The 2.5-mile Heritage Trail alongside Valley Center Road officially opened Thursday with a celebratory ceremony that included a trailhead plaque dedication to the late Brendan McNabb, a County Public Works project manager who played a key role in the trail’s development.
“Speaking as both a resident of Valley Center and a County Supervisor, the Heritage Trail perfectly complements Valley Center Road,” said County Supervisor Bill Horn. “This project is proof that we can build wider, safer roads without diminishing rural environments. I’m looking forward to seeing Valley Center residents and visitors put the trail to good use.”
Heritage Trail is a tree-lined pathway between Woods Valley and Cole Grade roads, bordered by wooden post-and-rail fencing. The trail invites joggers, walkers, wheelchair users, bicyclists and equestrians with interpretive signs, benches, picnic tables, bike racks and hitching posts.
Heritage Trail was conceived as a way to enhance recreation in Valley Center and mitigate impacts from the widening of Valley Center Road. The project also includes landscaped medians in the road.
The Department of Public Works, the Valley Center Trails Association and the Valley Center Community Planning Group collaborated on the Heritage Trail’s design and development. The trail is dedicated to McNabb, the path’s first project manager who was instrumental in securing a $225,000 grant in 2007 from California’s Environmental Enhancement Mitigation program. McNabb passed away in February 2007.
A second, $350,000 grant from the state in 2009 helped build a trail that is more than twice as long as originally envisioned. The TransNet sales tax, County District Five Community Project funds and community donors also funded the approximately $1.8 million trail and landscaped medians.