by Nicholas Salcedo
The Marin Municipal Water District is starting the fourth phase of “Project Restore,” which was launched in 2009 to remove undesirable and unofficial trails on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed and to restore those sites to natural habitats. Unofficial trails have a number of adverse impacts on the watershed, including disturbing sensitive plant and animal species, fragmenting habitats, exacerbating erosion and increasing the likelihood of visitors getting lost.
This phase of Project Restore will focus on the area near the top of Lagunitas-Rock Spring Road and the West Peak of Mt. Tamalpais. Unofficial trails in this area have been proliferating over the years and some pass through sensitive habitats. Of particular concern are areas with serpentine soils, where many special-status plants grow. These plants can be easily damaged by people traveling off-trail. We’ll be working to decommission about three miles of unofficial trails in and around sensitive habitats, minimize erosion, and better define official routes through the old air force station on West Peak. During the project’s first three years, we completed work in the areas of Bon Tempe Lake, Temelpa Trail on the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais, and Kent Trail-High Marsh on the north side of Mt. Tamalpais.
MMWD maintains approximately 150 miles of official roads and trails for visitors to enjoy. The district strives to maintain these routes so they have minimal impact on surrounding habitats while providing a safe outdoor experience for visitors. You can help by staying on designated trails, respecting habitat restoration sites and reporting unauthorized trail building to our ranger staff. If you want to be more involved, consider volunteering with our monthly trail crew.
To learn more about Project Restore, visit our website.