With the help of non-profit organizations, members of the public and community groups, OC Parks reopened the Emerald Canyon Trail at the end of June. The trail was closed due to extensive damage sustained after heavy rains in 2010. The trail reconstruction included constructing a 60-foot bridge over a landslide area.
The project is a partnership between OC Parks, as the land owner, and Irvine Ranch Conservancy and Laguna Canyon Foundation, as non-profit support groups focused on the protection and preservation of the open space. Working together with community groups such as SHARE Mountain Bike Club and other volunteers from the public, the challenging project made constant progress over a six-month period.
Once at the work-site, the components had to be partially assembled and then hoisted across the gully on a suspended cable system. The final assembled bridge will weigh in at just over 10,000 pounds, and will be capable of handing equestrians and light maintenance equipment loads of up to 4,000 pounds.
Vegetation along the closed trail was overgrown and needed to be heavily trimmed, to create a final width of 36 inches. Crews also elevated the trail in sections that needed a natural drain to channel runoff away from the trail surface. A wooden bridge was constructed over a large section of trail that had eroded away.
Volunteer opportunities may still be available as the trail gets used and needs maintenance. For information on volunteering, visit LetsGoOutside.org orLagunaCanyon.org. For more information about Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, go to OCParks.com.