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LCF gets $300K to explore, design fix for crumbling Flint Canyon Trail

LCF gets $300K to explore, design fix for crumbling Flint Canyon Trail
Caroline Craven, appointed to an Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries Working Group, points out erosion on La Cañada's Flint Canyon Trail in December. On Monday the city was awarded $300,000 by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for restoration study and design. (File photo)

La Cañada Flintridge will be able to take an important first step in restoring its Flint Canyon Trail — a vital connector path threatened by downslope erosion — after receiving Monday a $300,000 grant from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

The grant is funded by Proposition 68, a $4-billion bond for parks, environment and water infrastructure projects passed by California voters in June. It will cover the cost of a preliminary engineering report and concepts for possible repairs and will assist the city in seeking public input and developing a final design.

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State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) is one of several regional legislative participants for the conservancy. At Monday’s SMMC board meeting, he spoke in favor of the grant via a conference call. He later told the Valley Sun it would help the city create a plan of action.

“We need to figure out what’s needed so we don’t lose this important historical trail connection,” he said. “Then we need to figure out how much it’s going to cost to do this whole thing.”

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La Cañada Public Works Director Pat DeChellis said the city estimated in 2012 full slope stabilization with a 2,000-foot reach would cost around $4 million to $5 million. He said while a funding source has not yet been identified for the physical work, the conservancy grant will increase the city’s chances of securing future funding.

The city currently maintains roughly a 500-foot portion of the 2-mile trail, which connects Hahamongna Watershed Park to Cherry Canyon and the city of Glendale and ultimately provides access to the Angeles National Forest.

Steve Del Guercio, a former member of the La Cañada Flintridge City Council, represents the city on an advisory committee for the conservancy. He said the city has been working for decades to preserve the important access point to other recreational areas.

“This is really a pretty significant and unique spot,” he said of the trail, which runs above the Flint Wash, an important flood control channel. “It would be an absolute travesty not to have that segment.”

In 2009, the city paid about $500,000 to help repair the trail’s upslope. Another $336,500 was set aside in the 2012-13 budget for downslope repairs, aided by a $50,000 conservancy grant.

“We’ve had some success, but it’s always been temporary solutions,” Del Guercio said. “I think it’s wonderful we’ve had so much support from Sen. Portantino. There’s no question the likely magnitude of a fix is going to require a joint effort by multiple agencies.”

While there’s been no formal talk of how a full restoration would be paid for, Portantino said he plans to help La Cañada identify and secure funding.

“I’m reasonably confident that over the next several years we will be able to fully fund the restoration,” he said.

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