The Friends of Stevens Creek Trail continued its leadership role in development of the Trail and Wildlife Corridor from Stevens Creek¹s headwaters in the Santa Cruz Mountains to the San Francisco Bay. We are most grateful for the continuing cooperation of our community partners including our many volunteers and supporters and the cities along the trail – Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Los Altos.
Stevens Creek Trail has broad support from residents of Mountain View and adjoining areas who live and work near the Stevens Creek Trail and appreciate this tremendous community asset. Citizens and employers eagerly anticipate further expansion of the trail. Action in all cities along the trail made 2005 a great year.
o Mountain View has already completed four miles of trail where adults and children walk, jog, skate, bicycle, relax, meet neighbors, and enjoy nature. The city will begin construction of the next section of trail in 2006, going under El Camino Real and ultimately reaching Mountain View High School by the Los Altos and Sunnyvale borders. Construction on the trail bridge crossing over Moffett Boulevard should also start in 2006.
o Cupertino is finalizing plans for Stevens Creek Corridor, with a multi-use trail from Stevens Creek Blvd. to McClellan Rd., approved for construction in 2007.
o The Sunnyvale and Los Altos bicycle and pedestrian commissions and citizen groups are considering how Stevens Creek Trail would fit in their communities.
Our own successful events included a big Creek Clean-up day in April, trail programs at local art & wine festivals, corporate events, community meetings, and the 11th Trailblazer Race & Walk in September. The Trailblazer had over 1,000 runners, walkers, volunteers, and sponsors enjoying the races, trail walk, and event festivities.
Although three members left the Board during 2005, we added three new people to replace them. We are fortunate to have an active and very professional board dedicated to our trail mission, plus the generous support of many hard-working city staff. We advocate an environmentally sensitive and appropriate trail that will serve the needs of our many local trail users and also improve the wildlife corridor with increased trail habitat restoration projects and the development of educational programs along the trail.
Mission Statement: The Friends of Stevens Creek Trail promotes community pride and involvement in the completion, enhancement, and enjoyment
of the Stevens Creek Trail and Wildlife Corridor.
The Friends Organization
The Friends of Stevens Creek Trail, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in December 1992 to support local efforts in the cities of Mountain View, Cupertino, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, and the County of Santa Clara to create a multi-use trail along Stevens Creek and its wildlife corridor. Thanks to grass roots community action almost four miles of the Stevens Creek Trail exists, with more already planned.
The Board of Directors
During 2005 an eleven-member Board of Directors governed Friends of Stevens Creek Trail. Board members lived or worked in most of our creek-side communities, including Mountain View (MV), Sunnyvale (SV) and Cupertino (Cup). While the majority of board members continued to be Mountain View residents, we kept moving towards our long-term goal of greater representation in upstream communities including Cupertino, Los Altos and Sunnyvale.
In 2005 The Friends Executive Committee focused on strengthening our financial position, and once again presented a very successful Trailblazer Race. The race, along with a well-focused mailing campaign, allowed us to again end the year in the black with a healthy financial surplus. We continued to manage our finances carefully.
Members of the Board attended various workshops, courses and meetings, including the Stevens and Permanente Creeks Watershed Council. Board members during 2005 were:
Tom Bornheimer, President (SF)
Roy Verley, Vice President (MV)
Julie Muir, Secretary (MV)
Ross Heitkamp, Treasurer (MV)
Kathy Bettman (MV)
John Brazil (MV)
Ray Meyer III, (MV)
Dipti Pratt (MV)
Bill Sheppard (SV)
Art Takahara (MV)
Linda Wegner (Cup)
The Friends continued to make its home at McClellan Ranch Park in Cupertino, an 11-acre park adjacent to Stevens Creek administered by the City of Cupertino. The Friends shared office space in the ranch house with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. The Friends monthly Board meetings were held on the fourth Thursday in the conference room at this site.
In January 2005, Aaron Grossman stepped down after serving as a board member for five years and began his first year as ED (Executive Director). This followed the departure of former ED Susie Brain, who resigned for health reasons after ably serving since January of 2000. Aaron¹s previous tenure as a Board member included two terms as President and one as Secretary. He has also served as Trailblazer Race Director since 2002. That experience allowed him to quickly come up to speed as ED and provide a smooth transition for The Friends.
The Friends Board continued to be very much a ³hands-on² board, with Board members also serving as committee chairs, project leaders, and active volunteers. The help of community volunteers complemented these activities. Volunteers were vital to the mission of the organization and with their assistance they supported advocacy, community outreach, fundraising events and special projects.
