A Bit of Trail Philosophy


The Robert Ward Preserve may become a park with grass and trees some day. When it does it will be only one of two parks so completely visible from a main highway. The only one so far, is Hillcrest Park. Presenting one or two seconds of green as seen by thousands per day is very worth while use of resources.

It was the horsemen of Fullerton in the 50s that established most of the trails in Fullerton. (And that club is still going: Fullerton Recreational Riders.) But bikers are the ones who are now the source of new trails. The new trails tend to be farther from the sensible path and because of that, are usually more interesting. They sometimes leak out of Parks Department property but in the process show where the city should extend its boundaries. This pioneering spirit may be because they move fast and are less afraid of being constrained by convention. They are certainly more adventuresome than walkers. We are to thank bikers for example, in opening up the trail leaving Bastanchury Park alongside Union Pacific tracks. It is officially private property and that is why you won’t see on any Fullerton website any mention of the very famous Fullerton Loop. And that’s because it runs on private property for about a mile of its half Marathon length.

Parks are left over oddly shaped properties being washes which might flood or is in some other way of no economic value. If the excess is long and skinny it became a trail. Bigger places where water gathers behind a dam and maintenance costs on the grass of a golf course can be unprofitable. . . they become the cheapest form of park; recreational areas. Some areas like the Robert Ward Preserve which could have been commercial property, were purchased by the city (at a negotiated discount price) and may someday be a park. (Hence the word preserve.) What makes Robert Ward Preserve so valuable as a future park is that it is not a low spot. It will be seen from the street. Only Hillcrest Park rises above the street level. Most other parks are kind of invisible. The largest and the best par of Tree Park is invisible. Gilman Park, is almost invisible perhaps because it is the thickest concentration of green of any Fullerton park . . . it is also unique in that no where inside can you see a road or a car. Being seen can be more important, and worth the higher cost of land at street level of above. The reason: because so many people can experience a moment of green.

Another thing interesting about the leftover nature of land that become trails is how they are defined by circumstances that take place many generations apart. The placement of a fence that makes no sense at all… a gate where there’s no road, open pipes, U-channels that are useless because they are a foot above the trail. These are examples of things next to something that was removed; something that would have explained the mystery. In many cases, the mystery is older than anyone left alive. Just for fun mysteries like a road to no where, will be presented in the various web pages of this website.