Pogonip Clubhouse and Road Access

The first letter below (without exhibits) from Douglas Deitch, Pogonip Foundation, has been submitted to the City Council of Santa Cruz regarding the clubhouse rehabilitation, new proposed uses at the two and one half acre clubhouse site, and council action taken at its February 11th meeting.

The following two letters from Association of Concerned Trailriders (ACT) (without exhibits) and from Sierra Club-Santa Cruz Regional Group of the Ventana Chapter have been submitted to the city council of Santa Cruz for its consideration at its February 11th meeting regarding immediate Pogonip multi use access on the from Highway 9 through Pogonip to UCSC/Spring Street.

OFF-ROAD USE OF VEHICLES/SIERRA CLUB POLICY (Adopted May 7, 1988) and the draft of the proposed text of the new Sierra Club policy can be reviewed at these links.


Douglas Deitch
Pogonip Foundation
501 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, California, 95060
(408) 476-7662

February 12, 1997

Mayor Cynthia Mathews
City Council
Santa Cruz, California, 95060
Fax 459-9359

Re: Pogonip Clubhouse Rehabilitation

Dear Mayor Mathews and Council,

As I announced at last night's council meeting (and as I have consistently communicated by letters to council over the last two years), in December I incorporated a new public benefit IRC 501(c)3 nonprofit organization named the Pogonip Foundation. The board is presently being constituted, and an announcement relating to this will be forthcoming in the near future.
The primary and initial function of this organization will be to cooperate with and assist the city in its efforts to expeditiously rehabilitate the clubhouse and to reopen the clubhouse site and entire Pogonip parklands for the uses contemplated by CALPAW, the 1993 Mixed Use Options Assessment Report, and Master Plan (in development). For your information, I have included the Information Page from the foundation's website (www.pogonip.org) which sets out the general objectives of the Pogonip Foundation (please see Exhibit A).

The city's acquisition of the 614 Pogonip lands presents an opportunity for this community to make a profound statement on a global level on responsible and innovative management and use of a cherished and priceless environmental, community, and historic resource. I analogize the current situation with Pogonip to the situation that must have existed at the beginnings of two other great worldwide-known parks of similar size, Golden Gate Park and Central Park. I am dedicated to achieving an equivalent result in the instance of Pogonip.

The decisions that are being made today concerning this park at its beginning will eventually be determinative of whether this park aspires to its highest and best use and aspires to what I consider to be its manifest destiny of being a positive and exemplar use of our local resources. It is my hope and plan that Pogonip Foundation will be a significant player in assuring this result. I consider it a privilege and an honor to have the opportunity to participate in this process during this critical period and, hopefully, well into the future.

At last night's meeting, I expressed my concern that the prudent, proper, and "safe harbor" procedure (please see Purchase and Sale Agreement Between S.H. Cowell Foundation and City of Santa Cruz, 1.(b), p 2.) be employed at this time in reference to the "new" uses (i.e. uses other than "the present or historical uses of the club area including the clubhouse in its present or restored condition" -please see Amendment To Purchase and Sale Agreement Between S.H Cowell Foundation and City of Santa Cruz, 9., p 3.) that will be considered and analyzed in the environmental review. The latest structural assessment of the building (please see Exhibit C) indicates that action needs to be taken soon. To avoid a needless waste of time and further slow the environmental review process and to avoid the reversion of the property to Cowell, this process requires the city to first give Cowell Foundation 60 days written notice of any use which "may be inconsistent with Section 5905 of CALPAW" (please see Exhibit D). By this notice under this contractually established process, the city can and should confirm now that the contemplated possible new uses approved by council last night which are being environmentally analyzed are, in fact, in compliance with the Purchase and Sale Agreement. I recommend that this be accomplished immediately.

Finally, I am troubled by the possibility of the extension of water and sewer service to the two and one half acre clubhouse site. Furthermore, I would have liked to see council limit/restrict access to the clubhouse site by requiring that the historic Golf Club Drive access road remain in its present configuration (excepting some turnouts as had been proposed and approved under the prior club application). I hope that the council will reconsider its posture on these three issues. I believe that these extensions of essentially urban services into the Greenbelt will serve to cause an unwanted intensification of use and qualitative degradation of the cultural landscape and historic integrity of the site, among other undesirable results.

Despite the testimony given last night, the new well drilled at the clubhouse site has not yet been tested and established to be inadequate. Although it is true that fire protection must be considered, storage by either a large tank or perhaps even a pond (which historically has existed on the site-please see Exhibit E) will adequately address this concern as well as being a more desirable alternative. Furthermore, under the prior approved club rehabilitation application, a septic system was deemed to be adequate for a 200 member club. If intensity of use is to remain constant (as I hope you desire that it will), I do not see why a septic system will not equally adequately service the needs of the new uses contemplated.

