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Trail Issues

"Mountain biking helps people become environmentalists.  A mountain bike is a vehicle to appreciate the backcountry."

Ned Overend
author and world champion mountain biker

Current Trail Issues

Table of Contents

News is moving to our new blog

March 26, 2010

We have installed a blog on our site and will be putting our news items there instead of on this page. Not only will it be easier for us to add information of interest to mountain bikers and other trail users in a timely manner, our readers will be able to add their comments. So check out our blog, see what's new, and let us know what you think by adding a comment!

Support Rails to Trails: Act would improve trail, walking and biking networks around the country
March 3, 2010
From Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

"Active Community Transportation Act of 2010" Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

Please Speak Up for Critical Legislation for Trails, Walking and Bicycling

After years of organizing supporters around the country, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is excited to announce that on Tuesday, March 2, 2010, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) introduced H.R. 4722, the "Active Community Transportation Act of 2010" (ACT Act), on the floor of the House of Representatives!

The ACT Act is the direct result of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) Campaign for Active Transportation. The Act would create a $2 billion program to fund dozens of communities around the country to improve their trail, walking and biking networks. If this bill is enacted, communities around the country will receive the resources to better allow Americans to walk and bike to the places you live, work, play, shop and learn.

Please encourage your representative to co-sponsor this very important legislation by filling in this petition.

NOTE: The following forward-thinking representatives have already signed on in support of the ACT Act:

  • Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)
  • Michael Capuano (Mass.)
  • Russ Carnahan (Mo.)
  • Steve Cohen (Tenn.)
  • Bob Filner (Cal.)
  • Daniel Lipinski (Ill.)
  • James Moran (Va.)

If your representative is one of the above seven individuals, instead of taking action below, please send a note thanking your representative for already supporting this legislation, and encourage him to continue pushing his colleagues for more support.

Don’t know who your representative is? Use the zip-code tool in the upper-left corner of www.house.gov—it's easy!

Thank you.

CORBA Has a New Calendar
February 16, 2010

View CORBA's CalendarWe have moved to Google Calendars to display our activities. You can access it on our home page from the menu bar or from the calendar image, shown at right. Why change? There are a number of advantages:

  • Entries are color-coded by activity type, making it easier to find the kind of event you're looking for
  • You can copy our activities to your own Google calendar and add alerts for yourself
  • You can display our whole calendar on your own Google calendar
  • We can display events from other organizations that use Google calendars. So far we have rides from two clubs, the North Ranch Mountain Bikers and Over the Bars Mtn Bike Club
  • For CORBA volunteers, it's much easier to administer these calendars

If you belong to an organization that uses a Google calendar to publicize activities, let us know and we'll consider adding it to our collection. Contact us at info@corbamtb.com.

Mountain Biking Grew 10.2% in 2008
December 2, 2009 

The annual Outdoor Recreation Participation Report looks at year-over-year trends in various outdoor sports, based on the percentage of the population who participate in outdoor recreation in some form. Released earlier this year by the Outdoor Industry Foundation, the report shows a 10.2% increase in mountain biking from 2007 to 2008. Nationwide, the study reports 7,592,000 people who rode a mountain bike.

American's most frequent outdoor activities were running (trail and pavement) with cycling (road, mountain and BMX) coming in second.  More people participated in outdoor activities than team sports. 15% of Americans rode a bike while 9% played basketball, 7% played football, 6% played soccer.

A disturbing downward trend in outdoor activity participation was seen among the youth over the past three years. In 2006 78% of 6 - 12 year-old children did some outdoor activity, but in 2008 only 64% did so. The 13 - 17 year-old group went from 69% participation in 2006 to 61% in 2008. The biggest drop was seen in girls aged 6 - 12, a 19% drop in participation over three years.

However, cycling (including road, bmx and mountain) remained both the "most popular" and "favorite" outdoor activity of the young. Despite the overall decline in outdoor activity participation, mountain biking among the 6 to 17 year-old age group grew by 17.4% over 2007 numbers, with over two million participants in 2008.

In the 18 to 24 year-old group mountain biking was down 23.8%. The biggest reason given was a "lack of time."  Adult participation in outdoor activities grew from 48% to 53% in the 25 to 44 year-old group, and from 37% to 38% in those over 45 years of age.

Mountain biking is becoming more and more popular. These numbers underscore the need for us continue working towards opening new trails for this growing user group, and to take care of the trails we already have. We must also continue to get more youth involved in mountain biking, and support those who already do.

This study was based on a sampling of over 40,000 households. The complete report is available from the Outdoor Industry Association Foundation.

 

High School Cycling Gives Thanks
November 25, 2009 

BERKELEY, Calif. The NorCal and SoCal High School Cycling Leagues combined raised over $100,000 at their annual CycleFest fundraisers. The SoCal League almost doubled its attendance over 2008.

Matt Fritzinger, founder of the NorCal League, said "We are very thankful for having had two highly successful CycleFest events this year. The funds raised will help these leagues keep pace with the enormous growth that is expected for the 2010 season."

The NorCal CycleFest, which featured Jonathan Vaughters of the Garmin Cycling Team, was generously supported by a long list of silent auction donors and sponsors. Heading this list are Specialized Bicycle Components, Fox Racing Shox, GU Sports, Ritchey Logic, NCNCA, Mountain Hardwear, Syncros, Mike's Bikes, Clif Bar, Marin Cyclists, and McGuire Real Estate. The weekend's festivities, comprising a cocktail reception, gala dinner, and 50-mile CHP-supported ride, raised a total of more than $60,000 and were attended by 400 people.

The SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League enjoyed a massive boost in attendance over its first-year fundraiser in 2008. Bob Roll entertained 150 diners aboard the Queen Mary luxury ocean liner, moored at Long Beach. Many companies contributed to the dinner and silent auction, including Kaiser Federal Bank, Team Sho-Air, Specialized Bicycle Components, SoCal Endurance, Turner Bikes, Stan's Monrovia Cyclery, Mellow Johnny's, PAA Cycling Club, and Team Kareen. A total of $40,000 was raised.

SoCal Director Matt Gunnell said, "I am inspired that in these difficult times so many people came out to support the growth and sustainability of the SoCal League. We had 85 people at our inaugural event in 2008 and 150 in 2009. With this type of support I see a strong future for the League."

The emerging Colorado High School Cycling League will have its inaugural CycleFest dinner in Denver, on April 24th, 2010.

Contact: Matt Gunnell, matt@socaldirt.org

Sullivan Canyon reopens November 6th
November 5, 2009
by Sharon O'Rourke, Public Affairs Manager, The Gas Company

The Gas Company is pleased to announce it is completing the first phase of it's planned work in Sullivan Canyon by Friday, November 6, 2009.  The maintenance road has been re-established and 10 pipeline exposures have been covered with protective revetment mats.  The maintenance road now has the articulated concrete mats (revetment mats) in a few areas of the roadway to provide protection and covering for the pipelines.  The public should exercise caution when crossing these areas with the revetment mats.  By November 6th, the construction equipment and vehicles will be removed as well as ending the guard service.

Minor work to hydro-seed vegetation in certain areas will start the week of November 16th and last for approximately 2 weeks.  This work will be during weekdays only from 8am - 5pm.  The canyon will remain open to the public while this work is proceeding as cones will be placed and signage will be posted as a safety precaution due to the presence of vehicles and to protect the newly seeded areas.  Occasionally a water truck may be used to water these areas to help the growth of the new plantings.

We want to thank the public for its patience and courtesy while we worked to ensure the safe operation of our pipelines.  The second phase of our project will start next year approximately in the spring to cover the remaining pipeline exposure areas and to finish the planting of vegetation and the sycamore seedlings.

We also wanted to share with you that our security guard, stationed at the northern end of the canyon, observed a small brush fire off of dirt road Mulholland on Friday, Oct. 31st at approximately 11 p.m.  The fire was caused by a mylar balloon (silver metallic balloon) that was loose and touched the power line, creating sparks that set off a small brush fire.  Our guard called 9-1-1 to report the fire which brought an immediate response from the Los Angeles Fire Department's air and land crews.  The fire was limited to 1/2 acre. We are thankful that this guard was diligent, alert and responded quickly by calling in the Fire Department. 

NICA, IMBA forge new alliance for high school cycling

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) have recently signed a partnership agreement which states that IMBA and NICA will work together to cross-promote their efforts and engage the broad cycling community.

NICA executive director Matt Fritzinger said, "We are very pleased to formalize our partnership with IMBA -- the continued growth of high school mountain biking depends on trail access." He added, "Riding bikes is a freedom all youth should enjoy, and parents greatly support their kids riding on trails away from the dangers of traffic. IMBA does an incredible job of working with communities to build and maintain sustainable trail systems that work for all trail users."

"The success of the Northern and Southern California High School Mountain Bike Leagues has been truly remarkable," said IMBA executive director Mike Van Abel. "When I learned about the plan to replicate those successes on a national scale under the NICA banner, I hoped IMBA's club network might become a useful resource," he added, also noting that the partnership would help expand IMBA's demographic diversity and compliment existing youth programs such as National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.

About NICA and IMBA

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) is the National Governing Body for grades 9-12 interscholastic mountain biking. NICA was established 2009 with the support of founding national sponsor, Specialized Bicycle Components, as well as the generous support of the founding sponsor of the SoCal League, Easton Sports Development Foundation II. The aim of NICA is to foster the development of high quality competitive cross-country mountain biking programming for High School aged athletes. NICA provides leadership, governance and program support to promote the development of interscholastic Mountain Biking Leagues throughout the United States.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, and cooperation among different trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions.

