Regular physical activity is key to health, yet fewer than 1 in 4 youth get enough aerobic physical activity and many lack access to places to be active. To the Friends of the Bob Jones Trail, that was a solvable problem.
"I remember riding with my family on the Bob Jones Trail years ago and thinking, 'This extension could be a real asset to our community',” said Helene Finger, President of The Friends of the Bob Jones Trail.
For more than 30 years, Bob Jones Trail supporters have enthusiastically promoted completion of a City-to-Sea Trail. The group eventually formed The Friends of the Bob Jones Trail, and have volunteered hundreds of hours to plan for and prepare grants to fund the project.
The group had submitted countless grant applications and, in 2021, thanks to their help, the County of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department and the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) received a $18.25 million CA Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant — the second largest award that cycle — to close the gap between the existing Bob Jones trail in Avila and the Octagon Barn in San Luis Obispo.
Once completed, the 4.5-mile trail established by this project will be a safe multiuse pathway for people of all ages and abilities, providing a safe alternative to the existing high-speed path along Hwy 101.
Last year, more than 47,000 people used the Bob Jones Trail in just the month of June and more than 1,200 people expressed support for the proposed connection in the Bob Jones Trail use survey. Supporters were also able to make the connection to the SLO County Community Health Improvement Plan — a key piece that secured the project extra points in funding consideration.
Their work, alongside extensive public/private/community partnership that included collaboration with the County of SLO, City of SLO, Caltrans, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), and The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, has been years in the making.
“To have reached the day when we have secured a grant to make it a reality just feels surreal, and I am so proud of our volunteers and our community for all the incredible work they did to get us here."