Backbone Trail Opens in Pacific Palisades

At a morning ceremony at Will Rogers State Historic Park on June 4, the 67-mile Backbone Trail was officially opened after 40 years of property negotiations. The trail through the Santa Monica Mountains runs from Pacific Palisades to Point Mugu.

The day before, the Backbone was named one of six new National Recreation Trails by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis.

04-backbone trail map

According to the National Park Service statement, “Because overnight camping options are minimal at this point, the National Park Service recommends hiking the trail in sections. The long-term vision is to create a small number of backcountry tent sites that would be available by permit only.” Hikers who initially wanted to make the trek had to skirt around private property. A coalition of public agencies was finally able to acquire more than 180 parcels valued at more than $100 million. Arnold Schwarzenegger and fitness entrepreneur Betty Weider donated a 40-acre property in Zuma Canyon, which was one of the key links to complete the trail.

Representative Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) secured federal funds that enabled the National Park Service to acquire the King Gillette Ranch and trail links in Zuma and Trancas canyons.

The trail is owned not only by the Na- tional Park Service but also by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation Conservation Au- thority, according to the L.A. Times.

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