Counting Our Way to More Trails!
2015 marked the seventh consecutive year that Callander staff volunteered to help the City of San Jose with their annual trail user count.
Each year, the City conducts an annual count and shares this information with funding agencies when applying for grants to build trails. The data adds a greater level of detail to their applications than other agencies competing for these limited funds and as a result, the City has been very successful in winning grants and getting trails built! According to their website, they now have 56 miles of trails, with an ultimate goal of 100 miles by 2022. Callander staff have played a significant role by helping out for the past seven years! And why not? It is hard to imagine a greener, more sustainable cause than promoting the use of trails. It’s definitely one of the ‘feel good’ opportunities of the year, as volunteer events go. 44 more miles of trails by 2022? It’s an ambitious goal, but they might just make it if the economy holds! It would be pretty amazing.
Here are some thoughts and photos shared by the Callander staff that volunteered at this year’s count! We hope to see new faces on the trail next year!
Mark Slichter: Returning to the location of my count from last year was interesting in ways I hadn’t anticipated. What a difference a year makes! Only last year it was not the best place to pass the time. But as the old Del Monte warehouses and canning facilities are giving way to high density housing, parks and trails the area is transitioning. This neighborhood is exactly what they are referring to when they talk about gentrification. Last year it was all just folks on a mission; getting to work. This year there were folks walking their dogs. Maybe next year I’ll see runners out on a club run, people with strollers and independent groups of kids going to school? Stay tuned, anything is possible! Go trails, GO!
Marie Mai: It’s always been a great excuse to get out of the office and reconnect with nature for a few hours, while helping further the cause for trail development and funding in the South Bay. What’s different this year? A lot of the riparian and creekside vegetation appeared really stressed, and some appeared to be dying, no doubt due to the lack of water. The scene just reiterated the need to conserve (and maybe do a rain dance for El Nino to come this winter!).
Nate Ritchie: This was my first year volunteering for the trail count, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I arrived on bicycle to get a firsthand experience as a trail user. What a great way to travel! My shift ran through the lunch hour and there was lots of activity to behold. Overall, I was amazed at the quantity of people and modes of transit – waking, running, cycling, skateboards, rollerblades, scooters, strollers, and segways. It seems there are endless ways to enjoy these transportation corridors.
Tristan Williamson: As a regular bike commuter, I will often go out of my way to ride this section of trail. I observed, for the second year, a lot of different people using the trail here: from a cross-country team doing practice, to people getting out of work, to dog-walkers and skateboarders.