RANCHO SANTA FE — It has been said that Rancho Santa Fe has one of the best trail systems in the country. Could be. With the miles and miles of trails running through the community, urban San Diego is out of sight, out of mind for horseback riders, joggers, walkers and hikers.
It is the job of the Trails and Recreation Committee to keep it that way, said Jerry Yahr, chairman of the group. He said in addition to trails, the committee oversees the various sports fields, parks and open space within the Covenant.
“The committee is important because the trails throughout Rancho Santa Fe are a significant part of the community and an asset enjoyed by horseback riders, hikers, joggers, walkers,” he said. “The trails have a broad appeal and are one of the reasons why people buy in Rancho Santa Fe as to have access to them.”
“We have a number of loops within the community you can do on trail rides that are 10-mile loops or 15-mile loops or much longer. It’s beautiful countryside, not just riding along the street, it goes into natural preserve areas,” he said.
Yahr is a jogger and runs the trails on a weekly basis. He and his wife walk their dog on the trails every day, he said.
The rest of the group also keeps their eyes on the trails because they all use them.
“We have a mixture of horseback riders, a couple of us are runners. Some use them for walking. We see everything,” he said.
Although the Rancho Santa Fe staff does the actual, day-to-day work of maintaining the trails, it is the job of the committee to provide oversight, he said.
“We have to make sure they are properly mulched, fixed after rains, bushes trimmed and properly taken care of because they get a lot of use from horses which are heavy animals,” he said. “We are also responsible for obtaining new trail easements or right-of-ways to create new trails.”
Looking for new connections when property is sold or subdivided or going through an upgrade is also a part of their job.
“We work with those homeowners to see if they want to work with us,” Yahr said. “Most people are trail users themselves. If it makes sense and does not affect the property in a negative way, they are accommodating.”
He said the committee has a list of possible new connections and works toward the point to correcting the route when a trail is forced into the street for a ways.
The seven-member committee is also responsible for all parks and open space within the Covenant, like the Arroyo property and sports parks like Richardson Field which involves not only maintenance, but making sure they are fairly scheduled with all those who want to use them.
“All are natural grass fields so we have to make sure they are properly cared for,” he said.
The fields are used by all kinds of sports such as youth baseball, soccer and Lacrosse and by adults on Sunday during the very popular soccer games.