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Arana Gulch Multi-Use Trail Project Opens with Community Celebration on January 14

Post Date:01/06/2015


Janice Bisgaard, Community Relations Specialist, (831) 420-5166

The City of Santa Cruz will dedicate the Arana Gulch Multi-Use Trail Project  on Wednesday, Jan. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Frederick Street entrance to Hagemann Gulch Bridge. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will celebrate new trails that expand the greenbelt’s access to more people while providing habitat protection, green infrastructure and interpretive opportunities and delivering a new cross-town link for pedestrians and bicyclists. The dedication will recognize City and County officials and community members who helped achieve this project over many years. The family-friendly celebration includes live music, refreshments and environmental and construction tours — come rain or shine.

The new multi-use trails provide access to the 68-acres of Arana Gulch meadows, California oak woodland and Arana Creek riparian zone. These are the first City of Santa Cruz open space trails that are compliant with the American Disabilities Act. The greenbelt's vegetation, wildlife and vistas are now accessible to people with disabilities, the elderly and those with limited mobility or injuries who have difficulty walking on uneven and muddy surfaces. The new trails also offer access for parents with small children who are not comfortable riding bicycles or pushing strollers on dirt trails.

The nearly one-mile long multi-use trail system also provides convenient new connections for City residents and visitors. Most City inhabitants live to the west of the greenbelt, which has had no access along the entire western boundary. The City’s improvements include a new west entrance to Arana Gulch at Broadway and Frederick Street by way of a new 340-foot stress-ribbon pedestrian bridge across Hagemann Gulch. It is the first use of stress-ribbon engineering design in Central California which allows for a single span with minimal impact on the gulch below.

A second bridge-like structure, the Arana Creek Causeway, has been constructed above ground over culverts that drain Arana Creek into the north harbor. This causeway provides access to the pipes in the event they need future replacement or maintenance. The elevated trail allows the passage of potential flood waters flowing from Arana Creek during a peak flow storm event.

Not only in bridge design, but throughout the entire project, the City devoted much time and expense working closely with botanists and other technical specialists to ensure protection of sensitive habitat and provide a prudent level of public use. The project includes an adaptive management plan to restore and enhance native habitats, especially that of the endangered Santa Cruz tarplant.

Design choices reflect the City’s commitment to increasing green infrastructure. The all-weather surface trails are constructed of pervious concrete which has a high porosity allowing water to pass directly through, thereby reducing runoff and permitting groundwater recharge.

An interpretive program includes signage on the natural history of the area and also encourages stewardship such as docent-led walks and opportunities for school programs in collaboration with partner organizations. There are scenic overlooks with bench seating.

The City welcomes all Santa Cruz residents and visitors to the dedication. The Wednesday afternoon event will include music performed by the Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band,construction and environmental tours, refreshments and speeches by Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane and County Supervisors John Leopold and Ryan Coonerty. Community members who led important efforts will be the official ribbon-cutters: Lynn Gallagher of La Posada Retirement Community and John Daugherty, former director of the Regional Transit Commission’s Elderly and Disabled Transportation Advisory Committee.

Parking is hosted by Santa Cruz Bible Church, 440 Frederick St., and Our Lady of the Sea Church, 515 Frederick St. Bicycle valet parking is hosted by People Power of Santa Cruz County.

For more information, please visit the Arana Gulch Multi-Use Trail Project blog,, and the City’s website,

Arana GulchArana Creek Causeway “Salmon Run” railing was recently installed as part of the Arana Gulch Multi-Use Trail Project, December 2014; Photo Aaron Becker.

Arana GulchScenicOverlookandInterpretiveDisplayArana Gulch Multi-Use Trail Project scenic overlook and interpretive display were recently installed, December 2014; Photo Aaron Becker.

Arana Gulch pervious concrete multi-use trailNew Arana Gulch multi-use trails are constructed of pervious concrete, December 2014; Photo Aaron Becker.

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