The latest expansion of trails in Catalina Island is going to offer visitors many options to cut a path through the neglected backcountry of the island. The expansion of the trails started on October 14, with Trekking Catalina, which is a plan to add about twenty-seven miles new trails in the backcountry of the island.
The new trails will be a bonus to the visitors who would love to take advantage of the 42,000 acres of land. “The island has a good percentage of hiking trails on it, but it’s a tough island to hike,” said Tony Budrovich, President and CEO of the Catalina Island Conservancy.
It is reported that the new pathways will be scattered along existing trails of the island making smaller loops out of the important hiking trails. This expansion is the largest since 2009, when the Trans-Catalina Trail opened, which is thirty-seven miles in length.
Budrovich said that this will be the last major trail expansion in Catalina Island. In addition to the new trails, Catalina Island Conservancy has funding to install five restrooms in open space for tourists and they are planning to increase the number of restrooms to eight in the future. If everything goes as planned, the trail will be open by next summer.
The trail expansion was a common suggestion from the visitors, as people from Twin Harbors or Avalon wished to have a way to enjoy other parts of the island without going for a tiring long trek. The new extension of trails will offer tourists greater chances to spend a few hours walking through the beautiful open spaces of the island, rather than committing a daylong hike along the existing trails.
Budrovich said that out of the estimated one million tourists visiting the island every year, only about 20,000 went for hiking in the year 2015. He believes that the new trails would improve the image of the island among hiking communities. The new trails are designed around the natural footways broken in by deer and bison, and paths cut by hikers making their way to point of interests.
“When people come to the island now, they meander to the points that they or others feel are important to see,” Budrovich said. “By formalizing the trail, we’ll turn that into a firm surface.”