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New trails connect Mira Monte, Meiners Oaks

042717 ovlc adopted trail 1
Photo by Rick Bisaccia
OVLC's volunteer trail crew cleans the Gridley Trail.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
Ojai hikers, dog walkers and bikers can now travel from Mira Monte to Meiners Oaks and back again, thanks to a partnership between the Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC).
The Ojai Saddle Trails, which host entrances on the Ojai Valley Trail and Loma Drive, are now connected to the 50-acre Ojai Meadows Preserves.
The Saddle Trails property once played host to Jiddu Krishnamurti, who delivered talks on the land during the 1920s.
“Krishnamurti wanted those lands preserved. Those were some of his final words,” said Craig Walker, a local teacher and historian. “For him, people needed to reconnect with nature. (The trails) will give people the opportunity to go and experience Ojai as it was back in the day.”
Walker noted that the connection of the Saddle Trails with the Meadows Preserve provides a swath of open space in the center of the valley.
KFA granted a five-year trail easement to the OVLC as a trial period, after which the parties will evaluate the possibility of making the agreement permanent. 
 042717 ovlc 6
Photo by Rick Bisaccia
The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy recently outfitted the Ojai Saddle Trails with new signage. 
The OVLC will manage and maintain the trails and signage, and provide oversight of public use. 
“From our perspective, we have the Meadows Preserve right next door. By linking up with the KFA property, we basically join new neighborhoods. The neighborhood over by Loma Drive can walk right on to the preserve,” said Brian Starke, OVLC's executive director.
Krishnamurti contemplated about the property's beauty in his writings.
“You can sit there protected from the sun, never feeling lonely, with the tree as your companion,” he wrote.
Krishnamurti passed away in 1986 at his Ojai home.
“Symbolically rejoining the landscape that inspired thousands through the work of Krishnamurti, these new trails honor the history of the land and bring its beauty to new generations,” said Tania Parker of the OVLC.
In addition to establishing a new trail, the OVLC has adopted two well-known Los Padres National Forest trails: the Pratt Trail up to the Foothill Trail and the Gridley Trail up to Fuelbreak Road Trail.
Maintenance of the trails and trailheads will now be coordinated by the OVLC and undertaken by the its 15-member volunteer trail crew.
“Federal funding for trail maintenance has declined over many years,” said Parker. “The Adopt-a-Trail program helps stretch federal budgets and encourages local communities to get involved in the care of outdoor areas.”
The addition of the Saddle Trails and the newly adopted trails brings the total length of OVLC-managed trails to 27 miles, she noted.
Visit https://ovlc.org for more information about the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.
Visit https://www.kfa.org for more information about the Krishnamurti Foundation of America. 

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