Park Director’s Message on Grand Jury’s Report
The San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury released a report on July 8, 2014 titled “Is Devil’s Slide Trail Safe?” The report had three recommendations to maximize trail use and enhance safety:
- Research improving the emergency communication system currently available
- Extend the current fencing to prohibit public access to Bunker Hill (and replace guardrail with k-rail)
- Re-evaluate allowing horses on the Trail
Public and employee safety is very important to me and very important to San Mateo County Parks Department. We appreciate recommendations from the Grand Jury and are open to suggestions for improvements, especially thosethat promote safety.
The goal of County Parks is to provide quality recreation experiences while minimizing risks as much as is practical.
Outdoor recreation can be inherently risky. Visitors need to heed warnings, obey the rules, be aware of their surroundings, and take responsibility for themselves and their children.
Devil’s Slide Trail is the result of years of planning, which included multi-disciplinary and multi-agency task force input. County Parks knew that changes would need to be madebased on how the public actually uses the trail and that we would need to remain flexible and responsive. District IV – Mid-Coast Park Rangers continue to do an excellent job looking for ways to continuously improve the trail and respond to changes in the environment, whether it is rocks on the trail or vandalized fences.
Some examples of changes Parks staff has made since the trail opened include: adding additional fence sections near Bunker Hill, modifying parking spaces in the lot to accommodate additional cars, and placing additional signs for warnings and closed areas. Staff has also contacted the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office for increased patrol to assist with enforcement of closed areas and to discourage speeding by bicyclists. We are exploring ways to provide better cell phone coverage.
While County Parks added two additional staff to assist the Park District with Devil’s Slide Trail operations, their schedules vary such that a Park Ranger is not always present on the trail between 8 AM – 8 PM. Volunteer Trail Ambassadors assist park staff by walking the trail and making contacts, providing interpretive information, and warning those who are not following rules and posted warnings. Trail Ambassadors report to Park staff after every patrol and carry radios that connect them directly to Park Rangers.
The Parks Department will be responding to the Grand Jury’s Report and Recommendations.