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Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Beginnings


The Santa Monica Mountains contains historic trails originally made by the Chumash Indians and later improved by the Spaniards.  However, encroaching urban sprawl, particularly in 1972 with the construction of Kanan Dume Road, has destroyed major portions of these trails and continues to threaten their existence and use.

The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council was born out of the concern and need to preserve these historic trails.  Through our commitment to the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains, some of these historic trails now link local, state, and federal parks, creating a vast recreational resource that extends from Griffith Park in Los Angeles to Point Mugu in Ventura County.

The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council coordinates with various government agencies in efforts toward development and preservation of the trail system; assists in negotiations with property owners regarding specific trail alignments; promotes public awareness; and builds, monitors and maintains trails. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council works to protect and enhance the trail system that serves as a recreational, educational and historical resource for generations to enjoy.

The original founders of the SMMTC are the following people:

  • Dick Hubbard
  • Grant Gerson
  • Darrell Readmond
  • Peno Dwinger
  • Frank Hendler
  • Ann Sonderland
  • Dick Hartley

Dick Hubbard is still a member. Darrell Readmond passed away in December, 2005, and Grant Gerson passed away on December 6, 2012. The others have been deceased for more than 5 years.

The organization was founded by a group of local horsemen who saw that their trails were in danger of being lost to development.

Darrell Readmond was the first with the vision and foresight to see the Backbone Trail developed across the crest of the mountains. To that end, he worked for years with others like Warren Jessup to draw the trail on the maps that they had at the time.

5 Presidents of the Trails Council – early 1990's:
Ted DePass, Linda Palmer, Ruth Gerson, Leonora Kirby, Dick Hubbard

Presidents of the SMMTC have been:

  • Richard Hubbard: 1972 - 1980
  • Linda Palmer: 1981 - 1994
  • Ted Depass: 1995
  • Lenore Kirby: 1996 - 1997
  • Ruth Gerson: 1998 - present

Linda passed away in June 2013, and Ted passed away in August 2013.

Below charts the beginnings of the Trails Council.

  1. Formed 1969
  2. First Board of Directors
    1. Chairman: Dick Hubbard, Teacher
    2. Vice Chairman: Frank Hendler, Architect-builder
    3. Secretary: Ann Sunderland
    4. Peno Dwinger, Trail Coordinator Equestrian Trails Inc.
    5. Grant Gerson, Private Recreation Camp owner
    6. Dick Hartley, Landscape Architech
    7. Darrell Readmond, Cabinet Maker
  3. Early Projects and Goals
    1. Kanan Dume Road - impact on trails
    2. Zuma Ridge Trail Park
    3. National Recreation designation for the Santa Monica Mountains - SMMNRA
    4. Ridge Trail (later became the Backbone Trail) - first map by Darrell Readmond with assistance from Warren Jessep, used by State Parks in designing existing trail
    5. Build membership to include all trail users as a broad coalition
  4. Early Projects
    1. San Fernando Valley Bicycle Advisior Group (BAG)
    2. Bicycle lane plan for Westlake Village (later LA City BAG)
    3. Aided Chatsworth in developing trail along flood plain (DeSoto)
    4. Frank Hendler instrumental in creation of Westwood to Sea Bike Lane
    5. Inclusion of Simi Hills area in SMMNRA
  5. Goals not completed
    1. Zuma Ridge Trail Park
    2. Bicycle use of LA River Flood Control Area as bike path
    3. Adequate funding by congress for SMMNRA
    4. Conversion of Nike site (top of Piuma Road) and Coast Guard site (Kanan Dume Road) for public recreation use