The Friends had an active list of volunteers as well as e-mail lists that included current and prospective volunteers interested in trail/creek workdays or special events such as the Trailblazer Race. We also attracted volunteers from local high schools, corporations, businesses and service clubs. Community outreach volunteers were invaluable in helping our Board members staff The Friends information booth at local community fairs in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos and Cupertino.
Our summer intern helped a major Silicon Valley company create and conduct an employee alternate transportation email survey, to discover and promote bicycle recreation and commuting to work on local trails, especially Stevens Creek Trail. The survey was a great success in highlighting alternatives to commuting by car, and also a number of suggestions that could improve things even further.
We also continued to appreciate the services of key volunteers for working on photography, database, and computer-related projects.
Long-time Friends Executive Director Susie Brain was nominated ³Volunteer of the Year² by the Board of Directors in the fall of 2005, in recognition of her work far above and beyond the normal scope and hours of her official job as ED. Susie was presented with two award plaques at the November Celebration of Leaders event hosted by the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. Board members, family, and personal friends were present at this special event to recognize Susie¹s efforts, as well as those of other outstanding community volunteers.
Volunteer recruitment efforts continued to be successful. The Trailblazer Newsletter, emails, and our fundraising appeal letter also encouraged volunteers to sign up for various projects.
Thanks to much hard work by the Board of Directors, especially the Executive Committee, 2005 was a financially favorable year for the organization. Key elements were a very successful Trailblazer Race in September, and an effective, carefully directed annual appeal letter at Thanksgiving. A strong proposal to Microsoft for the Trailblazer Race and Walk resulted in their continuing as the event Presenting Sponsor. This helped The Friends pursue other major sponsors and maintain the enthusiasm and spirit of the much-loved community-oriented Trailblazer Race.
The Friends Board of Directors continued to recognize the need for a diverse range of funding sources. Appeal letters targeted to specific segments of our mailing list had a successful return rate. Our donor base increased and we anticipated growth as we focused increased efforts in Cupertino, Los Altos and Sunnyvale during 2005.
Community outreach and involvement was a fundamental part of The Friends¹ objective to raise awareness about the value of Stevens Creek Trail as a community asset. Thanks to the City of Mountain View, grass roots community action, and proactive support by The Friends organization, plans were approved to extend the current four miles of Stevens Creek Trail all the way to MV High School. Construction under El Camino Real is expected to begin in calendar year 2006.
In Cupertino, the city council voted unanimously for a continuous multi-use trail along the edge of Stevens Creek Corridor, from Stevens Creek Boulevard to McClellan Road. Once again The Friends played a key role in organizing and demonstrating public support for the trail and wildlife corridor.
We provided community outreach in many ways. Listed below is a sampling of the services we provided and the activities we were involved in.
· Sending emails and providing maps, trail updates, and print materials.
· Making personal presentations to businesses and service clubs.
· Participating in local and regional conferences and workshops.
· Participating at educational fairs and events: Microsoft¹s ³Spring Clean,² Applied Materials ³Earth Day,² Google¹s ³Environment Fair,² and ³Bike-to-Work² Day.
· Providing information booths at the Art and Wine Festivals of Cupertino, Los Altos, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale, and the MV Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Expo.
· Providing our annual trail tour and background talk for Leadership Mountain View.
· Publishing the Trailblazer newsletter. The Friends mailed and distributed more than 2500 copies of the newsletter to "Friends" and supporters in 2005.
· Updating and maintaining a website with the technical support of Friends Board member and web master, Ross Heitkamp. This informational web site with links to the City of Mountain View and other trail sites is found at www.stevenscreektrail.org.
On April 16, thanks to the very active participation of many staff from the Mountain View Shoreline Park department, The Friends successfully organized one of our most successful Creek and Trail Clean-up Days ever! Over 90 volunteers gathered to collect trash, pull weeds, and paint benches and fences. Every year we attract many volunteers wishing to give back to their community, and the clear warm weather really brought them out. Volunteer teams from Synopsys and Target helped boost the numbers. Pizza donated by Milan Pizza and Tony & Alba¹s cheered on the volunteers for all their efforts!
Trailblazer Race 2005
Held on Sunday, September 25, the Trailblazer Race was a great success. With more than one thousand walkers, runners, volunteers, and exhibitors, the eleventh annual Race and Trail Walk brought back numerous repeat participants while also introducing many new faces to the trail.
Microsoft, Presenting Sponsor for the overall event, again generously allowed The Friends to use its campus and support staff for race day festivities. In Shoreline Park and along the trail, the staff and management of the Mountain View Parks and Recreation department provided extensive logistical support leading up to and during the event. We could not have done it without their help.
