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Officials Try to Fill Two Gaps in Trail, but It May Take Years

May 09, 1991|MYRON LEVIN

Two gaps remain in the Backbone Trail, and state and federal parks officials say it may be two to three years before the 15 to 17 missing miles are completed.

The smaller one divides the eastern portion of the trail, between the Dead Horse Trailhead in Topanga State Park and Saddle Peak.

California Department of Parks and Recreation officials are awaiting Coastal Commission approval to build a steep section of the trail through Hondo Canyon to Saddle Peak Road. Four miles of trail will fill the gap, said Frank Padilla, district resource ranger for state parks.

Eventually, park officials hope to install a traffic light or an overpass or underpass to help hikers and equestrians across Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

The longer 11-mile gap between Kanan Dume Road and Circle X Ranch will be harder to fill.

The National Park Service, which is responsible for that segment, owns only about 4.5 miles of the route.

The agency must still acquire 23 parcels on the trail and about 25 other adjacent properties to prevent incompatible development. And not all of the owners are willing sellers, according to Dave Gackenbach, superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

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