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San Marcos Trails Damaged In Cocos Fire Reopened

Photo by Alison St John

The hills above San Marcos, showing the trails on the areas burned by last years' Cocos fire, March 6 2015.

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The city of San Marcos has reopened some of the trails running through hillsides burned by last year’s Cocos fire. The refurbished trails are part of an ambitious plan for the hills of North County.

Over the weekend, San Marcos celebrated the reopening of eight miles of trails that were damaged during the Cocos fire last May.

Ron Vinluan, a San Marcos park ranger, said much of the damage to the trails in the hills between San Marcos and the community of San Elijo Hills was caused by bulldozers’ efforts to suppress the flames.

In the last few months, workers have laid down decomposed granite, replaced wooden fences burned by the fires and planted oak saplings where chaparral was destroyed.

Photo by Alison St John

A hillside behind Cal State San Marcos, showing how vegetation is returning 10 months after the 2014 Cocos fire, March 5, 2015.

The hills are showing patches of green where vegetation is growing back in areas of blackened chaparral, but the scars of the fire are still very visible. The chaparral should eventually grow back stronger than it was before the fire, Vinluan said.

The restored trails are just part of a Master Plan to build 104 miles of trails through the canyons and hills of San Marcos, Vinluan said.

“The whole idea for the county is to have our cities interconnected via trail,” he said.

So far, San Marcos has built 64 miles of trails, which will eventually link with walking and biking trails in Vista and Escondido.

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