Both the 10K and 5K racecourses were officially certified by the US Track and Field Association. They ran on Stevens Creek Trail, looped through Shoreline Park, and circled back to the Microsoft campus. In addition to the two big runs and our more relaxed 5K Trail Walk, the event also included our free and popular Children¹s Races and activities.
Friends Executive Director Aaron Grossman and Board member Ray Meyer III oversaw a hardworking race committee, made up of other Board members and volunteers, who brought everything together. Except for professional race timing services, volunteers carried out all other activities, with almost 200 of them helping out on race day!
Many local corporations, businesses and individuals also provided support through financial sponsorships and in-kind donations. Along with Microsoft as Presenting Sponsor, they included Star One Credit Union, Avery Construction Company, Richard Lowenthal, Rudolph and Sletten, Inc., Cupertino National Bank, Chuck & Tori Atwell Real Estate Brokers, Minton¹s Lumber, Foothill Disposal, BMW of Mountain View, Camino Medical Group, Fenwick & West, and Nolte Associates. In-kind sponsors included Hobees, Trader Joe¹s, the Mountain View Voice, and the City of Mountain View.
The Friends continued to enjoy editorial support and exposure in local and regional newspapers. Papers featuring Stevens Creek Trail or the Friends of Stevens Creek Trail included San Jose Mercury News, Cupertino Courier, Palo Alto Daily News, and the Mountain View Voice. In addition, reporters from those local papers often called ED Aaron Grossman for information or comments on Creek and Trail related stories.
The Friends also served as a resource to other neighborhood groups, non-profits, and public agencies, helping to connect them with sources of information, volunteers, or donations, which could be of further benefit to the community.
Vice President Roy Verley and Executive Director Aaron Grossman spoke at numerous meetings in support of the Trail. They described benefits already seen along the completed sections of trail in Mountain View, and encouraged using a sensitive development process that included careful attention to the concerns of everyone involved.
The Friends¹ policy is to support the efforts of public agencies along the creek in planning, funding and constructing Stevens Creek Trail. In all of its efforts to advocate for the trail, The Friends always tries to be sensitive to the varying interests of the different communities along the creek.
While advocating passionately for the extension of the trail, the Friends of Stevens Creek Trail meets with city staff periodically to understand and discuss their issues of concern along the existing trail. This includes issues of trail safety, environmental preservation, and public access.
In 2005, The Friends efforts resulted in the Mountain View City Council approving extension of the trail under El Camino Real and out to Mountain View High School, and the Cupertino City Council approving a continuous multi-use trail along the edge of Stevens Creek Corridor from Stevens Creek Boulevard to McClellan Road.
After extensive public outreach, on June 22, 2004, the City of Mountain View approved the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for Stevens Creek Trail, Reach 4, Segment 2. It will span 1.7 miles from Yuba Drive to Mountain View High School, completing the Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View. This stretch will go under El Camino Real and span Highway 85 twice, linking neighborhoods that have long been isolated by major arteries.
The EIR evaluated the potential environmental impacts of implementing the trail project. With it approved, the City of Mountain View began developing construction documents and identified most of the funding necessary to begin construction of the trail under El Camino Real in 2006.
In 2005, the City of Cupertino City Council, based on the work of the Stevens Creek Trail Task Force, plus an extensive visioning exercise that produced about 150 maps of what the Stevens Creek Corridor should become, voted unanimously to approve a continuous multi-use through trail.
The trail will run along the edge of Stevens Creek Corridor, extending from the Stocklmeir Property on Stevens Creek Boulevard, through Blackberry Golf Course and Blackberry Farm, and around McClellan Ranch. Along with significant creek restoration, elimination of fee-entry for Blackberry Farm, and greatly reduced parking for large corporate events, it represents a major shift in land use towards community and local access. Construction is expected to begin in late 2006.
The Friends played a crucial role in bringing this about by staffing our information table at the Cupertino Art & Wine Festivals, recruiting support though other organizations such as the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, e-mailing alerts of city meetings to concerned people, and being a positive presence at those key meetings.
In addition to the progress within the city of Cupertino, initial trail work was completed on county land which when finished will connect Rancho San Antonio Park to Stevens Creek Boulevard. This trail segment is expected to open to the public early in 2006.
In 2006 we look forward to working with all four creek-side cities on the following projects:
· Mountain View Reach 4 Segment 2;
· Cupertino Stevens Creek Corridor;
· Sunnyvale Remington Avenue trail connection;
· Los Altos initial trail planning.
We will organize more volunteer creek and trail workdays and habitat restoration projects along the creek corridor. Advocacy for the trail and the wildlife corridor, education, and outreach will continue to be our goals.
We ask for your continued support and look forward to working with you in achieving the dream of completing the Stevens Creek Trail all the way from the bay to the mountains to the ocean!