What is the Briones Pilot Project?
The Briones Pilot Project is a two-year pilot project intended to test a variety of trail management strategies. The pilot project is limited to a portion of Briones Regional Park in the northeast corner of the park. See Project Map. The pilot project was launched on Friday April 21, 2023.
The Briones Pilot Project establishes specific rules limiting trail use within the Pilot Project Zone and for two trail segments adjacent to the Pilot Project Zone, such as hiking only, biking only, or biking/hiking only and direction of travel. On weekends, trail use within the Pilot Project Zone will alternate days between bicycle and equestrian use based on even and odd calendar dates (see table). A key component of the Project is the restoration of illegally built “bootleg” trails to protect natural habitat for wildlife.
Why a Pilot Project?
Over the last decade, the number of visitors to District parks has increased significantly. The rise in numbers of visitors getting out onto trails has increased the potential for conflict between different types of trail users. Although the Park District is seeking to open new parks and provide more trails to reduce crowding on trails, the trail development process takes time. The pilot project will test some new ways to safely share trails and improve the trail experience for all users while protecting habitat, wildlife, and watersheds.
- Protect Resources, Habitat, Wildlife, and Watersheds: The expansion of illegal bootleg trails is a significant issue for Briones and other East Bay regional parks. These user-built trails are often not built to sustainable trail standards with appropriate drainage and avoidance of sensitive natural habitats. Illegal trails can have negative impacts on wildlife and watersheds. The project will include a robust monitoring and patrol program to document and prevent the expansion of bootleg trails in the pilot project zone.
- Restore Natural Habitat by Closing Illegal Bootleg Trails in the Pilot Project Zone: A primary objective of the project is to engage with the trail user community to join park staff in restoring natural habitats already impacted by illegal bootleg trails.
- Enhance the Trail User Experience: The trail management strategies being tested during the two-year pilot project are intended to allow users to safely enjoy trails by providing specific days when certain user types are limited to create more space on trails.
- Increase Volunteer Engagement in Trail Maintenance and Habitat Restoration: Community volunteers play an important role in helping park staff monitor and maintain park trails. The pilot project provides volunteer opportunities for trail users to join in trail maintenance and habitat restoration activities. Sign up for Dig Days.
What do I need to know?
The following special rules apply ONLY to trails within the pilot zone.
Pilot Zone Schedule & Restrictions
- Monday-Friday everyone will be allowed to use designated trails within the pilot project zone. Note that for your safety, Trails (B1 - B4), marked yellow on the map, are for bikers (downhill direction of travel) ONLY.
- On EVEN-numbered weekend days, horses will be allowed to use trails open to equestrian use within the pilot project zone.
- On ODD-numbered weekend days, bikes will be allowed to use all trails open to bike use within the pilot project zone.
- Specific trails in the pilot zone will be designated for bike use ONLY and will be limited to a downhill direction of travel ONLY. These trails will be signed as such at both the top entry point and the bottom exit. These trails are recommended for expert riders only and are not regularly maintained by park staff. On EVEN numbered weekend days, bikes are prohibited from using any trails including bike-only trails.
Pilot Zone Bypass
Bikes and equestrians wishing to access the rest of the park during restricted weekend days can still use the Alhambra Creek staging area to access Tavan Trail, Orchard Trail and Toyon Canyon Trail to bypass the pilot project zone instead of having to go all the way to the Bear Creek entrance. See FAQs below for more information.
Trails marked for closure and restoration will be appropriately signed and monitored for compliance and these closures will be strictly enforced. The restoration of these closed trails is a critical objective of the project and is important to the protection and maintenance of wildlife habitat areas in the park.
Trail Use Data:
As part of this pilot project, the District is collecting quantitative and qualitative data on trail use. The following links display the responses to the Briones Pilot Project 5-minute survey that was administered from September 10, 2023, through November 12, 2023. The responses have been arranged by user type as reported in Question #1 with links to responses from pedestrians, bikers and equestrians respectively.
Briones Pilot Project DIG DAYS!
Volunteer to improve select trails and restore habitat.
Sign up here.
Informational Meeting & Open House
Saturday, February 25, 2023, 10am-noon
Alhambra Creek Staging Area
If you have any questions that are not covered above, please contact email@example.com.
- CEQA - the Briones Pilot is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Read the Notice of Exemption.
- Issuance of Temporary Rules and Regulations related to the Briones Trail Pilot Project (PDF)
- Navigate through this story map to learn how trails are used in the Park District and what goes into building them.