The 6,142-acre La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve consists of working ranch land, grasslands, and forests near the town of La Honda. In 2012, after a public participation process, the District completed a 30-year use and management Master Plan whose goals are to balance the preservation of viable agriculture, cultural history, and the natural environment with public education and low-intensity recreation.
Public access is currently available in two unconnected parts of the Preserve.
- Upper La Honda Creek features 3.5 miles of shorter sections of trail through forest and redwoods. Due to parking limitations, a no-fee permit is required for access to Upper La Honda Creek.
- Lower La Honda Creek offers 6 miles of trail through open rolling grasslands. Trails run through an active grazing operation, and visitors may encounter cattle and ranchers. A no-fee permit is required for equestrian parking at the Event Center; all other visitors park at the Sears Ranch Road lot.
In December 2017, La Honda Creek opened for the first phase of public access. New features include: six miles of trail for hiking and horseback riding, a 20-space parking area, trailhead and vault toilet.
This project is currently on hold while parking options are evaluated. Visit the Working Group page for more information.
The Red Barn site at La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve is approximately 8 acres and is located off of Highway 84 between Highway 35/Skyline Boulevard and the Town of La Honda. It is a prominent feature of the preserve and an important local landmark visible from the highway. A conceptual design for the Red Barn visitor area was developed through a public process beginning in fall 2016 through summer 2018.
A Public Meeting was held in La Honda on June 12, 2018 to present information about the Red Barn Public Access Site Plan and to receive and consider public comments on the project. Following the public comment period the Board of Directors voted to direct the General Manager to hold off on the Red Barn Public Access Site Plan in order to evaluate the following parking options for consistency with the project goals and objectives:
- Expansion of the Sears Ranch Road Parking Area, including equestrian parking spaces
- Development of a new parking area at the former Driscoll Ranch Event Center
- Other feasible options to access the central and northern areas of the La Honda Creek Preserve
In addition, the Board directed staff to develop options for establishing an advisory working committee to evaluate parking options. The La Honda Public Access Working Group was formed by the Board on June 26, 2019.
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June 12 Presentation
Red Barn Area Project Goals
The preserve Master Plan and project planning process developed the following goals for the Red Barn Area:
- Establish new public access in the central portion of La Honda Open Space Preserve.
- Design elements to reflect the rural character of the site and the Red Barn.
- Provide safe public access
- Balance public access with grazing activities.
- Include amenities that facilitate environmental education.
- Protect scenic views of and from the site.
- Construct by Fall 2022.
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The La Honda Creek Master Plan includes:
- Creating over nine miles of new multi-use trails (including bicycles) and over 16 miles of new hiking and equestrian trails;
- Implementing extensive resource management projects to improve wildlife habitat, restore creeks, and reduce wildfire risk;
- Reintroducing cattle grazing to the northern portion of the Preserve, including the Red Barn area.
The Master Plan establishes a long-term vision for the Preserve to guide future decisions affecting use and management of the land for the next 30 years. The Master Plan is scheduled to be implemented in four phases over the next 30 years. Proposed actions are prioritized based on their relative importance, critical need, and sequencing (when certain projects must precede others) to implement the District’s vision for the Preserve.
|Aug 2012||Master Plan Finalized: The Board certified the environmental documents and approved the Master Plan.|
|2012-2017||Phase I Implementation: Phase I trails and Sears Ranch parking area. High-priority water quality protection projects, wildfire response plan, initiate Red Barn site plan.|
|Dec 2017||Lower La Honda Creek opens to public access|
|2018-2022||Complete Red Barn Site Plan and environmental review (placed on hold 6/12/18 - alternate sites to be evaluated)
Phase II Implementation: Trail connections, creek restoration, bridge replacement.
|2023-2032||Phase III Implementation (tentative)|
|2033-2042||Phase IV Implementation (tentative)|