Thank you for your consideration and reconsideration of these matters.



Dick Wilson/City Manager
Jim Lange/Parks and Recreation Department
John Barisone/City Attorney


The Association of Concerned TrailRiders

February 7, 1997

Santa Cruz City Council
City Hall
809 Center Street
Santa Cruz, Ca 95060

Re: Pogonip Master Plan - Multi Use Trails Access Amendment to Interim Pogonip Management Plan

Dear Council Members,

This is the request of the Association of Concerned TrailRiders (ACT) that the agenda for your meeting on February 11, 1997, regarding the Pogonip Master Plan Process include an action item to amend the Pogonip Interim Management Plan to re-open the Spring Road and the Rincon Road in Pogonip to multiple uses, specifically allowing access for horseback riders and bicycle riders in addition to the current use by hikers, notwithstanding the longer process for adoption of the Pogonip Master Plan.

Enclosed please find the materials which were submitted to the Parks and Recreation Commission in this regard for consideration at their February 3, 1997 meeting. As I trust you are aware, the Commission was unclear as to whether or not it could make a recommendation to you regarding amendment of the interim management plan. In addition to the materials submitted to the commission, please consider the following:

The Rincon/Spring Road is one of the oldest roads in Santa Cruz County, and has seen use throughout the years for virtually all of the activities that have gone on in Pogonip, whether the mode of transportation was foot, horseback, horse drawn wagons, bicycles, or motorized vehicles. To this day it continues to be used by motorized vehicles and horses for maintenance and patrol.

In 1994, the City Council, through its Pogonip Clubhouse Subcommittee (now called the "Greenbelt Committee) was considering opening the Rincon/Spring Road to equestrians and mountain bikers, when in May, 1994, a concern was raised by a local attorney that doing so would somehow violate CEQA by making the Pogonip approval process into a "segmented project." I have yet to be informed that the City Attorney has rendered a formal written opinion that opening the road would violate CEQA; nonetheless, at that time you decided not to consider the opening of the road separately, electing instead to wait while the planning process was completed.

As of May, 1994, the process anticipated completion of the EIR in Summer/Fall of 1994 and implementation of Phase One of the Trails Plan in Winter/Spring 1994 (see Meeting Report, Pogonip Property Subcommittee, May 15, 1994, provided to you by Doug Deitch/Pogonip Foundation under separate cover). As of 1994, and as the process has gone forward, all reports, recommendations from staff and subcommittees, etc. have indicated that the fire roads in Pogonip should be opened to multi-use.

It is now nearly 3 years later, and trail riders continue to be excluded from access to and (of equal importance) through Pogonip. The planning process, as described by staff at the February 3, 1997 Parks & Recreation Commission meeting, is still a minimum 1&1/2 - 2 years from completion. For that reason, ACT is asking that you re-examine the issue of amending the Pogonip Interim Management Plan to allow the opening of the Rincon/Spring Road this spring.

While I would not profess to be an expert on environmental law, I do not believe that re-opening a road to a use consistent with its historic use constitutes a project or will make the Pogonip planning into a segmented project per CEQA. If that were the case, why was it any less a project or segmented project under CEQA to open the park to hikers only; to put in a Ranger Station; to remove redwood trees to save the lime kilns; to install trails, etc.? Have you obtained a formal opinion from your legal counsel that tells you that you are prohibited by CEQA or other applicable law from amending the Interim Management Plan to allow opening of this road?

ACT supports moving forward with the Pogonip Master Planning process as recommended by the Parks and Recreation Commission. In doing so, it would be appreciated if you would do all you can, whether by funding the EIR, instructions to staff, instructions to the Parks and Recreation Commission, establishing focus groups for consideration of all unresolved issues, etc., to expedite the process.

At the same time, we request that you obtain a formal written opinion from your legal counsel as to whether or not you will be violating CEQA or other applicable law by amending the Pogonip Interim Management Plan to re-open the Rincon/Spring Road to multiple uses. Absent an opinion from counsel that you are barred by law from doing so, the equestrian and mountain bike communities request that you, as our representatives, put on your agenda, discuss and vote on the re-opening of this road to us so that we can share in the enjoyment of this park, that was purchased with our tax dollars for our benefit, as much as anyone's. With prompt action and appropriate instructions from you to the Parks and Recreation Department, this one road could easily be opened in spring 1997.

We know that this is a difficult topic, and one that is not without controversy, however, we feel we are being unfairly excluded from use of our park in the way that is meaningful to us, and are asking that you give this matter full and fair consideration so that we can finally share in the enjoyment of Pogonip.

