On September 7, 2017, the Secretary of State officially recorded California Guild-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 8 (Senator Ben Allen – D- Santa Monica) as Resolution Chapter 146 of 2017.
SJR 8, Chapter 146 calls on the Governor to designate the California Department of Parks and Recreation and CalTrans, in partnership with other relevant agencies and interested parties, to develop a California Master Plan for Non-motorized Recreational Trails for urban and rural regions across the State.
On August 31st, on a final vote of 53-14 in the California State Assembly (with 44 Assembly members signing on as Coauthors), the California Guild-sponsored Legislative resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 8 was adopted. SJR 8 is designed to accelerate completion of existing non-motorized trails and expand opportunities for Californians to benefit from new recreational, tourist, and economic development options in their daily lives.
A corresponding benefit of planning, development and completion time lines accompanying the State Master Plan for Non-Motorized Recreational Trails in California is reducing the overall usage of fossil-fuel powered vehicles, and creating a safer environment for pedestrians and bicyclists who use non-motorized trails networks. SJR 8 cites the 2006 California Global Warming Solutions Act requiring the State to reduce its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and further GHG emission reductions for 2050 through the Governor’s Executive Order S-3-05.
SJR 8 also calls on the Governor to request the President, Members of Congress and the Federal Highway Administration, through its Recreational Trails Program, to dedicate increased funding to California in order to accelerate and support the planning and development of the California Non-Motorized Trails Master Plan as an expanded network encompassing rural and urban regions of the State, and accelerating completion of existing trails, including the California Coastal Trail.
Although there are currently thousands of miles of developed non-motorized trails in cities and outlying suburbs, there are very few non-motorized trails connecting urban areas to parks and greenways. This makes it necessary for most trails enthusiasts to use a motor vehicle to get to and from the trailhead.
Guild President Bob McFarland noted there are economic benefits of non-motorized trails as well. The National Association of Homebuilders stated in 2008: “Trails consistently remain the number one community amenity sought by prospective home buyers.”
Guild member Ken Donnell notes: “A significant component of the California Trails Master Plan called for in SJR 8 is to begin creating connections between existing urban trails and nearby recreational trails.”
The author of SJR 8, Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), is himself an avid hiking and biking enthusiast. Senator Allen noted, “I look forward to the day when we have a comprehensive network of trails for biking, hiking, cross-country skiing and more. An inter-connected system will help to get people out of their cars and into the great outdoors, which is good for their health and good for the environment.” He added: “I hope the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 8 will be a catalyst for state and federal officials to make this goal a priority.”
The California Guild is sponsoring a series of regional conferences across the State to support development of a California Master Plan for Non-motorized Recreational Trails. Chico Community Guild hosted a conference on May 20th on the California Master Plan for Non-motorized Recreational Trails. The second California Trails Master Plan Regional Conference will be held on Friday, September 29th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Castro Valley Community Center located at 18988 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley, CA, 94546.
For Conference Registration and information contact Ken Donnell via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or or via phone at 530-566-2561.