Physician convicted in bicycle crash case
November 3, 2009
from the Los Angeles Times

A physician accused of deliberately injuring two cyclists by slamming on his car's brakes on a narrow Brentwood road was convicted Monday of mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon and other serious criminal charges.


Dr. Christopher Thompson is handcuffed by L.A. County Sheriffs after being found guilty on all 7 counts. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / November 2, 2009)

Dr. Christopher Thompson, 60, slumped forward and held his face in his hands after the verdicts were announced in a courtroom packed mostly with supporters and cyclists.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Mary Stone, who prosecuted the case, asked for Thompson to be jailed immediately, calling him a flight risk and a safety threat to cyclists.

"There's not a cyclist in Los Angeles who would feel comfortable with this defendant out on the road after this verdict," Stone told the court.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott T. Millington ordered that Thompson be taken into custody. Thompson, wearing a dark blue suit, grimaced and shook his head as a bailiff cuffed his hands behind his back.

The veteran emergency room doctor, who spent more than two decades working at Beverly Hospital in Montebello, was also convicted of battery with serious injury and reckless driving causing injury. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 3.

The three-week trial in the Superior Court's airport branch was watched closely by bicycle riders around the country, many of whom viewed the case as a test of the justice system's commitment to protecting cyclists. The July 4, 2008, crash also highlighted simmering tensions between cyclists and motorists on Mandeville Canyon Road, the winding five-mile residential street where the crash took place.

Prosecutors alleged that Thompson stopped his car after passing the two cyclists and shouting at them to ride single file. The cyclists testified that they began maneuvering to ride one after the other when they noticed Thompson's car approaching fast behind them but that the driver passed dangerously close before abruptly stopping.

Ron Peterson, a coach for USC's and UCLA's cycling team, was flung face-first into the rear windshield of the doctor's red Infiniti, breaking his front teeth and nose and lacerating his face. Christian Stoehr, the other cyclist, hurtled to the sidewalk and suffered a separated shoulder.

A police officer testified that Thompson told him soon after the accident that the cyclists had cursed at him and flipped him off, so he slammed on his brakes "to teach them a lesson."

Thompson testified that he never meant to hurt the riders. He said he and other residents were upset at unsafe cycling along the road, which has become an increasingly popular route for bicycle riders in recent years. But they had struggled to identify problem cyclists.

Thompson told jurors that the riders cursed at him and flipped him off when he yelled at them to ride single file. He stopped his car so that he could take a photo of the cyclists and believed he had left enough room for them.

But prosecutors alleged Thompson had a history of run-ins with bike riders, including a similar episode four months before the 2008 incident, when two cyclists told police that the doctor tried to run them off the road and braked hard in front of them. Neither of the riders was injured.

Outside court, the cyclists in the case said they were relieved at the outcome.

"Our hope is that this brings to light how vulnerable cyclists are out there," Peterson, 41, told reporters. His face was permanently scarred from the crash and he underwent reconstructive surgery on his nose, which he said remains numb.

Stoehr, 30, said the crash left him unable to work for months and that he rarely rides his bike anymore. Nevertheless, Stoehr said he felt some sympathy for Thompson as he watched the physician being led away in handcuffs.

"It's sad for both sides," Stoehr said. "I lost a lot of my time and my life, and he's losing a lot of his."

Report on the San Gabriel Watershed and Mountails Spectial Resources Study

September 3, 2009
by Steve Messer

Last night Hans Keifer, Steve Messer and Jim Hasenauer attended the public comment meeting put on by the National Park Service in Santa Clarita. The following is a summary of the presentation and our thoughts, concerns and feedback on the study.

History:

This study was mandated by Congress through a bill introduced by Hilda Solis back in about 2002 and passed in 2003. The study began in 2005, but this is the first much of the public has heard of the process, including me and other CORBA and IMBA volunteers. The study area includes much of the San Gabriel mountains, as well as the San Gabriel Watershed. The watershed includes the San Gabriel River drainage area within the national forest, as well as cities along the river and its watershed such as El Monte, Hacienda Heights, La Habra, Brea, Walnut, West Covina, Baldwin Park, Monrovia, La Verne,  and the Puente-Chino Hills area. See more on the study and the process.

This report is continued on its own web page.

Dirt Rag Magazine Credits CORBA with first volunteer mountain bike patrol group

September 1, 2009

In an article on the history of IMBA's National Mountain Bike Patrol (NMBP), Dirt Rag magazine reviews the role CORBA had in spearheading volunteer mountain bike patrols. To quote:

"Although the NMBP was officially 'started' in 1994, volunteer mountain bike patrol's roots run deep, back to the early days of mountain biking, when trails were rife with user conflict, and blanket mountain bike bans threatened great riding locations from coast to coast. The Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) was arguably the first organization to begin volunteer patrol activities with their Mountain Bike Unit (MBU), formed in 1988.

"Based in the Santa Monica Mountains, near Los Angeles, CORBA was at risk of losing many great riding venues. 'Due to frequent complaints about user conflict, land managers were throwing their hands up,' explains Blumenthal. 'The [mountain bike advocacy] toolkit had to be developed quickly.' So, with support from the National Park Service and the California State Department of Parks and Recreation, the patrol was formed, and became an overnight success, being nominated for the 'Take Pride in California Award' in 1991."

Read the entire article, 15 Years of Service: A Look Back at IMBA's National Mountain Bike Patrol.

August 31 Public Meeting on Sullivan Canyon Closure

A community meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 31 at 7pm at the WLA Municipal Center (1645 Corinth Ave, LA 90025) arranged by the Brentwood Community Council and Councilmember Rosendahl's staff.  Southern California Gas Company representatives will explain their project in greater detail and provide attendees an opportunity to ask their questions. The gas company still plans to close their canyon property to the public beginning September 1, 2009 and expect to re-open the canyon when the work is complete.

San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study

August 24, 2009

From the National Park Service, http://www.nps.gov/pwro/sangabriel/index.htm

The National Park Service is conducting a “special resource study” of portions of the San Gabriel River watershed and the San Gabriel Mountains. Our current newsletter presents several draft alternative concepts for the area, each of which offers a different collaborative, partnership-based approach to resource protection and public use and enjoyment, while respecting existing land management and ownership. You may download newsletter #4 from this web site or you may request a printed copy from our office. If you would like to provide comments on the newsletter online, click here.

In a special resource study, a proposed addition to the national park system receives a favorable recommendation from the National Park Service only if it meets all of the following criteria:
 
  • it possesses nationally significant natural or cultural resources;
  • it is a suitable addition to the system;
  • it is a feasible addition to the system; and
  • it requires direct NPS management, instead of alternative protection by other public agencies or the private sector.

We will be hosting five public meetings between August 31 and September 15 in cities throughout the study area. The schedule is listed below. Please join us at one of the public meetings to learn more about the draft alternative concepts, and to share your ideas, thoughts and concerns. Your comments by mail, e-mail and internet are welcome through October 30, 2009.

Public Meeting Locations and Times

We look forward to meeting you and hearing your ideas and comments at one of the following public meetings:

(Note: Because of the Station Fire burning in the area, some of these meeting times or locations may be changed. Check here for updates!)

El Monte (map)
Monday, August 31st
7pm - 9pm
City of El Monte Senior Center
3120 N. Tyler Avenue

Diamond Bar (map)
Wednesday, September 2nd

7pm - 9pm
Diamond Bar Center Ballroom
1600 S. Grand Avenue

Santa Clarita (map)
Thursday, September 3rd

7pm - 9pm
George A. Caravalho Activities Center
Santa Clarita Room A
20880 Centre Point Parkway

Glendora (map)
Monday, September 14th

7pm - 9pm
Glendora Public Library
140 South Glendora Avenue

Palmdale (map)
Tuesday, September 15th

7pm - 9pm
Larry Chimbole Cultural Center,
Lilac Room
38350 Sierra Highway

As directed by Congress in July 2003 (P.L. 108-042) , the National Park Service (NPS) is conducting a “special resource study” of portions of the San Gabriel River and its tributaries from the city of Santa Fe Springs to the north, and the San Gabriel Mountains within the territory of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy. This area includes portions of the Angeles National Forest, as well as many communities along the San Gabriel River. Many people, organizations, and agencies are working to conserve resources in this area to provide recreational opportunities, habitat restoration, watershed improvement, and flood protection. This study is intended to build on and complement the efforts that are underway.

Quick links:

 

Sullivan Canyon Alert!

August 22, 2009

Resources

From Michael R. Leslie, Director, Brentwood Hills Homeowners Association (with edits by CORBA)

Starting September 1, 2009, Sullivan Canyon will be closed while Southern California Gas rebuilds their road and reinforces the high-pressure gas pipeline. The length of the project and closure is uncertain, but it will last at least through October.

Many of us in the community who hike, ride horses, and bike in Sullivan Canyon in Brentwood know that this canyon is a unique natural resource, with its huge oak and sycamore trees, pretty stream and wildlife.  Because of its beauty, shady paths and easy access, Sullivan Canyon gets regular and constant use by kids, adults and senior citizens from all over West Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, and beyond.

