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Fallbrook Trails Council merges with Live Oak Park Coalition

 

Last updated 3/19/2015 at Noon

Volunteers with the Fallbrook Trails Council are, front from left, Linda Marshall, Lita Tabish, Jane Comella, and Sherri Lenfers; back row, Barbara and Bert Hayden, Joe Comella, Steve Hartshorn, Donna Gebhart, Al Gebhart, Jodi and Dave Gordon, Linda and Lee Traut, Beth Cobb, and Dianne Atkinson.

FALLBROOK – The Fallbrook Trails Council, which has maintained and repaired the Santa Margarita River trails for more than 25 years, is ending its affiliation with the Fallbrook Land Conservancy and has merged with the Live Oak Park Coalition.

The approximately 1400 acres with 14 miles of trails are actually privately owned by the Fallbrook Public Utility District (FPUD), but thanks to the work of the trails council, the scenic horseback and hiking paths are available for anyone to use.

The trails council, made up solely of volunteers, makes it possible for the trails to be open to the public. Through an agreement with FPUD, trails council members walk the paths and pick up trash, clear storm debris and make repairs as needed. They have also installed benches, picnic tables and hitching posts for horses throughout the trail system.

The merger with the nonprofit Live Oak Park Coalition will not change the scope of work or workload for the council, nor will it change the public accessibility of the trails. It will align the trails council with a larger pool of volunteers, and also with the Live Oak Dog Park group, which is also under the Live Oak Park Coalition.

Together, the coalition and the Live Oak Dog Park group are opening the first off-leash dog park in the county in March. The merger with the trails council combines three enthusiastic and very proactive community organizations.

The trails council has always raised all its own operating funds and 100 percent of donations have been applied directly to the trails’ upkeep and enhancements. Some of those include GPS safety markers on the trails, signage, maps and a pocket field guide to help hikers from getting lost on lengthy hikes.

Others also volunteer to clean up and help maintain the paths. Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts with Troop 739 are routinely working there.

Boy Scout Zach Schroeder, center, presents his Eagle Scout project proposal to Al Gebhart, left, and Donna Gebhart of the Fallbrook Trails Council; Zach plans to build a new kiosk for the Santa Margarita River Trails System.

Trails council members Al and Donna Gebhart recently attended the Court of Honor for Boy Scouts of America, Troop 739, Zion Lutheran Church. At that time, Scout Zach Schroeder presented the Gebharts with his Eagle Scout Project Proposal – to build a new kiosk for the Santa Margarita River Trails System.

Donna Gebhart said, "We are so excited to have such an enthusiastic group of Scouts to help us with the trails. Elijah Zepeda is going to be working on refurbishing the existing kiosk, which many years ago was an Eagle Scout Project. There are other Scouts that are putting together their Eagle Scout Project Proposals for the trails as well. These kids are just amazing." The younger scouts are doing trash pickup one day every other month.

High school students are able to complete their required school community service hours there as well. The trails council also partners with Cal Fire. More volunteers are always needed and donations are very much appreciated.

Contact information can be found on the website - FallbrookTrailsCouncil.com.

 

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