Frequently Asked Questions, FAQ's
1. Q. Why does Valley Center need trails?
A. Trails enhance property values and provide a better quality of life for residents. Walking, running, bicycling, and horseback riding are excellent ways to get exercise and connect with community members and the natural world.
Currently, Valley Center has far fewer trails than are optimal for such a large area. The Valley Center Trails Association was instrumental in creating the Heritage Trail along Valley Center Road. The trail, which is graded, landscaped, and bordered by split rail fences, includes historical plaques and stretches from Cole Grade Road to Woods Valley Road. Thanks to the efforts of VCTA, a similar trail will soon be built along Cole Grade Road. Smaller trail segments, such as the Sunshine Trail, which connects Valley Center Road with Vesper through the solar farm, were also brought into being by the Trails Association.
Our children are at a particular disadvantage because of our lack of trails. Safe trails and pathways allow children to develop independence and physical health by walking to schools, neighbors, and activities. Adults also benefit from trails, of course, and every time there is an accident or near miss that involves a pedestrian, horse, or bicycle, we are reminded of the importance of trails.
2. Q. What is the difference between a trail and a pathway?
A. The official San Diego County Trails Master Plan defines a pathway as a walkway adjacent to a road or street, but clearly separated from the portion of the road on which cars and trucks travel. Ideally, a pathway should have a fence or other separation between the motorized and non-motorized traffic. The surface of a pathway may be soft or hard materials. In Valley Center, we are planning on having soft pathways made of “DG” (decomposed granite), which would be suitable for walking, running, wheelchairs, bikes and horses.
A trail is similar to a pathway, but is completely separate from a road or street, and is usually in a more natural setting, such as a wooded or riparian area. There are many potential areas for trails in Valley Center, but much work is needed to identify appropriate locations and then to develop them. At the present time, the only trails in Valley Center are those in Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve.
3. Q. How are we going to pay for trails and pathways?
A. Various governmental and private grant sources are available for trail and pathway development. Application for these grants is usually done jointly by the community (Valley Center Trail Association) and San DiegoCounty. Valley Center has already received one state grant for the development of the Heritage Trail – the one mile segment of the Valley Center Pathway between Lilac and Miller Roads. A second grant application was submitted in November 2007 and we are waiting to hear whether we will receive funding. The state-funded grant was matched in part by donations from the Indian Reservations, the County ofSan Diego, local businesses and individuals. State grants are usually designated for a specific purpose, such as mitigation for loss of trees; others are designated for safe routes to schools. Private foundations also provide grants for community projects, including trails and pathways.
Owners of private property can also donate or sell portions of their land for trails and pathways, dedicating them to use for trails and/or pathways. Owners of private land that has been permanently committed to trail or pathway use and accepted by San Diego County for that purpose, are relieved of all liability for any accidents or other occurrences on the trail or pathway. Tax relief benefits are also provided to owners who dedicate their land to trails or pathways.
4. Q. Under whose auspices does the Valley Center Trails Association operate? To whom does the VCTA report?
A. The Valley Center Trails Association (VCTA) is a separate community organization with its own federal and state tax-exempt status as a not-for-profit organization. The VCTA has its own Board of Directors and maintains its own finances. The VCTA is also a committee of the Valley Center Parks and Recreation District. We report regularly to the Parks and Recreation Board and coordinate our efforts with them. The VCTA has a Board member who also serves as an elected member of the Valley Center Community Planning Group. For development of pathways and trails on County owned property, we operate in conjunction with various divisions of San Diego County government. All of these relationships have been very important and have been successful.
5. Q. How can I become active in the Valley Center Trails Association?
A. Membership in the Valley Center Trails Association is open to all individuals and businesses/households in the community. A modest membership fee is charged. Each individual member, or one business/household member, is a voting member of the organization, and eligible to vote in the election of the Board of Officers. Members are invited to become active participants in VCTA by running for Board of Officer positions, and by becoming members of one or more committee of the VCTA. There is much work to be done and all members are encouraged to contribute their ideas, efforts and funds to the organization.
6. Q. What are the goals of the Valley Center Trails Association?
* Establish a series of safe non-motorized pathways and trails throughout Valley Center
* Assure a safe route for all Valley Center children to reach their schools in our town by foot or bicycle.
* Link trails and pathways to adjacent communities.
* Encourage private developers to include public trails within their developments with linkages to proposed and existing town pathways and trails.
* Improve our environment and reduce air pollution by reducing motorized travel within Valley Center.