Yet, without any meaningful CEQA review or public notice to the community, the Southern California Gas Company plans to rebuild the road and reinforce the pipeline, starting September 1, 2009 and continuing at least 6 weeks. The canyon will be closed to public acces during this time. This project will have the following environmental impacts:
 

  • Cut, prune and otherwise impact 185 protected trees, including the removal of 31 sycamore trees "up to 50 inches in diameter and 95 feet in height";
  • Grade a 12 foot wide road with wider turn-outs all the way up Sullivan Canyon from Queensferry to Mulholland;
  • Import 3100 cubic yards of fill and use 2100 cubic yards of in-situ cut material for the road bed;
  • Use articulated concrete mats and ungrouted rip-rap on 22 pipeline exposures and "backfill" 15 eroded sections on the road where it intersects the main stream and intermittent side streams;
  • Involve at least three excavations of 40 feet long by 15 feet wide at various depths;
  • Involve extensive brush cutting and vegetation removal, including the application of herbicides, all along the road construction and pipelines;
  • The road construction, brush clearance and tree cutting will be done first, starting September 1, 2009.
There was no meaningful review of this project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Gas Company claims it is entitled to a categorical exemption from CEQA review because the project is only a repair and maintenance project, with negligible or no expansion of use.  Yet the many admitted irreversible environmental impacts make clear this exemption is inapplicable.  Furthermore, the Gas Company did not notify our local homeowners' groups or the Brentwood Community Council that it was seeking permits to conduct this project, despite the fact that many of us either live immediately adjacent to Sullivan Canyon or frequently hike, bike and ride there.

Please read the attached excerpts of the various project documents.  We were only able to obtain these documents after making Public Records Act Requests to the various agencies.  By the time we were able to obtain these documents, the Gas Company contended that it already has the requisite permits for the work.  Their plan was to notify the community only after all permits were issued and the work is ready to be commenced.

Update: A community meeting will be held on Monday, August 31 at 7:00 pm. At this meeting, the Gas Company will explain the project and address questions from the public. Details.

Our only hope to have any time to review and understand this project before the bulldozers and chainsaws are unleashed in Sullivan Canyon--and our only chance to have any meaningful input into mitigating the serious environmental impacts of this project--is for all of us to immediately write, email and call the offices of Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Assemblyman Mike Feuer, Senator Fran Pavley, the California Department of Fish & Game, the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Gas Company.

We are including contact information and email addresses below for your convenience.
 
Nobody opposes the Gas Company's efforts to properly maintain and ensure their pipelines are safe, but we are very frustrated that they just ignored the community and only planned to notify us only after the permits were issued and the project was underway.  
 
The Gas Company should welcome reasoned community input, not be afraid of it.  They should agree to pause the project, hold a community meeting, and take advantage of the opportunity to educate and involve the many smart and committed people in the community, including the Brentwood Community Council, the many homeowner associations whose members will be affected, and interested environmental groups.

Please ask the Gas Company and your public officials to suspend the project and meaningfully consult with the community BEFORE they start work.  Once they start work, the trees will be gone and it will be too late.
 
Here is the contact information:

Councilman Bill Rosendahl
1645 Corinth Avenue
Room 201
West L.A., CA 90025
(310) 575-8461 
Fax:  (310) 575-8305

Councilman.Rosendahl@lacity.org
norman.kulla@lacity.org

California Department of Fish & Game
Jamie Jackson, Staff Environmental Scientist
Streambed Alteration Team
4949 Viewridge Ave.
San Diego, CA 92123
(626) 296-3430
jjackson@dfg.ca.gov


California Regional Water Quality Control Board

Valerie Carrillo
320 W. 4th Street, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 
(213) 576-6600
Fax:  (213) 576-6640
 vcarrillo@waterboards.ca.gov

Southern California Gas Company
Deanna Haines
Sharon O'Rourke
9400 Oakdale Avenue, SC9314
Chatsworth, CA 91311-6511
(310) 578-2669
So'rourke@semprautilities.com 

OTHER IMPORTANT PUBLIC OFFICALS TO CONTACT:

Assemblyman Mike Feuer
9200 Sunset Boulevard, PH 15
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Tel: (310) 285-5490
Fax: (310) 285-5499
ellen.isaacs@asm.ca.gov

Senator Fran Pavley
2716 Ocean Park Blvd.
Suite 3088
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 314-5214
Fax: (310) 314-5263

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky
821 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration 
500 West Temple Street 
Los Angeles, CA 90012 
(213) 974-3333 
(213) 625-7360 fax
zev@bos.lacounty.gov

 

Thanks for your prompt action!  Please circulate this news to your action networks and interested people.

 

Mt Lowe Truck Trail Closure

June 19, 2009

Due to a recent rock slide, the section of the Mt. Lowe Truck Trail (Forset Trail No. 2N50) is closed from its intersection with Eaton Saddle, continuing west 1/2 mile to its intersection with Markham Saddle as shown in the picture. The trail was closed starting on June 9th and the closure is in effect until June 8, 2010.

A 150 foot portion of the Mt. Lowe Truck Trail collapsed during a rock slide making it dangerous for public access. The rock slide has created a narrow section requiring trail users to traverse on a narrow section with loose gravel and soil. The remainder of the trail will remain open with signs posted at the beginning and end of the trail in addition to signs at the actual slide area.

Poop Predicament Has Los Angeles Horse Owners Raising a Stink


Fritz Bronner, a local horse owner and activist, feeds two of his five Arabian geldings in the corral behind his house in the Lake View Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles on April 8, 2008. Los Angeles is home to some 1,500 legally registered horses, but the actual count is more like 10,000, according to Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. Photographer: Nadja Brandt/Bloomberg News

Bloomberg -- The poop hit the fan when the last manure mulcher in Los Angeles closed shop.

The price of poop disposal is breaking the budgets of Los Angeles horse owners, as stable owners pass along the expense of taking horse droppings to landfills.

"The cost to get rid of this stuff has just skyrocketed,'' said Royan Herman, 65, who runs the Peacock Hill and J-Bar Ranch stables in the San Fernando Valley with her husband, Mark. "A lot of young families aren't able to afford a horse anymore.''

Los Angeles, the city of Hollywood stars, is also home to about 10,000 horses, said City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. Some estimates of the horse population run as high as 20,000 within city limits and 45,000 in all of Los Angeles County, which has 9.9 million residents.

Read the entire story...

Schwarzenegger proposal to help narrow Calif.'s huge deficit would close 220 state parks

By SAMANTHA YOUNG , Associated Press (reported in the Minneapolis - St. Paul Star Tribune)

Local parks slated for closure include

The California State Parks Foundation has compiled a complete list of parks proposed to be closed.

What you can do to help prevent closure of our parks

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget cuts could mean the closing of up to 220 state parks, among them the home of the world's tallest tree and other attractions that draw millions of visitors. Schwarzenegger this week recommended eliminating $70 million in parks spending through June 30, 2010. An additional $143.4 million would be saved in the following fiscal year by keeping the parks closed.

"This is a worst-case scenario," said Roy Sterns, a spokesman at the state parks department. "If we can do less than this, we will try. But under the present proposal, this is it."

Among the parks that could be closed, the parks department said Thursday, are Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay, Will Rogers' Southern California ranch and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which boasts the world's tallest tree, a giant that tops 370 feet. Even the Governor's Mansion in Sacramento is on the list.

The Legislature last year rejected the governor's proposal to close 48 state parks. But lawmakers said that with California's budget deficit now at $24.3 billion, the situation is so dire that it is likely some parks will close.

"Things that were previously dead on arrival are a lot more viable in a crisis like this," said Democrat Jared Huffman, chairman of the Assembly's parks and wildlife committee. "I think some cuts are coming to the parks, and they'll be cuts I won't like and the public won't like."

The state parks department said a $70 million cut would leave it with enough money to run just 59 of California's 279 state parks.

The state's famed park system attracts nearly 80 million visitors a year. William Randolph Hearst's Castle on the Central Coast and a dozen other so-called moneymakers would remain open, as would many Southern California beaches that attract millions of visitors year round.

But others that could close include: Fort Ross State Historic Park, the southernmost Russian settlement in North America; Bodie State Historic Park, one of the best-preserved Old West ghost towns; and Big Basin Redwoods, the oldest state park.

The proposal has angered conservationists and some Democrats in the Legislature, who say California's parks are treasured spots that help the state and local economy.

"State parks draw tourism to California," State Parks Foundation president Elizabeth Goldstein said. "This proposal makes the budget situation worse."

The foundation estimates the state gets a $2.35 return for every dollar it spends on parks.

California spends roughly $400 million a year running 279 state parks and beaches, with roughly a third of the money coming from the state general fund. The rest comes from user fees, which account for slightly more than a quarter of the revenue; bond funds; gasoline taxes; federal money; and other sources.

Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines said the state cannot afford to subsidize state parks when lawmakers are being asked to make severe cuts in even more vital areas.

"Parks are just not going to be a priority over public safety and education, as much as we hate to see them close," Villines said.

At least 2,000 park rangers, biologists, lifeguards, interpreters, architects and maintenance workers would be laid off if the proposal is adopted, said Sterns, the parks spokesman.

The layoffs would be in addition to 5,000 state positions the governor has already recommended cutting.

"When you cut that much, you have to let go highly trained teams of biologists that you can't get back in a year or two," Huffman said. "It's a myth to think you can mothball the entire system. These cuts will cripple the park system for a decade or more."

