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Alpine Trail Moves Closer to Completion

SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on June 7, 2022 agreed to fund a portion of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's Alpine Trail project, paving the way for an important regional trail connection for cyclists, equestrians, and hikers throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

The Board’s action is the most recent in a series of actions dating back more than two decades to mitigate the impacts of development authorized by the Stanford University 2000 General Use Permit.

“The Alpine Road Trail is a really great reminder that when we work together, we can accomplish so much more,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, whose district includes Stanford, and who spearheaded the collaborative effort with partners in San Mateo County to expand trail access and increase recreational facilities. “I’m pleased that our County is able to provide funding to help Midpen complete this significant trail segment. It will be enjoyed by generations of hikers, cyclists, and equestrians for a very long time.”

A timeline of events leading to the funding approval:

  • Simitian previously represented portions of San Mateo County when he served in the California State Legislature from 2000-2012.
  • The Stanford University General Use Permit was approved in 2000.
  • In early 2020, Simitian suggested an expenditure of funds from the Stanford Recreation Mitigation Fund for projects in San Mateo County affected by development at Stanford. Prior to Simitian’s proposal, the vast majority of trail mitigation funds had been spent in Santa Clara County, despite the fact that development impacts occurred in both counties.
  • Later in 2020, the Board of Supervisors voted to fund seven distinct projects (including the Alpine Trail project), six of which are located in San Mateo County communities, using more than $10 million in funds stemming from the Stanford University General Use Permit approval.
  • The funds were made available in 2020 as an in-lieu payment by Stanford University after the University was unable to come to agreement with San Mateo County regarding a trail alignment; the trail alignment had been a required mitigation for the University’s more than two million square feet of development authorized by the Stanford University General Use Permit.

“I was actually on the Board of Supervisors in 2000 when the trail mitigation requirement was approved,” recalled Simitian. “Little did I expect that I would be back to help ensure that the intended mitigation would be realized more than two decades later. I’m glad to see these funds going to projects that will benefit the community for many years.”

“Midpen is grateful to the County for funding this important regional trail," said Ana Ruiz, General Manager at the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. "The County’s support will allow us to repurpose an abandoned segment of Alpine Road as an essential trail linkage connecting the valley floor to the Skyline corridor while also addressing sedimentation from the old unpaved roadbed that is affecting the water quality of Corte Madera Creek.”

The Alpine Trail project is expected to create a 2.3-mile regional trail for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians connecting Page Mill Road to a network of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s preserves along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, a system spanning both counties. The trail will provide connections to the Bay Area Ridge Trail and to other trail systems within open space preserves and other park systems.

“It’s been a long path to get here,” said Simitian. “Sorry, no pun intended. But after all these years, we’ve gotten to a very good place.”

Construction is expected to begin this summer and end in October. A second construction phase will likely take place between June and October 2023. The Alpine Road Trail will be closed during the construction.

Updated to reflect clarified dates.