Castle Rock State Park
The Castle Rock State Park (SP) staff is currently developing a management plan for the park’s system of roads and trails. The park has a number of official roads and trails available for use, including the northern most trailhead for the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail - a 30-mile, three-day trail hike.
The Castle Rock SP General Plan (2000) recognized that "some of the old roadways now serve as trails and are the primary facilities that exist for the public’s use. Random off-trail use is causing soil erosion, with loss of vegetation and degradation of wildlife habitat. Therefore, existing activities and potential use areas needed to be evaluated relative to resource significance, and guidelines developed for appropriate management and use. Castle Rock State Park is also interconnected within a larger system of regional trails and open space recreation areas. State park trails connect to regional trails in the Sanborn-Skyline County Park, Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve, San Lorenzo Valley Water District and Big Basin Redwoods State Park, where they extend to the Pacific Ocean and to the San Francisco Bay."
The General Plan further states that "A Unit Trails Plan should be prepared that strives to create opportunities for visitors to enjoy the unique and diverse topography, geology, biotic communities, and scenic views at Castle Rock State Park. The actual location, distance, and use of future trails should be governed by this plan."
The purpose of the Road and Trail Management Plan is to provide specific direction for the long term construction, maintenance, and management of the roads and trails system. Specifically, the plan will:
• Determine which roads and trails should be maintained, removed, and/or enhanced.
• Identify which of the unofficial trails should be removed and which should be made official.
• Determine the types of trail uses (e.g. hiking, biking, and/or equestrian) that are appropriate on each road and trail.
• Identify those roads and trails that lead to damage of the natural and cultural resources of the park, for example a trail that passes through an area of sensitive natural resources, and need to be re-routed and/or reconstructed.
• Identify trail connections necessary to create trail loops and/or connect to trails outside the park.
• Identify opportunities for new trails, where appropriate
• Identify necessary trail facilities, such as restrooms, parking, and drinking water
Castle Rock Draft Trails Plan (2010)
A committee of knowledgeable citizen volunteers from the several user and interest groups, as well as park staff, formed the Castle Rock Citizens Trails Committee in 2000. This group worked with park staff and stakeholders between 2000-2010 to develop the Castle Rock State Park Draft Trails Plan. The information and recommendations contained in this draft plan will be extensively evaluated during in this planning effort.
The first stage of the planning process is to evaluate the existing condition of the roads and trails in the park and the permitted uses of each, and develop an inventory of each road and trail feature and condition. This information is then used to evaluate road and trail conditions and associated effects to natural and cultural resources. A variety of documents is developed to describe and illustrate these inventories and assessments, which can be viewed via the links below.
Existing Conditions Maps
• Vicinity Map
• Existing Roads and Trails Map
• Erosion Severity Map
• Road and Trail Structure Problem Severity Map
• Potential Significance to Water Resources and Drainage Structure Condition Map
• Landscape Features Map
• Sustainability and General Recommendations Map
Additional data is being gathered through a survey of park users. Data includes information on users’ current forms of recreation in the park and ideas for improving existing and developing new trails and facilities. These surveys are being conducted during different seasons of the year to solicit input from a variety of trail users. In addition to the survey, meetings were held with various user groups, such as equestrian and mountain biking clubs, to collect data and input on plan proposals. A summary of user comments gathered to date is available here. Additional information will be added as public outreach efforts continue.
Proposals to change the types of uses permitted on a trail (i.e., proposals to add biking and/or equestrians to a trail) will be evaluated using the process described in the related Program Environmental Impact Report, available here. A flow chart of this process is available here. The form that will be used to evaluate each proposed Change-In-Use at Castle Rock SP is available here.