 

Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club works to keep mountain bikes off trails in Los Angeles

Chapter activists working to keep city parks hiker-friendly and mountain-bike free

By Carol Henning, Co-Chair, Southern Sierran Editorial Board. The following article appears in the June 2009 edition of the Southern Sierran, Vol 65 No6.

You're hiking down a steep trail, enjoying the view, trying to remember the name of a trailside wildflower when, whoosh! Inches from your left arm a mountain bike comes careening down the trail. Most close encounters with mountain bikes leave all parties unharmed - most, but not all.

"We have seen conflicts," reports Kevin Regan of the Department of Recreation and Parks. There have been "close calls and accidents." A Los Angeles City Ordinance prohibits bicycles on unpaved trails in all City parks. This ordinance was reaffirmed unanimously by the City Council in 2000. Moreover, this April, the Angeles Chapter passed a resolution supporting efforts to uphold the existing ordinance.

The backstory has been documented by Sierra Club hike leader, AI Moggia. 1995 saw the Concerned Off Road Bicycle Association (CORBA) requesting access to dirt trails in city parks from the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRAP), whereupon a Mountain Bike Task Force was formed including CORBA, DRAP, the L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT and the L.A. Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC). The L.A. City Planning Department spooned up this alphabet soup and other entities to formulate a Bicycle Plan Element. In 1996, the DRAP Commission denied requests for a mountain bike event in Griffith Park, citing the municipal ordinance and an opinion by the City Attorney. Also in 1996, the City Council adopted the Bicycle Master Plan as part of the Transportation Plan Element of the General Plan of L.A. City.

DRAP, CORBA, DOT and BAC studied the feasibility of opening City parks to mountain biking.

In 1998, LADOT City Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery and BAC member Alex Baum made a special presentation to DRAP. There was minimal public notice of three community meetings in 1999, but over 400 residents attended. 95 percent of the attendees expressed their opposition to biking on city parks' dirt trails. Despite the apparent dearth of public support, Elysian Park was selected in January 2000 for a mountain bike pilot program. Word of mouth and work by the Citizens' Committee to Save Elysian Park brought out more members of the public to a meeting at Grace Simons Lodge, where they opposed the mountain bike pilot program. A subsequent meeting brought out more community members, a vast majority of whom opposed the program. Elysian Park was spared, and the City Council passed the motion rejecting changes to the ordinance prohibiting mechanized use of City park trails.

Mountain bike advocates tightened the straps on their helmets and soldiered on. Perhaps feeling jilted by Recreation and Parks, they decided to hop onto the handlebars of the Department of Transportation. But is this not an issue of recreation rather than transportation? The DOT's Bicycle Master Plan is about cycling in the City. The focus is presumably on the transportation aspects of the bicycle plan, not on the thrills of jouncing down a narrow dirt trail, dodging (one hopes) hikers, runners and equestrians.

A September, 2008, memo by Jordann Turner, Bike Plan Project Manager, wondered "why and how the meetings in the past between cyclists/equestrians/etc. have been contentious." Might it have been those accounts of clobbered hikers, frightened horses and thrown riders? To avoid this sort of testimony, DOT decided to use a consultant who has experience with this subject matter to conduct small mediated working-group meetings. Attendance at these meetings was by invitation only, with no notice to the public. The Los Angeles Bike Plan Stakeholder Advisory Group consists of nine invited participants - three hikers, three mountain bikers and three equestrians. Where are the runners? Where are the dog-walkers? Where are the homeowners associations' representatives? They were not invited to the table.

It seems clear that the question is not whether mountain bikes should be permitted in City parks but which parks should allow them and how should access be designed. Two Sierra Club members represented hikers' interests at the first meeting. Neither was an official representative of the Angeles Chapter. After the show, the distinction between being a Sierra Club member and a designated Sierra Club spokesperson was explained to the facilitators. supposedly neutral consultants with ties to to the Osprey Group of Boulder, Colorado, whose website documents its experience securing trail access for mountain biking.)

Webmaster's note: Michelle Mowery, Bicycle Coordinator for the LA City Dept of Transportation (LADOT) testified recently that "The Needs Assessment ... identified bicycling and walking trails as the number one need. ... It identifies equestrian use as last on that list. So it's clear that there is a need and a desire for bicycle facilities within the parks."

For more on this issue, including video clips of outrageous claims during testimony, visit our LA City Parks web page.

Club policy on mountain bikes opposes their use in officially designated wilderness areas unless determined to be appropriate by analysis, review and implementation. The Park City Agreement (1994) between the Sierra Club and the International Mountain Bicycling Association called for site-specific analyses and stated that not all non-wilderness trails should be opened to bicycle use. Of concern are the effects of off-road biking on soil erosion, the impacts on plants and animals, and the displacement of other trail users. When considering the introduction of off-pavement bikes to a park, Sierra Club guidelines mandate consideration of these issues: whether the safety and enjoyment of all users can be protected, and whether there has been a public review and comment procedure for all interested parties. In this case, the response is no.

A late 2008 DRAP Citywide Parks Needs Assessment demonstrated virtually no demand for mountain biking [Webmaster's note: See the inset at right to evaluate the accuracy of this claim]; yet, a small advocacy group seems to be trying to sneak its agenda past an unsuspecting public. Most of us have not been invited to join the discussion, but we can make our voices heard. Send letters and e-mails to LADOT, to DRAP and to your city councilmember.

 

CORBA in the News:
Volunteers wage weekly fight with mountain trail erosion

From the Ventura County Star, Sunday, April 12, 2009


Burt Elliott, trail maintenance coordinator, leads volunteers and fellow members of the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Council to the Saturday work site. Volunteers cut back shrubs, cleared minor slides and upgraded runoff canals along a 1.4-mile stretch.

Encumbered by heavy tools, a dozen members of the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council met Saturday morning in the dirt parking lot of a trailhead on the Backbone Trail. Their mission: trail maintenance.

Oxnard resident Dave Edwards, group leader, said the purpose of the volunteer, nonprofit organization is establishing and maintaining the public trail system throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. That’s why he and his colleagues were shouldering pickaxes, grappling with loppers (oversized pruning shears) and swinging McLeods, the five-tooth rake with a cutting edge used by California Division of Forestry firefighters. They were heading out on a two-mile hike to combat trail ruts and erosion from rain and mountain bikes by digging water bars to drain rainwater from the trial.

There also was a report of two small landslides near the mountain crest that needed to be checked out and cleared if necessary. “We spend a lot of time putting in drains,” said Edwards, 62. “Maintaining these trails gives all of us a sense of accomplishment. We may only do 300 or 400 feet (of trail) today, but we keep coming back, even though the pay is lousy.”

And they do come back — every weekend and one Wednesday a month, 10 months a year. July and August are a respite because of the heat. Edwards said they are often joined by the Santa Monica Mountains Task Force of Sierra Club or members of Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA).

Burt Elliot, 76, of Thousand Oaks said he’s been a Trails Council member “going on 17 years.” “I hike, run and mountain bike the trails,” he said, striding briskly up an incline. “I’m a retired engineer, and I like to build things. It’s also neat to have a relationship with the park. Our crew leaders are actually unpaid staff.”


CORBA members Steve Clark of Newbury Park and Claudia Mitchell of Oxnard team up Saturday to groom Backbone Trail with the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Council.

At age 22, Celina Armenta was one of three in the group not eligible for AARP membership. Edwards said a lot of Trails Council members are retired, giving them more free time. Armenta drove from Downey to join the group for the first time. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara, but only recently became interested in hiking. “I’m not much of a hiker. I grew up in Los Angeles, where everything is flat,” she said between gasps for air. “All these older people can outhike me. They tell me how to fix the trail and the names of flowers and I say, ‘Cool.’ I definitely want to do this some more,” she added. “And I’m going to make my lazy friends come out here — forget the YMCA.”

Armenta said she might bring her friends to meet her new hiking friends at the 28th Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days — 2009. The three-day event will kick off April 24 at Point Mugu State Park. It’s a weekend devoted to building new trails and restoring old ones in partnership with the Trails Council, California State Parks, CORBA, California Native Plant Society, the National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains Natural History Association, Temescal Canyon Association, Santa Monica Mountains Task Force of Sierra Club and Conejo Sierra Club. Camping is free for trail workers. All volunteers are welcome; trail work experience is not required. Camp will be at the Danielson Ranch multiuse site under sycamore and oak trees in the heart of the park.

For more information, call 818-222-4550 or visit http://www.smmtc.org. More photos are available in the VenturaCountyTrails.org photo gallery.

Jeff Klinger, chairman of CORBA, responds to the statement in this article that "trail ruts and erosion... [are caused by] rain and mountain bikes"

The article indicates that the trail erosion was caused by two factors: rain and mountain bikes. Identifying one user group without mentioning the array of factors that contribute to erosion does not fairly portray that group and implies that erosion is somehow use-specific, when it is not.

Independent studies demonstrate that mountain bikes cause no more surface erosion than other types of trail use. And, many factors contribute to the erosion of trails, including natural and human sources. Water causes the most damage to trails, as it is the most erosive force of nature (that’s how we got the Grand Canyon). All trail recreation has some impact, however that impact is increased or decreased as a result of many factors, including trail design. Sustainable trail design and properly constructed water control features serve to minimize erosive effects of nature and trail users.

