Status of Property Acquisition to Complete the Backbone Trail

By Ed Stauss

The National Park Service announced on September 20, 2011, that it has acquired one of the three remaining pieces of land necessary to complete the 65-mile Backbone Trail. The recently acquired five-acre property is along the Etz Meloy Motorway, and just west of a popular lookout ridge. The lookout's 360-degree view of the ocean, mountains and inland valleys offers a good hiking destination accessible from the Encinal Canyon Trailhead on Mulholland Hwy.

After passing the junction with the lookout spur, trail users are cautioned not to continue more than one-third mile west onto private property which is on the Etz Meloy Motorway.

The accompanying NPS map (pdf) shows the location of the two remaining parcels of private property as well as the newly-acquired piece.

Creation of the Backbone Trail has been a 25-year endeavor, involving the tireless work of citizen trail building groups like the Sierra Club, Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, elected officials, and the National Park Service, California State Parks, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

"We are so close to completion," said Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Superintendent Woody Smeck. "Through the relentless efforts of the Los Angeles community and the tireless support of our elected officials, we have slowly but surely pieced together one of the most significant and treasured trails in Southern California."

Link to NPS map (pdf)

Former property owner Helen Kee meets with Deputy Superintendent Lorenza Fong and Ranger Jim Richardson (NPS Photo)
The newest Backbone Trail acquisition along the Etz Meloy Motorway (NPS Photo)