This guest commentary, written by our Associate Director Jeanne Sparks, was published in the Santa Maria Times on Feb. 14, 2022: https://santamariatimes.com/opinion/guest/tell-supervisors-to-extend-santa-maria-river-levee-trail-to-guadalupe-guest-commentary/article_e9ea7a09-e204-5c74-96d2-b7752e81782c.html
It’s a travesty that we don’t have a trail on the levee from Santa Maria to Guadalupe when it had been proposed more than 30 years ago, but it’s not too late.
I was working in the Fifth District Supervisor’s Office in 1992 when the City of Santa Maria proposed moving forward with a plan to establish a levee bikeway that was in the county regional plan. It would take coordination between the county and the city since the county owned and maintained the levee and the city would provide access to the public.
The county’s Flood Control District worried about liability, but that issue eventually was resolved.
What was not resolved was the opposition from farmers who feared crops would be spoiled since farm fields are next to the levee, and they believed having a trail on the levee would attract people and dogs to romp in their fields.
However, their argument does not hold water. People and dogs can already access their fields. And many bikeways and walkways already run beside farm fields in the Santa Maria Valley because farm fields are ubiquitous in our valley.