The bottom line is that trails are built by people primarily for recreational use. Because trails are unprotected by vegetation and exposed to the elements, particularly concentrated rainwater erosion and continuous plant growth into the open trail space, trails must be maintained or they will erode away and be overtaken by vegetation. Hiking and biking groups such as the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association take a leadership role and deploy volunteer teams year-round to maintain these precious resources for the community to enjoy. We welcome everyone to come out and join us.

 


Members of the Channel Islands High School Mountain Biking team make their way up a hill at the Point Mugu State Park on March 27, 2009. The team finished second place in the first race they participated in. Only one student had a bike last month when the team formed, leaving the rest of the students to borrow bikes.

Mountain Biking in the News:
Channel Islands High forms mountain bike club Trailblazers

From the Ventura County Star, Sunday, April 12, 2009

Luis Angel Ramos received a cheap mountain bike as a gift when he was 12. Ramos would ride it around the city streets in Oxnard and occasionally go as far as Camarillo. But Ramos realized there was an entire world beyond the pavement and wondered what it would be like to explore the back country on two wheels. The Channel Islands High senior never thought he would have the chance until this year.

Defying cultural stereotypes and overcoming financial hurdles, Channel Islands High has formed a mountain bike club. The Raiders are the only Ventura County team participating in the inaugural season of the Southern California Interscholastic Cycling League. They finished second in their first race last month while competing against many teams with more experience and better equipment. Their final race is May 3 at the Cow Pie Invitational in Santa Ynez.

“I really, really, really like it,” Ramos said. “The views are amazing when you are riding. Every time we are out high on a mountain, you can see all of Oxnard. It is just beautiful.”


Channel Islands High School Mountain Biking team assistant coach Alfredo Salcido of Oxnard takes a break at the Point Mugu State Park

The club was the brainchild of Erick Kozin, the owner of NEMA International, a mountain bike apparel company in Ventura. Kozin, 34, who raced professionally for five years, heard about the high school league while attending the CORBA Fat Tire Festival at Castaic Lake. Kozin thought it would be great to have a team from the county participate. His brother is a counselor at Channel Islands, so Kozin ran the idea by him and was put in contact with school administrators.

“I just really wanted to give back and do something kind of cool,” said Kozin, a Hueneme High graduate. “When I was in high school, we didn’t have anything like this. If you wanted to ride your bike, you were on your own. This is an opportunity for kids to do something positive that can stick with them forever.”

Channel Islands announced the formation of the club over the school intercom last November. Kozin expected maybe a handful of kids to show up for the first meeting, but ended up with more than 20. Most of the students expressed an interest in trying something outside of the average sports, although only one or two even owned a bike.

“It’s not your typical mountain bike team,” Kozin said. “These kids didn’t have any experience. They are learning as they go.”

Sophomore Shaylee Quezada wasn’t sure if she could join the club because she couldn’t afford the $200 fee. But Kozin assured students they wouldn’t be turned away as long as they made one promise. “If you can commit to this like you would any other sport, we will provide you with everything you need to be part of the club,” he said. “You just have to attend races and work hard.” That was a relief to Quezada. When asked if she ever owned a bike before, the outgoing 15-year-old replied, “I don’t think tricycles count.”


Channel Islands High School Mountain Biking team members Luis Angel Ramos, from left, Humberty Solorzano and Shaylee Quezada make their way down a hill at the Point Mugu State Park

Helping hands

Quality mountain bikes can cost anywhere from $500 to $4,000, a price nobody on the team can afford. But Channel Islands is receiving assistance from several sources to keep the team on the trails. Trek Bike Store in Ventura has loaned the club two bikes for this season while Kozin and assistant coach Alfredo Salcido are providing the other four. Last week, the Channel Islands Bike Club approved a $6,000 grant for the high school team, and Albabici LLC — an Italian cycling supplier in Oxnard — has given the team free shoes, bike seats and bags.

The team meets for practice three days a week after school. Kozin and Salcido use their vans to transport the team and bikes to local trails for training. “I have a love-hate relationship with going downhill,” Quezada said. “I like going really fast, it’s just that it is really bumpy and my bike wants me to get off of it sometimes. But I have to sit through and get down that hill.”

Learning proper mountain biking skills, technique and trail etiquette has instilled confidence in sophomore Robert Equihua. “It is awesome because you can go places where you have never been and it is very challenging,” he said. “You accomplish things you never thought you could actually do.” Like finishing second in the first race of the season despite hardly anybody knowing where Channel Islands was even located. “It was intimidating to see the other teams with a lot more experience that just had everything maybe handed to them,” Kozin said. “But our team left there feeling so good about themselves, and that was probably the biggest reward. I was probably more excited than they were.”

Blazing new trails

Quintin Easton is the president of the Southern California Interscholastic Cycling League. After being laid off from his job at Wells Fargo two years ago, Easton went on a mountain bike ride to figure out the next step in his life. He always enjoyed working with kids, and realized many were deprived of the joys of mountain biking. Easton wanted to start a series races for high school students, and discovered there was already a similar league in place in Northern California. He contacted the founders of the Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League, and inquired about extending it to Southern California. The founders said they would love to, but didn’t have the money.


Channel Islands High School Mountain Biking team member Robert Equihua, 15, and assistant coach Alfredo Salcido of Oxnard make their way up a hill at the Point Mugu State Park

Easton went to his father-in-law Jim Easton, who is the president of the Easton Sports Inc., which is known for producing archery and baseball and softball bats. “The Easton Sports empire was built on archery, but he told me there was money set aside for cycling as well,” Quintin Easton said. “He has $40 million in the Easton Foundation he has to give away. So we put together a plan and he liked it and gave the league $100,000 to expand.”

The four-race SoCal League mirrors the NorCal League in every way, but Quintin Easton has more ambitious goals for mountain biking. He wants to make the sport available at all public and private schools across America, and Channel Islands is a perfect symbol for his quest. “We believe very strongly that you can’t have tryouts for a school team. If you want to ride, you are invited to ride. You don’t have to be an expert and you don’t have to own your own bike,” Easton said. “All schools and all kids from any socioeconomic backgrounds are welcome.”

Ramos is slowly convincing his skeptical sister of that premise after recording his first individual top-10 finish last weekend. “She was joking around saying I was racing out there with the rich kids,” Ramos said. “She was basically saying Mexicans don’t really mountain bike, everyone else does. That is why I am trying to break those barriers. Hopefully in a few years it will be more common and more Ventura County schools will be doing it.”

 

Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew Visiting Santa Barbara March 26 - 29

Santa Barbara, March 7, 2009 - The International Mountain Bicycling Association's (IMBA) Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew will be in SANTA BARBARA, March 26th through March 29th to talk trails, teach people sustainable trail building technique, and spend quality time on trail with volunteers. The visit is one of 70 stops on the 2009 schedule. Everyone is invited to attend the weekend's events – but registration is required for the Trail Building workshop.


Subaru Commitment
to the Outdoors

 

The award-winning Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program includes two full-time, professional teams of trail experts who travel North America year-round, leading IMBA Trail building Schools, meeting with government officials and land managers, and working with IMBA-affiliated groups to improve mountain biking opportunities. IMBA's Crews have led more than 1,000 trail projects since the program debuted in 1997.

The Crews teach "sustainable" trail building, which means building trails that last a long time and require minimal maintenance. This helps reduce trail damage, protects the environment, and enhances visitor enjoyment.

Now in its eighth year, the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program is more popular than ever.

The Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program has inspired great volunteer trail work across the U.S. and abroad - a big help to government agencies and land managers who have limited funding for trail construction and upkeep.

Coming to SANTA BARBARA are Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew members Inga Beck and Jason Van Horn.  Beck hails from the San Francisco area while Van Horn is from Oregon.  They bring a unique combination of professional experience to the program – from coaching mountain bike skills, working with a multitude of environmental organizations, to swing dancing and yoga – on top of being trained as some of the country's top trail builders.  They're also committed volunteers who have logged hundreds of hours building trails and performing outreach work with a host of public agencies.

All are welcome to join the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew leaders when they come to town. Below is a schedule of events that are open to the public:

  • March 26th, Presentation “Club Care – Reinvigorating Your Club”: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Faulkner Gallery - Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 East Anapamu Street.  Open to the public.
    • This presentation focuses on techniques that advocacy groups across the country have used to reach goals, overcome, challenges, and build up their community.  Any trails, outdoor, environmental, or sports based organization will benefit from this workshop.  Included will be ideas on sustaining boards of directors, recruiting members, and making sure that everyone has a great time participating in their organization.  No cost.

  • March 28th, IMBA Trail Building School and trail work.
    • 8:30am - 5:00pm, Louise Lowery Davis Center 1232 De La Vina St Santa Barbara, CA: Pre-registration is required. Registration: http://go.imba.com/santabarbara or register by email to chris.orr@sbmtv.org or ray@sbtrails.org.

      This workshop instructs hikers, cyclists, and equestrians sustainable trail building/maintenance philosophies and trains volunteers and land managers to use these skills on their trails and in their community.   The workshop will include a half day (8:30am -12:30pm) in class instruction and a half day on a trail applying and refining skills. Location of the trail will be announced in the workshop.  Carpooling is strongly encouraged.  No cost.

