Trail Management Plan on Indefinite Hold

The National Park Service (NPS), California State Parks (CSP), Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC), and the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority (MRCA) have placed the SMMNRA TMP on indefinite hold.  NPS has moved away from broad, general plans and associated required NEPA compliance, as these plans could take decades to implement and do not have allocated resources.  NPS is now moving toward focused, project-specific trail plans that can be accomplished in a 1–5 year window. Given the interconnectivity of the properties within the SMMNRA, it is not practical to continue the planning process without the full participation of all partnering organizations.   The SMMNRA TMP will be placed on hold until such time when all participating agencies can collectively prioritize and provide the necessary resources to complete the plan.  CSP will be identifying and prioritizing project specific plans to include change-in-use and unauthorized trails as needs are determined.

Questions and comments for California State Parks can be sent to

Go to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area website where you can “email the park” regarding questions and comments for the National Park Service.  Alternatively question and comments for the National Park Service can be sent to

Santa Monica Mountains NRA Trails
Santa Monica Mountains NRA Trails - Hikers
Santa Monica Mountains NRA Trails on Horse back


The National Park Service, California State Parks, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority had been preparing a Trail Management Plan (TMP) for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). Once completed the TMP would establish the overall vision for future development and management of the SMMNRA trail network. Based on identified desired conditions for natural, cultural, and recreational resources, the TMP would prescribe a comprehensive plan for circulation, access, and allowable trail uses for trails throughout the national recreation area.

The purpose of the 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 cultural resources would 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

Data Collection
The first stage of the planning process was 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 was then used to evaluate road and trail conditions and associated effects to natural and cultural resources.  

User Input
Additional data was gathered through a survey of park users. Data included information on users’ current forms of recreation in the recreation area and ideas for improving existing and developing new trails and facilities. These surveys were 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. 

View the full Visitor Survey and Visitor Count