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San Luis Obispo County to take over Ontario Ridge Trail

Posted at 8:53 AM, Aug 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-27 15:11:29-04

Earlier this week, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously supported easements with two property owners to make the Ontario Ridge Trail an official county trail.

For years this trail has gained popularity but it is technically not a real trail as it passes through some private property.

“I wasn’t even aware that this wasn’t an official trail there’s no sign on the other side saying not to come here," said hiker, Max Pritle.

Now, approval of easement agreements with two property owners allows San Luis Obispo County to move forward with construction and improvements to the trail.

“We’ve been working with these property owners for several years on securing these easements," said Shaun Cooper, SLO County Parks and Recreation senior planner.

SLO County Parks said this trail corridor has been a part of the planning documents for the county for many years including in the 2006 county master plan.

“This is a good milestone in that we now have easements to make the full connection between the Cave Landing parking area and Shell Beach Road and Avila Drive," said Cooper.

Future improvements will provide a more accessible route and allow the county to manage and maintain the trail.

Property owner Kristina Spearman spoke at the board meeting earlier this week, echoing their support in keeping the trail.

“I know it can be a challenge to balance property rights and what you can do for your community, but this is something we really believe in. It isn't something we had to do, but we did it because we believe in our community and we could, so thank you for that opportunity," Spearman told the board.

Community members and hikers may not see changes anytime soon.

SLO County Parks said that improvements depend on funding that can take many years.

For the time being, it is not an official county-owned trail until those improvements are made.