  • March 28th,  After Trail Work Social with the IMBA TCC, Location TBA
  • March 29th, TCC Fun Ride , 10am Location TBA

For more information and to register for the IMBA Trailbuilding School, contact Chris Orr (chris.orr@sbmtv.org) or register at http://go.imba.com/santabarbara

For a complete list of visit dates, photos and additional information on the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew visit www.imba.com.

The previous visit of the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew to the region was to Ventura County in 2005. You can view the photo galleries of trailwork and the following recreational ride.

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered near Philadelphia, the company markets and distributes all-wheel drive Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru of America, Inc., is the only car company that offers symmetrical all-wheel drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line. Subaru has been the best-selling import wagon in America for the past 20 years, based on R.L. Polk & Company new vehicle retail registration statistics calendar year-end 2002.

About IMBA

The International Mountain Bicycling Association creates, enhances and preserves trail opportunities for mountain bikers worldwide. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trail work participation, cooperation among different trail user groups, and innovative trail management solutions. IMBA's worldwide network includes 32,000 individual members, more than 500 bicycle clubs, and 400 corporate partners and dealer members. For more information visit www.imba.com.

About SBMTV

Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers is a group of advocates dedicated to building a trail community and sustainable trail system through continued volunteer work. The Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers formed over 20 years ago in response to threatened trail closures. Since then the Trail Volunteers have worked hard to promote responsible mountain bike trail use and volunteer trail maintenance activities. We are currently focusing our energy on rider education and the development of closer ties between members of the trail community.

About the Santa Barbara County Trails Council

Since 1969, the Santa Barbara County Trails Council has dedicated itself to working with local government agencies and other organizations on the development of a safe and sustainable trail network, acquisition of new trails and support for volunteer trail maintenance programs. SBTC plays a key role in bridging the differences among trail user groups as we work towards building a network of trails that serve the entire community.

 

COSCA Seeks Volunteers for Trailhead Outreach

March 2, 2009

The Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee (COSTAC) of the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) needs two volunteers for any of the Trails Outreach events. These events are scheduled for Saturday or Sundays from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. at various COSCA trailheads (see below). The volunteers will provide information to hikers, mountain bikers and runners about the Conejo Open Space, such as
 
  • trail maps
  • hike and event schedules
  • environmental education
  • COSCA volunteer opportunities

Training is provided on site on the day of the event.

Please email Steve Forman (Outreach Coordinator) if you would like to help out on any of these dates forman3d@hotmail.com

March 7th: Los Robles (south end of Moorpark Rd.)
May 16; Lang Ranch
June 27: Los Robles
October 3rd: Wildwood

 

Energy Bar Recall Due to Salmonella Contamination

A very large number of products that contain peanut butter manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America have been recalled because of salmonella contamination. Among them are some of our favorite energy bars. Check the list of recalled energy bars. If you have any that are on the list, return them to the place you purchased them. Do not eat them under any circumstances!

Fighting to Save Mankind: CORBA's Jeff Klinger sees the big picture

From Mountain Bike Action magazine, December 2008, page 70

"It's  one thing that I'm alive today because of mountain bikes," reflects Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association's (CORBA) Jeff Klinger. "I want everyone in Los Angeles to have the same chance as me. One of the greatest things about mountain biking is that it is so much fun and so healthy. America needs it bad. We are overtaken by obesity, diabetes and other poor health issues related to nonactivity. Mountain biking is one of the solutions. It's stimulating, never gets boring. and is a very addictive cardiovascular exercise. You can't stop doing it! CORBA's goal is to further mountain bike recreation in and around the Los Angeles area.

"What happens here is recognized worldwide, and CORBA isn't one person." continues Jeff. "It's a team effort by a large group of extremely dedicated mountain bikers. Advocacy is 24/7. It takes a lot of time and patience. To reclassify a hiking trail as a multi-use trail is a lengthy process. First, the land managers have to do an environmental study. We have to check if endangered plants and animals inhabit the trail area. It requires working with local, state and national land agencies. To make it happen, CORBA and loyal members have to speak publicly, attend numerous meetings, and do a lot of letter writing.

"I have a Masters in Environmental Studies," adds Jeff. "It helps bring CORBA more success. When mountain biking hit in the late 1980's. the Santa Monica Conservancy shut the trails down. Since then, we've proved what a legitimate, respectful and conscientious group of people mountain bikers are. One of our greatest successes is opening up the Will Rogers part of the Backbone Trail. That is primarily what CORBA does; we rally for mountain bikers to keep the trails open. From the Santa Monica Mountains we have branched out to the San Gabriels, Palos Verdes, Verdugos, Santa Susannas and Ventura County. We also hold organized rides, a youth adventure program, monthly trail workdays, and monthly skill classes.

EPILOG: Mountain biking taught Jeff Klinger about himself. Half a year ago he noticed that his body was no longer reacting well to intense effort. Jeff went to the doctor and insisted that there was a major problem. They found hereditary blockage in the coronary artery and immediately performed emergency surgery. That is how mountain biking saved Jeff's life. CORBA can be reached by calling (818) 773-3555 or at www.corbamtb.com

 

SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League Launched with Backing from Easton Sports Development Foundation II

August 29, 2008

OAKLAND , CA - The Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League (NorCal League) will launch the Southern California Interscholastic Cycling League (SoCal League) in the 2009 academic year with grant support from the Easton Sports Development Foundation II.

The new league is based on the successful model of the NorCal League, now in its eighth year, which currently has reached a membership of over 400 high schoolers, 150 coaches, and 35 schools from within the region. Matt Fritzinger, Executive Director of both the NorCal and SoCal leagues, said, "We are tremendously grateful for the generosity of Mr. Easton and his foundation. The grant allows us to launch a new league, and that has been a dream of ours for several years. With the SoCal League, we'll be fostering the same values of life-long physical fitness, community, and self-confidence combined with athletic competition that has been so successful in Northern California."

The NorCal League has developed methods and curriculum for introducing young riders to the world of mountain bike racing, as well as recruiting and training coaches that are committed to producing amateur athletes who are gracious in both victory and defeat, and are respectful of their environment and community. The SoCal League is one of the first few recipients of an ESDF II grant in part because of the proposal's emphasis on coaching, community, and making cycling a main-stream high school sport. Fritzinger said, "We know that good coaching means working closely with families, and helping athletes create a balanced life perspective. We aim to take the SoCal high school mountain bike teams in the same direction as we have in Northern California working to make cycling as important as baseball, football and soccer in the fabric of our high schools."

For information about the SoCal League visit www.socaldirt.org and visit their booth at CORBA's Fat Tire Fest on October 12, 2008. Also, visit CORBA's SoCal League web page.

 

Urge California Decision Makers to Adopt Bike-Friendly Land Protection Measures

June 27, 2008

From the International Mountain Bicycling Association

The Assembly Committee on Natural Resources recently passed a bill -- authored by Assembly member Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus -- that directs the state to assess the suitability of numerous state lands in Northern California for Wilderness designations.

Bicyclists value natural landscapes and access to trails that bring us closer to nature. Because our activity is a quiet, low-impact and human-powered use that is compatible with wild settings, we believe many of these Northern California areas should not be protected with Wilderness designations, which would effectively prohibit bike access.

IMBA California Policy Advisor Tom Ward has testified in front of the committee and many members expressed their support for mountain biking — but they still passed the bill out of committee. Unless they hear from the mountain bike community, the bill will keep moving and suggest massive closures at three important parks.

There are many ways to protect these important places without banning the existing use of mountain bicycling. Cyclists need to rally and make sure their assembly member hears from our constituency.

Take Action!

IMBA's simple online comment form takes seconds to complete! Tell the governor and your state senator and representative you support land protection that allows bicycling to continue.

A quick phone call can be even more effective. Click here to find contact information for your elected officials.

Please also forward this alert to all mountain bikers, bike shops and industry employees you know.

Additional Information

Assembly Bill (AB) 2923 passed from committee with a 6-2 vote and awaits further review in the Assembly Appropriations Committee

Sponsored by the California Wilderness Coalition, the bill directs the Resources Agency and the State Lands Commission to assess whether selected state lands merit wilderness designation.

Mountain biking is an existing use in several of these areas, including Robert Louis Stevenson State Park and Henry W. Coe State Park.

Mountain bikers also have a long-standing proposal to create shared-use trails in Austin Creek Redwoods State Park.

Because Wilderness designations would prohibit bike access in these parks, we urge that these areas should be protected through other means.

IMBA California’s Tom Ward is meeting with key Senate staffers and will keep the pressure up to ensure that mountain bike access is protected.

 

New Rancho Palos Verdes policy for bikers, hikers and equestrians satisfies few

June 7, 2008


Runners take the Burma Road through the Portuguese Bend Reserve. Because preserving habitat takes top priority, the city of Rancho Palos Verdes has established limits on the use of trails in the reserve. The trails were reopened to the public under the new rules Friday. (Steve McCrank, Staff Photographer)

By Melissa Pamer, The Daily Breeze Staff Writer

With some of the most sublime ocean views in the South Bay, the steep, narrow trails in Rancho Palos Verdes' Portuguese Bend Reserve draw fierce allegiance and occasional territoriality from hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians alike.

Now, following the reopening Friday of the 417-acre canyon park after a four-month trail closure, a new set of rules - dictating which trails may be traversed on foot, on bike or on horseback - will be put to the test.

Few are pleased with the new access plan, which was created after months of debate by a citizen committee and approved by the City Council earlier this year.

"We've gone with the least bad solution," said Gordon Leon, a member of the committee who counts himself as a representative of all three "user groups."

