Zipline Opposition Grows on the Monterey Peninsula
By Rita Dalessio
Zip lines, aerial tramways proposed for Jacks Peak County Park continue to draw criticism as more members learn about the routes through this largest remaining pristine Monterey Pine Forest in the world. Hike leaders from Ventana Chapter and California Native Plant Society have led outings along the mapped areas proposed by the Canadian based Ziptrek Ecotours. Hikers can see for themselves the impact the zip line segments, 8-10 large looming towers and criss cross of wires could do to the breathtaking vistas, as well as the majestic trees, raptors and other living things that call Jacks Peak home.
According to Chapter hike leader Mary Gale, both groups took the Madrone Trail, the one most impacted if the zip line were built. Along this route is an abundance of red blossoms on fuchsia-flowered gooseberries that grow down through the canyon. Star Lily (Zigadene) is just coming into blossom with its delicate creamy yellow flowers. Monterey Pines in all sizes and shapes provide lovely shade and a peaceful atmosphere, something hard to achieve, hikers feared, with the proposed activity of the zip line.
To walk this trail, print the map from the County Parks website: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/parks/jackspeak_map.html
At the entrance to the park, turn left and then keep right to the East Picnic Area at the end of the road. At the far end of the parking lot, a wide trail drops down to join the Madrone Trail. The first overhead zip line segments would go roughly from behind the restroom above you to below you near the first junction of the Madrone and Ceanothus Trails. It would then alter course and a second segment would cross back above you about halfway between the first crossing and the junction with the Earl Moser Trail. The third would cross again as you come around a curve, just below the 700’ topo line (visible only on the map) and continue down the canyon below you. The last segments are further down the canyon. Zip riders would walk as they drop down to the last rides.
You can complete your loop via the Rhus and Pine Trails, or take a short cut by turning right at the second junction with the Ceanothus Trail, and watching for narrow, steep Sage Trail (unmarked) which turns left off the Ceanothus Trail and climbs steeply to the Pine Trail, where you can turn right, catch your breath, admire the vistas mentioned above, and return easily to East Picnic Area. The park has about 8-1/2 miles of trails as well as facilities and picnic tables.
The Chapter is working with other environmental groups to defeat this proposal and save the park. An EIR is scheduled to be released later this year. Donations to oppose the zip line at Jacks Peak County Park, should be sent to Ventana Chapter, PO Box 5667, Carmel, CA 93921.
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