Wagner Grove Trail Restoration

March 25, 2024

Earlier this year, the City of Santa Cruz reached out to our team to see if we were available to check in on the condition of Wagner Grove Trail (in Pogonip Open Space) for the potential to be hired for restoration work. After a quick scouting trip, it was clear that the trail could use a little love. We quickly put the project on the calendar and got to it.

The project took about 2 weeks with Crew Lead, Justin M., and Trails Specialist, Mason J., leading the construction. We got support from Trail Sages, Andrea, Tom, and Tim plus the help of several volunteers during a few events.

Scroll on to see some photos and learn about the project…

Scout & Assessment

Every major project starts with an in-person scout (project assessment) to determine the scope and urgency of the work. For this project, Emma and Mati (of our Programs team) went out for a quick scout to gauge the scale of the project. This was followed by a more in-depth look by our Account Manager, Travis, alongside some members of the City of Santa Cruz to determine materials/amounts needed. Photos are taken and added to our project report with captions of the task associated.

Photos 1&2: rotted steps and railing to be replaced. Photo 3: rotted wooden steps to be replaced with stones. Photo 4: Signage needed at trail intersections.

Handrail & Stair Replacement

We opted to tackle the handrail and stair replacement job first. There were 11 steps and about 71 feet of hand railing in need of replacement. Our team replaced everything with redwood lumber that we had cut and sanded to match the existing features. To add additional stability to support beams, we installed 5’ pipes into the ground (see photo 5 below).

All materials used for this were meant to last. The lumber is all redwood and all metals are galvanized. For you material nerds out there, here’s the list: new handrailing took 4” x 4” posts, 2” x 6” cap rail, 1” x 5” cross rails, and hot-dip galvanized fasteners. The step replacements used 2” x 8” x 4’ redwood lumber secured to the stringer on one side using 16D hot-dipped galvanized nails and on the opposite side using 1” OD x 2’ galvanized pipe.

Photo 1: trip to the lumber yard. Photos 2-4: work in progress. Photo 5: 5’ pipe for post support.Photos 6-9: job done.

Trail Step Replacement

Next up was replacing 6 wooden trail steps just above the footbridge with 5 stone steps. We removed the old steps without too much hassle and then laid out the location of where each rock step would land. We didn’t have any rock in the area to source so were forced to go rock shopping. We need large rocks with a good shape to create steps, but wanted to make sure it matched the look and color of the natural rock already around Wagner Grove Trail. We ended up with 5 Sonoma field stone rocks considered “mini boulder” size that each had to be hand carried to the site by rock slings. The average weight between the 5 was ~350 pounds.

Photos 1 & 2: Before/after removing the rotted steps. Photo 3: Sonoma field stone with associated weights. Photos 4-5: The rock sling carry. Photos 6-7: Complete!

Signage Install

Final phase was to install signage. There were 3 locations that needed signage; 2 on existing infrastructure and 1 that needed a new post. We got all of the distances calculated, had a local sign shop fabricate the signs and got to work.

Photo 1: Think it’s deep enough? Dig a little deeper. Photos 2-4: Progress. How’s that bevel!? Photos 5-7: Hopefully no one gets lost out there.

Go check out the work next time you’re in the area!

Other Links:

  • Wagner Grove Trail is owned by the City of Santa Cruz

  • “…..purchase of the properties that would make up Harvey West Park, presenting the larger part to the city in 1955 and the Wagner Grove in 1958. Wagner was the original American owner of the land whose descendants had sold it to West for the creation of the park.” Santa Cruz Trains

  • Trail forks map: Wagner Grove Trail


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