"The fact that nobody's happy means that everybody had to make compromises. Any way you look at it, by allowing people up there, you impact habitat," Leon said. "When it comes right down to it, at the top of the priority list is habitat. Then there's everything else."

Under the plan, cyclists will have access to far fewer trails, and many of the most challenging and popular paths will be off-limits to bikes. More than half of the trails will be closed to all users. There are no signs barring access to closed trails - so if a trail isn't marked, its use isn't allowed, officials said.

Enforcing the new rules may prove a challenge, council members acknowledged at a Tuesday meeting in which they approved the reopening of the reserve.

"When I last looked, the signage was still inadequate," Councilman Tom Long said before voting in favor of the reopening. "We need resources to enforce the rules."

For now, the Sheriff's Department is responsible for enforcement. City staff will request sporadic visits from deputies if there are regular

 
reports of illicit trail use. Penalties for violators - currently subject to a fine of up to $1,000 under city code - may change if the city follows a Sheriff's Department recommendation to give only a written warning to first-time offenders.

So far, it's clear that what some called a "lawless" atmosphere hasn't entirely changed. Earlier last week, before the side trails reopened, evidence could be seen that the closure had not left the area to the lizards. Prints from hiking boots, hooves and tires marked dusty side trails. Hikers could be seen in off-limit areas of the reserve. At one juncture, a new trail sign had been shorn off at its base.

It may take time for the new rules to be respected, said Andrea Vona, executive director of the nonprofit Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, which manages the reserve along with other nearby areas. She's hopeful that signs and a new map will keep users in line.

"Our general philosophy is it's going to take community buy-in - to make this a successful reserve - from all user groups," Vona said.

The city's "timeout," which began Jan. 31 and was intended to allow the land to heal from overuse, interrupted a decadeslong period of unregulated recreation in the canyon area.

Purchased in 2005 for $17 million - funded largely by grants and $4 million raised from the community - the coastal sage scrub-covered land had been long used by the public with the tacit approval of a private owner. The trails that crisscross the hillside, some running parallel and just feet from each other, offer scenic hiking and horseback riding. With its sharp turns and steep descents, the area became popular beginning in the early 1980s with mountain bikers, some of whom cleared brush for spots to perform tricks.

"It's been sort of a free-for-all," said Ara Mihranian, the city's principal planner. "There were areas that were used for jumps and free-riding. That's no longer part of the plan."

The new reserve entered the spotlight in July 2006 when the Public Use Master Plan committee, a 15-member citizen group, began analyzing uses of all the city's open space, including nine other reserves. Some members, who viewed bikers as harmful to the reserve and disruptive to peaceful hikes and horseback rides, wanted cyclists barred from the area altogether.

"It's an organized assault. It's not just locals; they come from all over," said former Mayor Ann Shaw of the cyclists' use of the reserve. A member of the PUMP citizens committee, Shaw came down firmly against the bikers.

"If you're exhilarated it ought to be from the scenery, not because you're going fast," Shaw said. "(Bikers) are not there for the primary purpose of the preserve, which is preservation of the flora and the fauna."

Participants said the PUMP meetings became repetitive rehearsals of conflicts between equestrians, hikers and bikers. Some detailed instances of confrontation on the trail, particularly between bikes and horses. Differing views on the groups' own effects on habitat and trail degradation also separated the sides.

The cyclists' defense fell in part to committee member Troy Braswell, who in 2004 helped found a local branch of Concerned Off-road Bicyclists Association, or CORBA, which seeks to protect biker access and maintain trails.

The group - which numbers around 250, Braswell said - has done regular restoration work on the city's trails, including the 154-acre Forrestal Reserve, next to Portuguese Bend.

Under a previously approved city plan, most trails in Forrestal remain open to all users. But the area is less popular with bikers than the neighboring reserve, which bikers sometimes call "Del Cerro" after a nearby municipal park, Braswell said.

On Saturday, National Trails Day, CORBA was set to co-sponsor several hours of volunteer work in Portuguese Bend, which is treasured as some of the best riding in central Los Angeles County, and by far the best in the South Bay.

Braswell acknowledged that a few irresponsible or disrespectful riders have made a bad name for bikers in the reserve. But he said incidences of conflict between user groups were rare.

"The habitat issue is bikers going off trail. I have to admit, that has occurred," Braswell said. "The people who were doing that had no understanding of the habitat, and there was no rules or no management at all that told them what to do. We call it the vacant lot mentality."

`Free-for-all' culture

Areas off limits to cyclists

Since CORBA-Palos Verdes was founded, the group has sought to educate riders on proper trail etiquette and respect for the environment, Braswell said. But that hasn't seemed to sway enough supporters to their side this time around.


Ishibashi trail is open to all users, but cyclists are barred from the wide Ishibashi Farm trail, which they argue can accommodate more use. (Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer)

Under the new rules, the Grapevine, a Portuguese Bend trail beloved by mountain bikers, has been limited to horses and hikers. Two wide trails - Ishibashi Farm and Water Tank - that can accommodate multiple users more easily than most of the reserve's narrow paths have also been deemed off-limits for cyclists. And, because so many small spur trails have been shut down, paths that are shared among all three user groups will be more crowded, Braswell said.

"By closing so many trails, they've basically cut bikes out," Braswell said.

But some who have been critical of bikers aren't thrilled with the outcome either.

"There are no victories," Shaw said. "I will be happy when we see the trails being actually used properly."

The city is set to review the trails plan for Portuguese Bend Reserve in six months.

 

Fire Danger Level Being Raised on the Angeles National Forest

June 6, 2008

Arcadia, Calif. –   The Fire Danger Level on the Angeles National Forest is being raised from “Moderate” to “High,” effective June 6, 2008 as summer temperatures continue to dry out vegetation and the forest prepares for an increase in summer visitors.  The “High” fire danger level is the third in a six-level, graduated fire danger rating system. A variety of factors determine the level, including the moisture in vegetation, weather conditions and firefighting equipment needs due to national fire activity.  Despite the change, there are no new campfire restrictions:  Open wood and charcoal fires will still be permitted in developed campgrounds and picnic areas only. Gas and propane powered stoves and grills are permitted in non-developed areas with a valid California Campfire Permit.

Spark arrestors (required year-round) should be checked to make sure they are in good working order on all off-road motorcycles, chain saws and other equipment with internal combustion engines. Travelers through the Forest should remain on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass.

Visitors should also be reminded that some closures remain in effect. This includes areas affected by the Ranch Fire (west of I-5) and the Buckweed Fire (northwest of Hwy 14), including the popular Rowher Flat OHV area.  In addition, approximately 1,000 acres in the vicinity of Cooper Canyon (north of the Angeles Crest Hwy) remain closed in order to protect critical habitat of the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, a federally endangered species. Williamson Rock, an area frequented by rock climbers, and a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail lie within the closed area. Hikers can take a detour around the area by departing the trail (northbound) at Eagles Roost and taking the highway to Cloudburst Summit, a distance of 4.5 miles.

Contact:  Sherry Rollman or Stanton Florea at (626) 574-5208

“Know Before You Go” to the Angeles National Forest. Find out about local conditions at your destination prior to leaving by contacting the following offices:

  • Forest Supervisor’s Office – Arcadia, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (626) 574-1613
  • Los Angeles River Ranger District, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (818) 899-1900
  • San Gabriel River Ranger District, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (626) 335-1251
  • Santa Clara-Mojave Rivers Ranger District, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (661) 296-9710

 

Trail Race Is On – Trail in Good Shape Thanks to Dedicated Volunteers

May 17, 2008

By Bill Coburn and Pete Siberell, sierramadrenews.net

The Mt. Wilson Trail Race is scheduled for Saturday, May 24th at 7:30am sharp. Though it is the 42nd running of the race, it is the 100 year anniversary of the first race, run by nine runners back in 1908. The men ran seven miles from Sierra Madre up to Mt. Wilson, rested half an hour, then came back.

From 1912 to 1929, there was no race, some say because the runners' interest was waning due to the popularity of the automobile. Half-way between Sierra Madre and Mt. Wilson was an orchard of apples, cherries, plums and chestnuts that soon became a public resort known as "Orchard Camp." In 1930, the trail race was started again to draw attention to Orchard Camp, and for the first time, the race was expanded to include women and young girls.

The race was held sporadically until the late 1940's when it was abandoned completely. It was revived in the autumn of 1965, and over the years evolved to its present format. In the spring of 1987, it was held in conjunction with Search and Rescue Days. It has been run annually ever since, but this year, the Centennial of the first race, it nearly wasn’t. The Santa Anita Fire closed down the trail and did some major damage to the hillside on which the trail sits.

According to Pete Siberell, chairman of the Mt. Wilson Trail Race Committee, the work literally started while there were still fires on the mountain on Monday, April 28. A meeting of the Committee was held in Kersting Court, and the members resolved to get the trail ready in time to have the race go on as planned. “I received 15-20 calls and emails on that day from people who wanted to help,” said Siberell. “The first step was assessing the damage, which we did in short order right after the trail was closed. The majority of damage occurred in a stretch less than a mile-long, between the fire road just above the trailhead and the switchbacks just short of First Water.” While there is significant damage on the ridge to the east of the trail, the ridge on which the trail runs is relatively unscathed north of First Water up to Orchard Camp, 3.3 miles up from the foot of the Trail.

