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About Us—Our History

Founded 55 years ago (1969) by a group of local horsemen who saw that their trails were in danger of being lost to development. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council was certified as a non-profit organization in 1972.

Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, Beginnings

The Santa Monica Mountains contains historic trails originally made by the Chumash Indians and later improved by the Spaniards.  However, encroaching urban sprawl, particularly in 1972 with the construction of Kanan Dume Road, has destroyed major portions of these trails and continues to threaten their existence and use.

The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council was born out of the concern and need to preserve these historic trails.  Through our commitment to the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains, some of these historic trails now link local, state, and federal parks, creating a vast recreational resource that extends from Griffith Park in Los Angeles to Point Mugu in Ventura County.

The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council coordinates with various government agencies in efforts toward development and preservation of the trail system; assists in negotiations with property owners regarding specific trail alignments; promotes public awareness; and builds, monitors and maintains trails. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council works to protect and enhance the trail system that serves as a recreational, educational and historical resource for generations to enjoy.

Founded in 1969 by a group of local horsemen who saw that their trails were in danger of being lost to development. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council was certified as non-profit organization in 1972.

The original founders of the SMMTC are the following people:

With the passage of time we are now at a point where there is only one of the original members (Dick Hartley) still living. In recent years, Dick Hubbard, Darrell Readmond and Grant Gerson have passed away.  The others have been deceased for more than 5 years. The good news is that another generation of board members has taken their place.

Darrell Readmond was the first with the vision and foresight to see the Backbone Trail developed across the crest of the mountains. To that end, he worked for years with others like Warren Jessup to draw the trail on the maps that they had at the time.

past presidents 5 Presidents of the Trails Council – early 1990's:
Ted DePass, Linda Palmer, Ruth Gerson, Leonora Kirby, Dick Hubbard

Presidents of the SMMTC have been:

Richard passed away in 2016, Linda passed away in June 2013, and Ted passed away in August 2013.

Early History, Goals & Projects
  1. Early Projects and Goals
    1. Kanan Dume Road - impact on trails
    2. Zuma Ridge Trail Park
    3. National Recreation designation for the Santa Monica Mountains - SMMNRA
    4. Ridge Trail (later became the Backbone Trail) - first map by Darrell Readmond with assistance from Warren Jessep, used by State Parks in designing existing trail
    5. Build membership to include all trail users as a broad coalition
  2. Early Advisory Projects
    1. San Fernando Valley Bicycle Advisor Group (BAG)
    2. Bicycle lane plan for Westlake Village (later LA City BAG)
    3. Aided Chatsworth in developing trail along flood plain (DeSoto)
    4. Frank Hendler - instrumental in creation of Westwood to Sea Bike Lane
    5. Inclusion of Simi Hills area in SMMNRA
  3. Goals not completed
    1. Zuma Ridge Trail Park
    2. Bicycle use of LA River Flood Control Area as bike path
    3. Adequate funding by congress for SMMNRA
    4. Conversion of Nike site (top of Piuma Road) and Coast Guard site (Kanan Dume Road) for public recreation use
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Board Of Directors
  1. Barb Thomas, President
  2. George Sherman, Vice President
  3. Peter Sullivan, Treasurer
  4. Melody Reilly, Secretary
  1. Don Brusselars
  2. John Kross
  3. Denise Pomonik
  4. Robert Bittner
  5. Roger Young
  6. Ruth Gerson, President Emerita