“We see this as a fluid planning document . . . that we could update in the future,” said Weinstein, who has largely coordinated the effort to create the plan since he was hired by the city nine months ago.
But the driving force behind the plan and all of its proposals, Weinstein said, came from the residents who attended eight public workshops to devise and suggest trail layouts.
During the workshops, they huddled over maps, drew trails and marked up their individual wish lists for three sections of city open space.
Each workshop was attended by about 20 people, and some of the most eager participants also hit the existing trails to refine their maps and even provided satellite imaging of area mountains, Weinstein said.
“They really got behind this,” he said.
The plan focuses on the city’s three major open-space areas in the San Rafael Hills, San Gabriel Mountains and Verdugo Mountains.
Projects highlighted in a presentation to the council Tuesday include a mountain bike skills course in the San Rafael Hills and a new trail through the Oakmont Five, a 240-acre preserve in the Verdugo Mountains.
But while the potential for more outdoor recreation opportunities in the city was unanimously touted by the council, the expansion of public access in area hills also comes with heightened safety risk for hikers and the increased chance of human-caused brush fires, Councilman Bob Yousefian said.
“My recommendation to Mr. Chapjian is working with the Sierra Club . . . to create a good core of volunteers,” Yousefian said.
Volunteers will likely be crucial in helping park rangers with routine patrol of trails and trail heads to aid distressed hikers or help minimize illicit activity, he said.
But ultimately, the prospect of increased access to mountain and hillside trails won the day.
“This is just a fantastic opportunity,” Councilman Frank Quintero said. “. . . These resources in those Verdugo Hills are not unlike beach-front property.”
Bill Weissman, a La Crescenta resident who frequently hikes in Deukmejian Wilderness Park, applauded city staffers’ efforts to involve the public in the process.
“We’re very lucky in Glendale to have 5,000 acres of open space,” Weissman said.
“I did the math, and that’s about eight square miles of open space within this city, but we need trails to get to it and explore it.”
RYAN VAILLANCOURT covers business, politics and the foothills. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.