After Being Closed To Public For 20 Years, Trail Through MCAS Miramar Will Soon Open
There was some controversy last year when Marines confiscated about 50 bicycles from riders who were on a trail that passed through Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Santee.
Now, that drama has a happy ending: the Marines and riders have worked out a solution to allow bikes on the 3.4-mile Stowe Trail, which skirts the eastern side of the base. For 20 years, bikers have not been allowed on the trail, but that will change next month when the Marines open it to anyone who has a permit.
Kevin Loomis, president of the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, is very excited about the opening because it connects trails on each side of the base, allowing for much longer rides.
"It's like Disneyland," he said. "This is the gateway ride right here. So this little section right here, while it's beautiful, it also connects it all together."
Loomis said the incident when bikes were confiscated made his group and other riders realize they needed to work out a solution. That happened with the help of elected officials including San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman, he said.
"(The Marines are) actually allowing us access to their base, where there is no entry and exit with a posted sentry," Loomis said. "So with that in mind there has to be a permit system that has to be used by every single person going on the base, even for existing Marines."
"MCAS Miramar is working to improve the conditions of the trail, including a large work day scheduled for Saturday, April 1, in conjunction with the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, but the trail will remain closed until conditions are deemed safe for use," he said.
He said the trail has been closed until now because it winds through areas "used by all branches of the military to conduct patrol training, convoy training, rifle and pistol live-fire training, and live explosive ordinance disposal training."
"There were occasions when bikers interrupted this training, even to the extent of walking into live-fire ranges; the decision to enforce the boundaries of the Stowe Trail was made as a matter of public safety," he said. "Since then, MCAS Miramar recognized the high demand for access to the Stowe Trail and worked to implement permit-based access."
Harrison said he doesn't know yet how many permits they'll give out.
Susie Murphy, the San Diego Mountain Biking Association's director, said her group will help the Marines on Saturday to prepare the trail for opening.
"The Marines have installed lots of signage so it's very clear what route people need to stay on, but we're also going to be working on rehabbing trails that need to be shut down that extend into the base," she said.
She said she's looking forward to the new trail, because then she can go on much longer rides, some even stretching more than 100 miles.