Environmentalist Steve Stocking writes:
“It was great to see your article on the “shameful lack” of hiking trails in the county. One that you did not mention is along the Calaveras River. That, like most, is used by both bikers and walkers. Back “in the day” I spent many hours trying to get more trails in the county. I represented the Sierra Club at that time, 25 years ago. We had little success other than the Calaveras River trail. The reasons were the same then as now.
“When the railroad line from the Port around through Country Club and past U.O.P. was abandoned we tried to get the city to take that over as a trail. But even though there was money to do this through a “Rails to Trails” program the powers that be were not interested.
“So the money was lost back to the state.
“Even before the 1992 County General Plan I served with others on a Parks and Recreation element revision. There was much pressure on the Supervisors and nothing was implemented. I recall when the railroad from Lodi to San Andreas was abandoned that there was a hearing in Lockeford which I attended. Some of the locals along the line (much of which would have followed highway 12) objected saying that undesirable elements would invade the area (on their bikes) along the route and rob the locals. I also remember that a local vintner objected to possible bike routes in the Acampo area for much the same reason. I tried to tell him about all the bike lanes in the Napa Valley, an area that Woodbridge-Acampo wanted to emulate. He did not seem to get the idea that visitors wanted more to do than to sit in the B & B’s and go out to the tasting rooms.
”Maybe your article signals that the times have changed? In the meantime there are good trails around Hogan Lake and New Melones.
“Come on up!”
I didn’t know funding had been available for a rails-to-trails conversion of the WP line that passed UOP. And we left the money on the table. Disgusting. What we have here is the utter triumph of NIMBYs and leaders too cowed to stand up to the few to benefit the many with public hiking trails.