Vonne Barnes, Rancho San Clemente Community Association board president
The Ridge Route Trail (RRT), the city recreation and utility service road that runs directly through Cal Fire’s “Very Severe High Fire Zone” in Rancho San Clemente, is in critical need of Signs and Trail Fencing.
Advertised in the city’s quarterly Recreation Magazine, bike and trail map and website, the RRT attracts many residents and visitors who enjoy breathtaking ocean and coastal views. Others ride bikes along the trail to get to other city recreational amenities such as Ralphs Skate Court or Richard T. Steed Park.
The RRT also provides sole access to vital utilities: SDG&E, Verizon and AT&T cell towers, alarm systems, recycled water, radio communications, ALERTWildfire cameras, reservoirs and more. Many service providers, contractors and vendors use the RRT to manage the utilities stationed along the route.
RRT use (legal and illegal) includes hiking, biking, jogging, dog-walking, motorcycles, vehicles, ATV’s, camping, cooking, smoking, transient activity, vandalism, trailblazing, police, OCFA and utilities.
Drought, dry brush and winds have accelerated the number and severity of fires along the RRT, threatening lives, homes, businesses, utilities and open space. Recurring fires in Camp Pendleton and the San Mateo Campground are also a constant threat.
Signs posting fire and safety (guidelines), permitted use and enforcement may reduce incidents of fires and other unauthorized activities. Warnings of sharp, blind turns, steep grades and speed limits are also needed, as well as rules for e-bikes.
Trail Fencing along the RRT, as implemented along the Beach Trail, Sea Summit and Outlets at San Clemente, will similarly identify RRT boundaries to deter users from trespassing into fire zones, utilities and other unpermitted areas.
As use of the RRT continues to increase along with the demand for recreational opportunities and utility services along the route, Rancho San Clemente Community Association respectfully requests that the city make it a priority to agendize fire and safety signs and trail fencing along the RRT.