The Tale of the Trail Machine

CEA’s president Ernie Smith and treasurer Cindy McKievick met with CRSPIA board members and State Park representative Nedra Martinez during their July 2012 monthly meeting regarding the Sweco trail machine. Areas which were discussed included:
• Clarification on the purchase history of the Sweco trail machine
• It’s use at other State park location(s) other then Cuyamaca State Park
• It’s current lack of use within Cuyamaca State Park - SP employees and/or volunteers
• CRSPIA’s stand on large capital expenditures for State Park equipment.
After the Cedar fire of 2003, local and regional users of Cuyamaca State Park wanted to help restore public use trails as soon as possible, and to provide a means to maintain the use of those trails in the future. A private group of individuals spear headed by Bernie Martin and others raised over $50K to purchase a Sweco trail machine, essentially a custom mini-bulldozer designed for building trails. After the money was raised, CRSPIA initiated the purchase of a new Sweco and also obtained factory training for it’s volunteer operators in it’s safe usage. During this evolution, a State Park employee discovered an underused Sweco machine at another park. A negotiation occurred involving a swap that included CRSPIA purchasing another piece of equipment (not the original Sweco) for that other State park use, thus allowing Cuyamaca to “purchase” the used Sweco machine.

• To dispel a popular rumor, during the transfer of the Sweco machine to Cuyamaca State Park, the machine never left possession of the state.
• The trail machine was safely operated by trained volunteers to reroute the California Riding and Hiking, parts of the East Side trail and the initial work on the Cold Spring reroute with a 100% safety record.

CRSPIA has no control over the trail machine nor it’s use or lack there of. During the board meeting, it was noted that a donor was willing to donate a truck for volunteer use, CRSPIA declined the offer for the same reasons regarding the trail machine. Once in State park hands, the truck is now subject to the whims of the greater California State Park system.

No anger should be directed toward CRSPIA, they were as naive as the rest of us that donated money for this machine. California State Parks dictates how, when and with what type of equipment is to be used and by whom. CEA board members will continue to try to engage California State Park representatives in a dialog to facilitate the use of the trail machine to its full potential and to preserve the trails for all to use, safely.

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