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Permits Required on Trails


If you plan to spend the day on the trails in a Los Angeles County park this weekend, you'll need something besides sunscreen and a water bottle--you'll need a permit.

After much political wrangling, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has finally begun enforcing the controversial fee system adopted last fall. Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians are now required to buy a $23 annual permit--or a $6 three-day pass--for the right to wander through the 330-mile network of trails.

This weekend, between 70 and 90 county safety officers will be out looking for the passes, and those without them will be given a $54 citation. Those under 16 are exempt.

Although the ordinance actually went into effect Jan. 1, enforcement was put on hold for three months so the supervisors could discuss compromise measures to appease critics of the plan.

By early April, enforcement was delayed further as the safety officers prepared, with all other sworn county personnel, for the possibility of civil unrest as a result of the federal trial of four Los Angeles police officers in the Rodney G. King beating case, said Vic Stratman, trails information coordinator for the county Parks & Recreation Department.

"Now they're back to their official duties," Stratman said. "This weekend will be the first in which we'll start cracking down."

When the enforcement program is fully staffed within the next several weeks, officers will patrol parks and trails on foot, bike and on horseback, Stratman said.

The permits are available at some county parks and recreation offices, at parks and at designated stores throughout the county. Anyone seeking information on the passes can call the parks department at (818) 855-5384.

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