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Friends of the Franklin Trail to Host ‘Foot-by-Foot’ Fundraising Kickoff Event

The painting of a mural will be the focus of the Oct. 15 community gathering at Carpinteria High School

Friends of the Franklin Trail, a volunteer group working to reopen the historic Franklin Trail, invites the community to its “Foot-by-Foot” kickoff event from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 in the Carpinteria High School faculty parking lot.

Members of the public are invited to come learn more about the Franklin trail and to support the project with a donation.

“We are excited to be this far along with our fundraising, but we still have work to do,” said Jane Murray, co-chair of the Friends of Franklin Trail. “We are now turning to the community to help us raise, foot-by-foot, the balance of the money we will need to complete this exciting project and to bring back the backcountry of Carpinteria for all to enjoy once again.”

The kickoff event will be centered on the painting of a 4-foot-by-6-foot mural of the Franklin Trail under the direction of acclaimed artist John Iwerks. Murray said the paint-by-numbers Iwerks mural, when completed, will become part of a permanent kiosk at the trailhead for hikers, bikers and equestrians of the trail to enjoy.

Other activities at the event will include walking a mini version of the trail created in the parking lot, learning more about the project and the trail’s history, viewing plant and animal displays from the trail and backcountry, and having children join another acclaimed local artist, Whitney Abbott, in a nature art project.

Participants who “stake a claim” on the trail with a donation of at least $17 (1 foot of trail) will receive a “foot-by-foot” decal designed by artist Benjamin Anderson as well as the opportunity to help Iwerks paint the trail mural.

Friends of the Franklin Trail, working with the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County in support of Santa Barbara County Parks, needs to raise $450,000 to cover the construction costs necessary to rebuild and reopen this historic trail into Carpinteria’s backcountry, a trail that has been closed to public use for years. The organization has already raised $195,000 in gifts and pledges.

“We recently received a generous $100,000 challenge grant from the La Centra Summerlin Foundation, so every donation people make between now and Dec. 16 will be doubled,” Murray said. “With the community’s support, we can reach our goal.”

No part of the actual trail will be open until the project is finished, but construction on the trail is expected to be completed by the summer of 2012. Donations made to the Franklin Trail Fund through the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County are tax-deductible. Click here for more information or call 805.684.4405.

— Jane Murray is co-chair of the Friends of the Franklin Trail.

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