Fort Ord is an old part of Monterey. (The general the fort is named after was at Appomattox, witnessing Lee’s surrender.) When the fort closed in 1994, the land was intended to be given up for civilian use. But Fort Ord’s transition to public life has been, writes Monterey County Weekly’s David Schmalz, a “historic failure.” Giving the public access to the former base has been part of the plan since the base closed. Still, much of it remains off limits. Schmalz writes about CSUMB professors Fred Watson and Scott Waltz, who have for many years been involved in mapping out something lovely with an ugly name: FORTAG, the Fort Ord Regional Trail and Greenway.
This scheme will give bikers and hikers a 28-mile loop to traverse from Marina to Del Rey Oaks near the Monterey airport. Writes Schmalz, “It is land, and views, the public has never seen.” If the FORTAG comes to pass, Schmalz reports, visitors will travel past sand dunes, woodlands, and the great blue bay itself.
While the project is moving along apace, there is a sense of urgency: Developers eyeing the area’s land could complicate the creation of the trail, if it’s not done soon. Plus, there are Del Rey Oaks locals who don’t want the route in their backyard ... some front lawns there bear signs reading “Reroute FORTAG; Don’t let tunnel vision ‘Rec’ our town.”