The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a master plan that will guide the development of hiking, biking and horseback trails in the Castaic area for the next 20 to 30 years.
The “Castaic Area Multi-Use Trails Plan” — passed by a 5-0 margin – gives the county Department of Parks and Recreation oversight for improving existing trails and building new ones in a 75-square mile area northwest of Santa Clarita and adjacent to the southwest corner of the Angeles National Forest.
The area includes Castaic Lake and Hasley Canyon.
Significantly, the plan provides a big-picture guideline, rather than the piecemeal way the trails have been patched together in the past.
“The plan provides a framework for trail development that, when constructed, will connect local communities to desired destinations and experiences,’’ said Terry Kanakri, a spokesman for Parks and Recreation Department.
What the plan does not do, at least at this stage, is outline specific plans, or set aside funds. Those will evolve over time.
“Trails … will be implemented in one of two ways,’’ said Kanakri.
“Should county discretionary funds become available, the county now has a plan that will guide and prioritize how trail investments in the area should be made.
“Additionally, developers … will be required to design and construct trails as part of (any) project’s approval.’’
As Castaic and nearby Val Verde have grown in population in recent years, “It is more important than ever to develop this plan and continue investing in health of our communities,’’ Kanakri said.
“By adopting this plan, developers can no longer build new communities without considering the needs of recreational trail users that have historically used particular routes transecting this region,’’ he said.
When fully realized, the plan would connect trails in Santa Clarita, Newhall Ranch and the Angeles National Forest.
“I initiated this plan as part of my legacy – working with the community to expand and preserve thousands of acres of open space, dedicate hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, equestrian activities and mountain biking to improve the quality of life for our residents,” Supervisor Mike Antonovich said in a statement.