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Sanborn County Park Trails Master Plan

Published on: 5/15/2020 2:43 PM

In 2005, the Department began the planning process for the Sanborn County Park Trails Master Plan (Plan). The Plan considers the long-term management of a multiple-use trail system and complements the rugged, mountainous Park that affords visitors a wilderness experience in Santa Clara County.  

The Plan provides trail opportunities for all self-propelled trail users including hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and dog walkers, in keeping with the Countywide Trails Master Plan and the County Parks Strategic Plan which both promote an increase in multiple-use trails. The Plan identifies short-range and long-range goals for implementing the trail vision using current land holdings and expanding the system as other lands become available. 

Sanborn County Park  has roughly 19 miles of trails accessible to both hikers and equestrians. In addition, the Countywide Trails Master Plan of 1995 identified an alignment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail connecting the western portion of Lexington Reservoir with the Lake Ranch area at Sanborn, the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail connecting the western portion of Lexington Reservoir through El Sereno Open Space Preserve to the northeast portion of Sanborn, and the Sanborn Connector Trail connecting Sanborn with Bohlman Rd. The multi-use vision of all of these trails necessitated the formation of this project to ensure that the safety, enjoyment, and educational benefit for all park users is taken into account when planning these new additions to the trails system and assessing the condition, sustainability, and use of existing trails. 

The Plan was approved by the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors on October 21, 2008. The Plan is available here​.   

Sanborn County Park (Park) is nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains between the city of Saratoga and Skyline Boulevard. This 3,453-acre mountainous park of redwoods and tanbark oaks offers hiking and biking on multi-use trails as well as tent and RV camping and year-round picnicking opportunities. The Park contains redwood forests, mixed evergreen forests of black oaks, tanbark oaks, madrone and Douglas fir, riparian corridors, meadows, and chaparral habitats. The Park elevations range from 840 feet to 3,160 feet with an overall elevation change of 2,320 feet. The San Andreas Fault extends through the Park. The steep terrain and unique geological conditions present challenges to locating trail alignments in suitable areas. 

Goals of the Planning Process: 
The Sanborn County Park Trails Master Plan goals were derived from the trail concepts generated by Technical Advisory Committee members, the Project Team, comments received during the public scoping meeting and trails proposed in previously completed plans including the 1995 Countywide Trails Master Plan, Bay Area Ridge Trail Plan, Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail Plan, and the County Park Strategic Plan. The goals guided the planning process and the investigation of trail Corridors. 

The development of the Plan was guided by the following goals: 
  • Develop trail routes and uses for Regional and Connector Trails identified in the 1995 Countywide Trails Master Plan. 
  • Identify trail access for all users to meet both short-term needs as well as long-range planning consistent with all existing land agreements. 
  • Locate a mid-elevation route running northwest to southeast to provide a greater variation in trail difficulty. 
  • Develop more loop routes to provide a greater range of trail opportunities. 
  • Create a route from the Day Use Area to the Lake Ranch Area to eliminate the need for park users to walk on Sanborn Road. 
  • Introduce multiple-use trails into the park to meet the regional trail goals of the Bay Area Ridge Trail and Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and to be consistent with the 1995 Countywide Trails Master Plan. 
  • Evaluate existing trails relative to natural resources and reroute trails as necessary to enhance and preserve habitats. 
  • Evaluate opportunity for multiple use single-track trails that provide more of a remote wilderness experience. 
  • Evaluate the opportunity to provide more fully accessible trails for users of all abilities. 
  • Identify trail staging areas for all users: hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. 
  • Identify partnership opportunities with landowners and agencies to implement common objectives. 

Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) 
The IS/MND for the Sanborn County Park Trails Master Plan was circulated for a 30-day public review period beginning April 24, 2008, and ending May 24, 2008, and was submitted to the California State Clearinghouse (SCH#2007022016).  

The Department filed a Notice of Determination with the County of Santa Clara Office of the Clerk-Recorder on October 22, 2008. 

The Final Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration was adopted by the Board of Supervisors on September 23, 2008, and is available here​​. ​ 

For questions on the Project contact the Santa Clara County Parks Planning at (408) 355-2000. 

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