City proceeds with caution on new trails 

A plan to add 15 new walking trail connections throughout the city has won some support, but officials may need to tread carefully with property owners.

A conceptual trails plan proposing 15 new trails and connections was approved this month by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission and will head to the City Council in February.

Several of the trails would require gaining easements from some property owners living near Devonshire Canyon and Big Canyon parks.

Similar efforts in other cities —most notably Los Altos Hills — have met with some resistance in the past from property owners concerned that hikers might invade their privacy.

Belmont is considering creating a trail network on city-owned easements, but is proceeding with caution because residents "might feel intruded upon," according to Mayor Coralin Feierbach.

Belmont’s trail additions are on hold while the city updates its parks and open space master plan, according to Belmont Parks and Recreation Director Adam Politzer.

Eight of the San Carlos trails have been deemed "top priority" over the next few years, including connections between San Carlos and the Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve and the San Francisco Watershed, new trails on a city-owned open-space parcel on Crestview Drive and linkages between the Highland area and Heather Park and the Big Canyon and Eaton Trail system.

No formal talks have been opened with affected property owners, and San Carlos Parks and Recreation Director Barry Weiss said he didn’t know whether the easements would require the city to purchase the right-of-way to install trails.

"It would strictly be up to the residents," Weiss said. "Once we get to the point where we start building trails, which is not in the very near future, we’d start negotiating."

Many Devonshire Canyon supporters are happy to hear that the city wants to extend trails in the area, according to neighbor Stephen Shray.

"I’ve talked to one or two people [whose properties would be involved] and they are open to the discussions," Shray said.

E-mail Beth Winegarner at

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