A Wilderness Favorite, Lizard Trail

In July, Conservation Programs Director Alan and I worked with OC Parks and a California Conservation Corps Crew on a maintenance project on Lizard Trail. We focused on the upper 600 ft of trail with tread improvement in areas that experience rutting and erosion issues.

We did this to address trail widening that was encroaching on the native habitat in the park. When trail users move to the side to avoid ruts or exposed rocks it all gradually contributes to vegetation being trampled down.

This maintenance work was much needed. During the Pandemic, visitor use in the park has tripled. While more people outside enjoying our precious open space is a definite positive, this does increase wear and tear on the trails and increases each trail’s maintenance needs. Lizard is one of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park’s most popular trails.

Over the course of the week, we trucked in water and used a 600 ft hose so that we could get the level of soil moisture we needed to improve and shape the tread. Tread improvement in the summer season is a challenge, but this set up worked well, using more than 650 gallons of water during the project. Normally we would do this type of work after a heavy rain, but we got creative to get work done during the dry season.

The crew spent their week de-compacting the soil, improving tread, re-establishing drainage features, as well as installing wattles and pig tail fencing. In all, we are pleased with the amount of work we accomplished in a week with the crew.

There were many delays to the project due to the CCC crew helping out with vaccine distribution and wildfire efforts across the state and therefore being unavailable to work on the trails. Despite challenges with heat, dry conditions, and trail crew availability, we were able to work together that week to improve the safety and quality of the trail for park visitors.

This is a first phase of our work on Lizard and we will be returning in the Fall to continue tread improvement on the rest of Upper Lizard, as well as to complete and fine tune the sections we worked on in July. We look forward to returning in the Fall when soil moisture will be better suited to shaping and improving the trail.

See you on the trails!