Trailhead Catalina Island

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Catalina Island Conservancy HDI Railings

In the summer of 2018, the Catalina Island Conservancy unveiled plans for their new visitor center, The Trailhead, overlooking Catalina, one of California’s Channel Islands. Catalina Island lies southwest of Los Angeles and is known for its wildlife, dive sites and Mount Orizaba, its highest peak. The Trailhead serves as the gateway to the island’s wildlands, while providing its visitors and residents with information on Catalina’s 42,000+ acres of open space and 62 miles of rugged shoreline. “It will give us the opportunity to share with visitors and residents the uniqueness of Catalina, why it is an ecological treasure and how they can participate in taking care of it,” said Ann M. Muscat, PhD, Conservancy president emeritus.


The design of the building is modern but unique to fit the island feel. The railing chosen for this project was HDI’s inox railing system incorporating a mixture of perforated stainless-steel infill panels and glass infill panels. The building utilizes “local island” stone, a section of the rail was core mounted through the stone and into the concrete underneath.

Stone and Steel HDI Railings

The 9,000 square foot building has three decks, each secured with HDI’s inox railing system with glass infill panels, offering unobstructed, sweeping views of Avalon and its bay. The three-story, eco-friendly facility has its main visitor section on the first floor and on its second floor is the Bluewater Café along with a meeting space for up to 125 people. On the third floor is a top deck overlooking Avalon, it’s hillsides, and the ocean which will serve as an educational area.

Catalina Island Conservancy HDI Railings

Catalina Island Conservancy HDI Railings

The Trailhead is Avalon’s first LEED-certified building, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED is arguably the most widely used green building rating system in the world. The installation of HDI’s inox railing system contributed multiple credits in categories varying from sustainability to building efficiency. The stainless steel used for the project was composed of 45% to 65% recycled material earning LEED credits for use of a recycled material. To maintain energy efficiency The Trailhead generates 30% or more of its energy from solar panels mounted on the roof. HDI installed LED lights in the top rails of The Trailheads railing system earning the building several LEED credits because LED lighting typically uses 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent lighting.

In the near future, The Conservancy plans on installing a local desalination unit to convert saltwater into drinkable water. For now, The Trailhead utilizes a state-of-the-art water-saving system that captures rainwater for local landscaping. The Trailhead’s designers kept sustainability in mind even down to the glass infill specified for their inox railing system because HDI glass contains approximately 20% post-industrial cullet (recycled glass).

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Stone and Steel railing at Catalina Island Conservancy HDI Railings

Catalina Island Conservancy HDI Railings

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