Very truly yours,

The Association of Concerned TrailRiders, by

David Green Baskin
730 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, Ca 95060
Phone 425-8999/FAX 425-8853



February 3, 1997

Parks and Recreation Commission
City of Santa Cruz
323 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Re: Bicycles on the Pogonip

Dear Commissioners:

We write to urge that the Pogonip not be opened for use by bicycles at this time. The Interim Management Plan currently in effect does not allow new activities or uses prior to the completion of the Pogonip Master Plan. At the very least, that planning process should be completed, including an Environmental Impact Report that considers the cumulative impacts of all new activities.

Our Regional Group's Executive Committee recently voted to oppose the use of bicycles on the Pogonip. Because of intense pressure from those advocating the use of mountain bikes on public lands, open space areas available to hikers only are becoming increasingly scarce. The Wilder Ranch and the upper part of the UCSC Campus are currently used by so many bicyclists that we no longer schedule hikes on those areas on weekends. Nisene Marks Park is likewise heavily used by bicyclists. Only in Big Basin can one find routes where the hiker may be reasonably assured of not being disrupted by the sudden appearance of a group of bicyclists.

We note that you have received a letter from the Association of Concerned TrailRiders (ACT) that implies that National Sierra Club policy with regard to mountain bike use on public lands has changed to recognize ``the potential for compatible multi-use trails by riders and hikers''. This is not the case. A meeting involving members of the Sierra Club and the International Mountain Bicycling Association did take place about two years ago in Park City, Utah, which resulted in draft language suggesting guidelines relating to the use of mountain bikes on public lands. However this draft (dated April 1995), although restrictive in its wording, has not been adopted by the Sierra Club's Board of Directors. We append to this letter the text of the existing Sierra Club Policy regarding the use of mountain bikes, which is identical to the Club policy regarding the use of off-road vehicles in general. This policy is quite restrictive.

The letter from ACT also states that ``historic uses of the Pogonip included bicycling...in addition to hiking''. This is also not true. Prior to 1989 the Pogonip was in private ownership, and not generally open to public uses. Since 1989, when the Pogonip became public, it has been officially closed to bicycle use.

The letter from ACT also states that it is unfair to allow hikers on the Pogonip during the planning process while at the same time prohibiting its use by bicyclists. We disagree. There are significant impacts from bicycle use that are not present from use by hikers. Per person-hour, the bicyclist will have about six times the impact of the hiker, simply from moving at six times the speed, even if the per person-mile impacts are the same. Also because of this speed difference, there is an imbalance: The hiker must be always on the lookout over-the- shoulder for the bicyclist coming up from behind, whereas it is rare that the hiker comes up from behind on the bicyclist. Finally, the quiet ambience experienced (and often valued) by hikers (and especially bird-watchers) can be easily disrupted by the passage of a group of bicyclists, even if the bicyclists do not intend such disruption. On the other hand, it is rare that hikers disrupt the activities of the bicyclist.

One of the stated reasons for advocating the opening of at least the Rincon Road to bicycle use is to provide a convenient route connecting UCSC to Henry Cowell State Park. It should be possible to consider such routes that do not traverse the Pogonip, since UCSC and Cowell share a common boundary. There is currently a too-steep but well-used trail from the Chinquapin Road on UCSC to Highway 9 near the Rincon, a trail that could (and should) be re-routed so as to be less steep. There are also existing routes from Marshall Field on the upper campus through Forest Lakes to Highway 9.

Finally, if bicycle use is allowed now on the Pogonip, and the books available in the bike shops advertise that the Pogonip is now open to bicycling, it will be extremely difficult then to prohibit the use of bicycles should they be subsequently found to have too great an impact. Even now, the current policy that prohibits their use is difficult to enforce. The pressure is strong to allow bicycle use in every public open space. Our experience, in those public lands where mountain biking is now allowed, is that bicycles do indeed have too great an impact on the hiker. It is essential that there be some areas where the hiker is allowed to wander in quiet contemplation, or to watch birds and wildlife without being disrupted. The Pogonip, with its grasslands, its numerous springs and its ferny glens so close by our urban scene, is ideally suited to this purpose. It should be kept as it is, as a sanctuary. We hope you will agree.


Peter Scott, Vice-chairperson
Santa Cruz Regional Group
Ventana Chapter, Sierra Club

cc: Santa Cruz City Council Members
Jim Lang
Norm Levy
Bob Culbertson
Allen H. Blum, Jr.
Jeff Jones
Ed Silvera
David Green Baskin
Mark Michel
Keith Kelsen
Jack Hanson
Ben Post

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