Metallica Singer Forces County to Build Expensive Hiking Trail

James Hetfield cut off old path by building fence around his property

July 19, 2011 11:25 AM ET
James Hetfield of Metallica hiking trail
James Hetfield of Metallica
David Wolff - Patrick/WireImage

A hiking trail is being built in Marin County, California at the cost of $650,000 in order to bypass the estate of Metallica frontman James Hetfield. The new path, provisionally called the 680 Trail as its peak elevation is over 680 feet above sea level, is the result of a 2008 dispute in which Hetfield erected a metal fence around his property because he was irritated by hikers wrecking his property. The fence cut off the Luiz Ranch Fire Trail which connects the Terra Linda-Sleepy Hollow Divide and Loma Alta open space preserves, both popular destinations for nature enthusiasts.

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Hetfield has been accommodating to the work on the new path, and has allowed workers to use his private road for better access. (He also paid to improve that road for the benefit of the trail builders.) The high cost of the 680 Trail, which is mostly being paid for by the county with a $56,000 grant from the North Bay Conservation Corps, is mainly due to environmental reviews, trail design and technical reports necessary to comply with state laws.

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Despite the cost, Marin County officials seem to have no issue with Hetfield. According to Chris Bramham, the superintendent of the project for the Marin Open Space District, the Metallica guitarist's help has been very valuable, and the new trail will offer hikers an incredible experience when it opens either this fall or in the spring of next year. "When it's done it will be beautiful," Bramham told the Marin Independent Journal. "The views from here are fantastic."

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