Money is set for Atascadero oak trail

A local conservation group that bought 103 acres of Atascadero woodlands last year now has the grant money to start making the land accessible for hikers.

The Atascadero Land Preservation Society was recently awarded a $300,000 state grant to begin the process of trail construction, developing three trailheads and installing signage to highlight the cultural and natural history of the Three Bridges Oak Preserve, according to a news release from the group.

Immediate plans call for two to three miles of public loop trails for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding off Highway 41 on the city’s westside. Future plans also include a connector trail that will lead to the Los Padres National Forest.

The preservation society bought the $780,000 parcel along Atascadero Creek off western Highway 41 from Davis Land Co. in summer 2011, also with state grants.

The group then applied for its trail-construction grant that fall and was recently awarded the funding.

Ultimately, the grants help the group act as a steward of the land by keeping safe the area’s oak forest and creek habitat.

During the wet season, ducks frequent the area. Other times, there are scrub jays, acorn woodpeckers, hawks, wild pigs and other animals in the area.

There are also willows and fragrant bay trees near the acreage’s midlands with native grasses and blue oaks. In other areas, the land sprawls into twisting patches of dense chaparral.

Trail construction will be headed up by the California Conservation Corps, which is scheduled to begin work in the spring. The project could then be completed as soon as summer 2015, organizers said.

The Atascadero Land Preservation Society is an all-volunteer land conservancy established in 1989. 

For more information, visit www.supportalps.org.