Visitors to Catalina Island who enjoy its network of hiking trails will eventually get 26.7 more miles of pathways to explore, as the Catalina Island Conservancy broke ground on the “Trekking Catalina” expansion on Friday.
Tony Budrovich, the president and CEO of the conservancy, called the project "a sustainable and environmentally sound way to expand hiking opportunities on the island.”
“This is a place that encourages people to see California as it once was: Wild, free and undeveloped,” he said to KPCC.
According to the conservancy, the new trails signal the largest expansion since the opening of the 37.2-mile Trans-Catalina Trail.
The project "will minimize the impact on the land by upgrading and consolidating 'social trails,' which are unofficial trails created by wildlife and the foot traffic of campers and other users over time,” according to a statement from the conservancy.
“What we wanted to do with this expansion was add some of the ‘payoff’ views, the most beautiful and scenic areas of the island,” Budrovich said. “Now a day visitor can take a short hike or a long hike and have an opportunity to ‘trek’ the island."
New, sustainable restrooms spread throughout the island along with a variety of loops and returns to help hikers navigate will also be installed, Budrovich said.
Construction of the new trails begins Saturday.