History of CORBA
CORBA was founded in August of 1987 after a Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy meeting at Red Rock Canyon Park in Topanga Canyon. At the meeting, the "new mountain bike issue" was being discussed and officials indicated that they wanted to work with an organized group representing mountain bicyclists, similar in context to hiker and equestrian groups. Some of the mountain bicyclists in attendance were joined by others who read about the meeting in the Los Angeles Times and within a month, the nucleus of CORBA was formed.
The Mountain Bike Unit. In 1988, CORBA approached both National Parks and State Parks and began talks about setting up a volunteer mountain bike patrol. The Mountain Bike Unit (MBU) was formed as the first volunteer program in the nation that was co-sponsored by both a Federal and State agency. The MBU became a model program for IMBA’s National Mountain Bike Patrol and other mountain bike units around the country, and later spun-off from CORBA to become an award-winning entity of its own.
IMBA. In the spring of 1988 two of CORBA's steering committee members met with other bicycle clubs from throughout the state of California and were instrumental in formation of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).
Free Basic Skills Clinic. In 1992, former Steering Committee member Mark Langton started offering free Introduction to Mountain Bike Skills Clinics and continues offering these clinics to beginners and experts alike the first Saturday of every month.
Youth Adventures Program. In 1993 with a grant from the Charlie Litsky Foundation, CORBA started a youth mountain biking program. This program is called Youth Adventures and is still operating today taking inner-city and at-risk youth groups on interpretive mountain bike rides in the Santa Monica Mountains. Members of the MBU volunteer as chaperones for the rides that generally occur twice a month.
One of CORBA's earliest struggles was to get the Will Rogers section of the Backbone Trail re-opened to bikes. In 1996 State Parks re-opened the Will Rogers trail to bikes on a trial basis and it remains open today. CORBA has been instrumental in re-opening old trails or getting new trails opened to multiple use.
CORBA's efforts are frequently complicated by the fact that a multitude of public agencies and land managers govern our area. The interconnected system of trails and fire roads in Los Angeles and the greater surrounding areas include lands governed by the National Forest Service, the National Park Service, the California State Department of Parks and Recreation, the city and county of Los Angeles, Ventura County, The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Rancho Simi and the Conejo Recreation and Parks Department. In spite of an intricate and overlapping web of trails and agencies, CORBA's efforts have led to considerable access to trails for Southern California mountain bikers.
Until January 2003, CORBA was primarily run by the original group of riders that recognized the need to strongly advocate trail access for the local mountain bike community. These pioneers deserve our deepest thanks for their in efforts in building, maintaining, preserving and opening many of the miles of trails in the Santa Monica Mountains and Rim of the Valley Corridor that we still enjoy riding today. In fact, your favorite trail was most likely opened to bike use with CORBA involvement (see box above).
In February of 2003 a new board of directors was elected to take the handlebars of CORBA. 2011 marks our 24rd anniversary and a lot has changed over the years. While mountain bicyclists still see some opposition, mountain biking has grown into a mainstream recreational activity enjoyed by all walks of life. Land management agencies have taken note and are moving towards multi-use trail policies. As the tide shifts CORBA remains committed to preserving mountain biking opportunities and we intend to concentrate more on protecting open space and maintaining and creating new trails for all trail users to enjoy.