Monday, August 4, 2014

(San Mateo County) Grand jury focuses on new trail

Recommendations include banning equestrians at Devil’s Slide

July 17, 2014
Half Moon Bay Review
By Julia Reis

Devil’s Slide Trail would be safer if San Mateo County Parks banned equestrians, improved its emergency communication system and installed more fencing and K-rail in the Bunker Hill vicinity.
Those are the findings of a recently released San Mateo County civil grand jury report titled, “Is the New Devil’s Slide Trail Safe?” It delves into how the rock slides inherent to the area, along with the trail’s location along a cliff edge, could lead to emergency situations made potentially more perilous by a lack of reliable cellphone coverage or emergency call boxes. County Parks considered installing a call box, but the $80,000 price tag was deemed cost-prohibitive.
The grand jury also recommends that better fencing be installed around Bunker Hill to prevent trespassing and that guardrail in a cliff area adjacent to current fencing be replaced with K-rail. K-rail would serve as a safety improvement because children could crawl under the guardrail and access the cliff, the report states.
The report also recommended that County Parks consider disallowing horses on the trail, citing slippery terrain due to mist from fog and a lack of parking for trucks towing horse rigs. Mark Hawthorne, who serves as president of the San Francisco Horsemen’s Association and boards horses in Moss Beach, said he agrees with the recommendation.
No equestrians have been spotted on the trail since it opened, said San Mateo County Parks Director Marlene Finley. She added that emergency call boxes are still cost-prohibitive, but she recently met with AT&T engineers to look at improving cellphone coverage on the trail and in the Devil’s Slide tunnel. Bunker Hill fencing has also already been improved since the trail opened.
County Parks will now respond to the recommendations through the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

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