / Ventana actual backpacking in a bit.


Good question re: hike-in camping. I think of "walk-in" -- like Upper Manresa -- being a short enough distance that you can wrassle your cooler to the site. I'm imagining this to be more rustic/farther from a parking lot, but I actually don't know. Good question for follow-up.

Mostly I think of horse poop as smelling really wholesome and good, but then I'm a horse lover. Maybe that's the litmus test. : )


I am opposed to horses on the trails because it turns the trails into a dust bath, not fun to hike on. That same dust bath turns into a mud pit with water.