CARLSBAD — Thousands of residents head out on Carlsbad’s nearly 40 miles of trails each year to walk their dogs and ride bikes in the great outdoors.
However, as usage increases and Carlsbad’s Parks and Recreation Department budget is pushed to its limit, city staff have launched a campaign to keep the trail system in top shape for everyone to enjoy — the Adopt-a-Trail program.
“As the trail system continues to expand each year, it keeps getting harder and harder to keep things up at a level that we want it to be at,” city Park Planner Liz Ketabian said. “The Adopt-a-Trail program helps with all the extra projects we want to do.”
Through the program, community organizations and local businesses are able to support the trails in a number of ways. Sponsorships can be made on varying financial levels and help fund trail construction, park benches and information kiosks, Ketabian said.
Just over a year old, the program has been successful in securing sponsorships for three-quarters of Carlsbad’s trails, but Ketabian said help is still needed to fund the individual projects, including next year’s effort to secure trail ID signs.
“We need people to donate funds, supplies and labor for the trail ID signs,” Ketabian said. “Those signs will not only assist trail users, but also the police and fire departments if they need to respond to an issue on a trail.”
Trail users and safety personnel will be able to locate the trails through GPS coordinates assigned by Carlsbad’s Geographic Information System department, Ketabian said.
With the help of Adopt-a-Trail sponsorships, volunteers are also able to play a role in maintaining Carlsbad’s walking, hiking and biking paths. Ketabian hosts one volunteer event per month and invites the community to participate on trail projects, including trail cleanups and installation of dog-waste stations.
About a dozen volunteers joined Ketabian on Nov. 13 to work on the Carlsbad Oaks North Business Park Trail to remove fencing, lay decomposed granite and pull plants to help with drainage in the area.
“I live down the street and walk around here,” Carlsbad resident and volunteer Steve Scarano said. “It’s good to have that sweat equity in things like this; it gives you a sense of ownership and pride in your community.”
The Parks and Recreation Department also hosts two large volunteer events each year — usually coinciding with National Public Lands Day and Earth Day — to create awareness for Carlsbad’s trail system.
“We’d like to see a lot more businesses and organizations get involved,” Ketabian said. “It’s a great situation when we can partner with groups like that.”
For more information on Carlsbad’s Adopt-a-Trail program or volunteering, visit carlsbadca.gov or contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (760) 434-2826.