Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has completed 18 years of work on the El Corte de Madera watershed protection program after opening a new segment on the Oljon Trail. 

To celebrate the opening of the trail and conclusion of the program, Midpen hosted a celebratory ribbon-cutting on Friday with a group of mountain bikers, followed by a group of hikers, who together were first to use the new path.  

“Staff is really proud of the watershed protection program,” Public Affairs Specialist Leigh Ann Gessner said. “Building really high-quality trails is, I think, one of the things Midpen staff do best.”

The Oljon Trail is now connected to the Spring Board Trail, and the extended trail provides new routes for visitors to enjoy without having to cross Skyline Boulevard, making it safer for hikers. The project also removed part of the Steam Donkey Trail.

The El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve is located in the San Gregorio Creek watershed and is a habitat for threatened species like steelhead trout and coho salmon. 

It was heavily logged in the 1800s. The project aimed to restore many of the old logging roads in the preserve and reduce sediment in the watershed. 

The protection program was created with funds from a bond, Measure AA, approved in 2014 and in partnership with national and state agencies. It has included the construction of bridges, creek crossings and restoration work along 24 miles of trail.

Midpen plants to release data in 2020 that shows the effects of the restoration work. 

“Some of our field staff, they’re just expert trail builders,” Gessner said. “It’s an art and a science they’ve been practicing for a long time. Staff takes a lot of pride in the trails they build and the fact we’re creating trails that are protective of the environment.”

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