After reviewing the proposed trail, which would link the Terra Linda-Sleepy Hollow Divide and the Loma Alta open space preserves, the county's environmental coordinator has issued a report saying "no significant effects would occur" to the environment if the trail is built.
That assessment avoids the need for a more intricate environmental impact report that would delay work on the trail.
The county planned the new path - named the "680 Trail" for the elevation of the 2.
The fence effectively cut off the popular Luiz Ranch Fire Trail that linked the open space preserves.
The new trail would be open to hikers, bikers and equestrians and bypass parts of the Luiz Ranch and Loma Alta fire roads that are on Hetfield's land and would instead pass over San Domenico School property.
The trail would be about 5 feet wide, with other sections up to 8 feet wide to allow for passing, or to act as pullouts where people can rest.
"It's been over two years that we haven't had access to those two preserves," said Tom Boss, a bike advocate and director of the newly formed Marin Trail Stewards.
He expects his group will write a letter in support of the county's environmental review, issued last Friday, but it will still be awhile before work begins.
"Construction is not going to happen this year," said Ron Miska, deputy director of the Marin County Open Space District.
The county is in the process of obtaining needed state environmental reviews and permits, then would start construction in late summer 2011 and open it to hikers in October 2011 and to other users the following spring.
That is, unless, their are legal objections to the environmental assessment. There is a 30-day comment period on the environmental review.
The Marin Conservation League, which had concerns about previous versions of the trail, including questions about potential soil damage, is reviewing the county's determination.
"We are going to be scrutinizing it really closely, in particularly in regard to the soils on the watershed," said Nona Dennis, president of the conservation league. "This new alignment does follow the fire roads a little more closely and we like it better, but it still goes across some pretty special and pristine native grasslands."
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED
The environmental review of the new "680 Trail" may be viewed in Room 308 of the Marin County Civic Center or online at www.co.marin.ca.us/pos/MCOSD/os_680_Trail_Planning.asp. Comments should be mailed by Aug. 14 to Tim Haddad, environmental coordinator, 3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 308, San Rafael, 94903.
Contact Mark Prado via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org