Erosion threatens loop trail connection

With erosion threatening the Flint Canyon Trail, La Cañada Flintridge officials are hoping a $157,000 effort to stabilize an adjacent slope will save a part of La Cañada’s loop trail and a key connection to Pasadena.

The two-mile trail runs through the Flintridge area in the southeast part of the city, connecting Hahamongna Watershed Park in Pasadena on the east with Cherry Canyon on the west. The Flint Canyon Trail also connects to the Arroyo Seco trail, which leads north to the Gabrielino Trail and Angeles National Forest.

The city contributed $62,000 for the work, with another $50,000 coming from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and $40,000 from Los Angeles County Measure A funds.

City Councilman Donald Voss said it is well worth the investment to preserve an important section of trail where erosion has been a problem since the 1980s. He also pointed out the city acquired part of the trail from a resident in 1991, and building a new path if the current trail collapses would be a challenge.

“This is the trail that connects between Pasadena and La Cañada,” he said. “If this should be lost then there’s a chance that we would never be able to reestablish it.”

Voss said the city will select a contractor by Nov. 19. Construction is expected to be completed by March 1.

The estimated price tag is $157,000, $5,000 more than has been raised so far. Voss said the city would provide the money if grant funding cannot be secured.

In 2009 the city completed extensive repairs to the hillside upslope of the trail at a cost of $441,000. That project was funded by the city, the conservancy, the county and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The work needed now is on the slope below the trail.

Debbie Tinkham, president of the La Cañada Flintridge Trails Council, said further erosion to the trail is unavoidable without structural reinforcement.

“On the downside on the trail, it goes quite a way down, very steep, to a stream bed,” she said. “What happens is that trail gets undercut… and the undermined part of the tail sloughs off.”

Tinkham said the Flint Canyon Trail is essential because it is part of the city’s 12-mile loop trail and connects to other recreational paths.

“It’s an extremely important link,” she said. “It’s not just for equestrians, either. You’ve Pasadena City College that uses that trail for track — local schools, hikers, bicyclists, equestrians — it’s really used by a lot of different entities in the community.”

The planned project won’t be the last one, however. The city’s request for funding states that even after workers repair 160 feet of downslope, an additional 150 feet still will need repair in the long term.

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