Santa Ana River Trail walkers, cyclists fear homeless, give up outdoor ‘jewel’ – Orange County Register

Dozens of interviews, emails and online comments reveal that walkers and cyclists fear, or have fled, the 30-mile Santa Ana River Trail after being injured and scared off by the exploding homeless population.

Designated a National Recreation Trail in 1977, even police, elected officials and homeless advocates have given up on salvaging the county’s longest cycling and walking trail.

Once used by runners, birders and other outdoor aficionados, the 12-foot-wide ribbon of asphalt with views of the San Gabriel Mountains has become a place to be avoided.

Rather than returning to residents a once-cherished trail that now resembles a post-apocalyptic strip, law enforcement, the county Health Care Agency, elected officials and nonprofits focus on assisting the homeless population and doing what little they can to curtail crime and tamp down dangerously unsanitary conditions.

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