Charlie Bell, a long-time Trail Blazer who has tended the trail for many years, went up the trail numerous times with other colleagues to assess its condition and to start grooming the trail. Peter McNulty, Gary Hilliard, Mark Gage, Mark Hacker, Pete Siberell, Brian Simms, John Grace and other CORBA members and mountain bikers took part. According to Siberell “The work was mostly clearing the “slough” made up of dirt and rocks that had fallen onto the trail from above when vegetation burned up, and clearing dead vegetation. It made for extremely grimy work, as clouds of dust came back in our faces from below the trail. Although we were equipped with masks, we looked like coal miners coming off the trail.”

Some volunteers worked on the trail during the day while it was still closed to the public, but many came after completing their work day at their jobs, arriving sometimes at 6pm or later and working for an hour and a half or two until the sun went down. A CORBA member who lives in Sierra Madre put together a volunteer team for last Saturday morning (May 10). With help and donations, he organized about 20 workers. The Department of Public Works lent tools, while the Only Place in Town provided sandwiches, Starbucks sent beverages, and Leanora Moss and Webb-Martin Realtors provided cash for refreshments. Defending women’s champion (and pregnant) Sharon Pevsner delivered the sandwiches to the hungry workers. The workers not only put final touches on the trail, but even worked above First Water on the part of the trail that was not fire-damaged.

Charlie Bell (who is the acknowledged expert on the trail, based on his years of experience helping to maintain it), the world famous Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, and Pete Siberell with the Mt. Wilson Trail Race Committee had the final say as to when the Trail could be re-opened to the public. Charlie assessed the trail on Friday, May 9 and thought the trail should be opened as soon as possible, for two reasons: first, so runners could familiarize themselves with the new section of the trail and second, so that runners and hikers could tramp down the trail as much as possible before the race, as it was soft in many sections.

Jeremy Heiner, a Search and Rescue volunteer who is also on the MWTR committee, declared the trail safe with some recommended precautions. And Pete Siberell ran up and down the trail numerous times to make sure the trail was race ready. Upon hearing those recommendations, the city opened the trail the afternoon of May 9th and agreed with Siberell the race would be run as scheduled, absent any mudslides occurring before then!

That doesn’t mean the work is finished. Crews will continue going up to clear slough that will have fallen on the trail between now and race day. Heiner and Siberell will be going up the trail before race day to flag any spots still considered dangerous for runners, and Search and Rescue plans to add another eleven volunteers to the twenty he already had scheduled along the damaged trail on race day so they can be ready to respond in case of a fall. And finally, Siberell will be sending out emails to runners to caution them about race conditions. He will also provide specific pre-race instructions before the race begins on the morning of the race.

Said Siberell “As with the way the community came together during the fire, it has similarly bonded to bring the trail back to us, literally right before our eyes. The 100th anniversary of the running of the Mt. Wilson Trail Race will take place, right over the very mountain that was ablaze and had all of us in such anxiety and suspense! But knowing the citizens and their love of volunteering and the Mt. Wilson Trail, that is to be expected.”

The Committee stopped accepting applications weeks ago, when the maximum allotment of three hundred runners was met. Runners who want to check in early can come to the Pasta Dinner event in Kersting Court on Friday night from 6P to 8PM. Runners can pick up their race number and t-shirt early and have a great pasta dinner from Cafe 322. Proceeds from the race will go to SM Search & Rescue. As a bonus, John Robinson will be providing a history of the Mt. Wilson Trail at 7:00P.

Spectators are encouraged to come out Saturday morning, as there will be plenty going on to entertain them while they wait for the competitors, friends and family to make it back across the finish line. Kersting Court will be filled with booths from Elite Fitness Boot Camp, New Balance, Patagonia, Jamba Juice, Kaiser, the Sierra Madre Historical Society, and Train fitness center. Local singer/songwriter Lisa Turner will be entertaining the crowds with her "Celtic-tinged acoustic power folk rock." And for the adults this year, the Sierra Madre Rotary is sponsoring a beer garden where folks can find a little post race refreshment. Proceeds from the beer garden will be donated to the City’s Fire Fund. There will be a Children's Art Show co-sponsored by the Sierra Madre Community Arts Commission. And at 8am, half an hour after the Trail Race start, the Third Annual Kid’s Fun Run will take place for children three and up. The Fun Run, sponsored by CATZ (MWTR Committee's Jim Liston is President) starts at the same starting line as the grown-ups’ race, and the kids run up Baldwin Ave. and back down to cross the same finish line as the adults.

Siberell is planning to put a sign up on the trailhead next week. It is on behalf of the Mount Wilson Trail Race Committee, thanking the trail workers for their wonderful efforts. The community is encouraged to come out on Race Day and show their support, as well, for both the runners of the grueling race, and the volunteers who helped ensure that this Centennial edition of the race is run.

 

Buy a Cell Phone for Mountain Biking Access!

May 19, 2008

(Note: As of March 2010, Phones for Good is no longer a viable concern.)

CORBA has partnered with Phones For Good. Phones For Good is an online retailer of cellular phones dedicated to raising money for nonprofit organizations. PFG offers a broad selection of phones and often, more competitive pricing than traditional retailers. Many phones are free, and they are an authorized Agent of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Nextel and T-Mobile. When you buy a new cellular phone and plan through the Phones For Good website and select CORBA, CORBA will earn $40.00 - $50.00 for each new purchase. Check it out at http://www.phonesforgood.com/pfg/go/245.

Learn about other businesses that will donate to CORBA when you use them.

 

Mustard Growth on the New Millennium Trails in Calabasas

May 9, 2008

Spring has sprung and so did the Mustard plants! The New Millennium Trail has become so overgrown with this plant the trail is unusable at this time! The CORBA Trail Crew was out on 4/15 and 4/17 working on the trail. It was a slow process but we managed to clear .7 of a mile from the intersection of the Bark Park Trail heading south.  There is still much work to be done!

CORBA has been communicating with the Mountains Restoration Trust (MRT) to come up with a solution to get this great trail passable once again! The MRT has mobilized their Crew to work on brush removal on the trail. The CORBA Trail Crew returned to the trail on 5/9 and worked on some slides and erosion problems on the South side of the trail near Normans Way.

The MRT Crew has cleared the brush from Parkway Calabasas past Normans Way/Stokes Canyon to the switchbacks and Parkway Calabasas towards Calabasas Road/Gun Club Road past the water tank on the ridge above the other set of switchbacks.

We hope to be able to report very soon that the entire trail is once again usable!

Web pages to check out:

December 7, 2008 Update: The trails are completely clear of mustard and other weeds.

 

The Mount Hillyer Project

May 2, 2008

CORBA is pleased to announce the approval of our proposal for a new trail in the Angeles National Forest.  The new Rock & Rail Trail will be a 1 mile long trail at the summit of Mount Hillyer near Chilao. It will include many technical features. Read all about it on our Mt Hillyer Project web page.

 

Bicyclist in trouble again over illegal trail at China Camp

May 1, 2008

by Gary Klien, Marin Independent Journal

A San Rafael man who built an illegal bike trial on federal land in 2001 is in legal trouble again - this time for carving a trail in China Camp State Park, authorities said.

Michael Philip More, 54, was charged Thursday in Marin Superior Court with willful or negligent destruction or removal of plants and dead wood, diverting or obstructing the natural flow of a stream, resisting a peace officer and allowing a dog to roam off-leash in a restricted area, prosecutors said.

More is accused of digging an illegal bike trail into a hillside, hacking down tree limbs and constructing rock paths through two drainage ditches, authorities said. The quarter-mile trail is at the end of Robinhood Drive in San Rafael's Glenwood neighborhood, which borders the state park.

The cost of repairing the damage is estimated at $20,000, said Kathryn Mitchell, a senior county prosecutor.

Dave Gould, the superintendent overseeing state parks in Marin, said the damage to the natural resources was "significant."

"It looks like chainsaws were used and trail-building tools to carve out the hillside," he said. "This isn't where 15 people walked up and down the hillside and you can see their path - this is an attempt to construct an illegal trail."

More, who could not be reached for comment, has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Patrick Ciocca, said More would be "loathe to engage in a public discussion" about the allegations while preparing his defense.

"It would not be beneficial for him to enter into a public dialogue," Ciocca said.

Park rangers received a tip about the trail in March, when a resident noticed unusual activity in the area. A ranger investigating the trail found More at the scene, and More allegedly tried to flee.

More was cited, but not arrested, while prosecutors reviewed the case. He is scheduled to be appear in court on May 9.

Alex Burnham, president of the San Rafael-based Access4Bikes advocacy group, said he is concerned that the case will tarnish the entire bicycling community and inflame tensions between cyclists and noncyclists. The issue of trail use has fueled years of acidic conflict among hikers, bikers, equestrians and dog owners, with the county sometimes resorting to barbed wire to block cyclists from trails.

"We do not condone this behavior," Burnham said. "We advocate for legal trails. É In Marin County, the trail user community is so polarized that anything that occurs is a blight that gets thrown on the community of mountain bikers."

More was once a prominent bicycling activist, serving on the Marin County Open Space District Trails Committee. But he resigned the position in 2001 when federal authorities accused him and two other men of carving a four-mile illegal bike trail into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Bolinas Ridge.

All three men were indicted by a federal grand jury and eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanors. They were ordered to pay more than $34,000 in restitution for the destruction to federal property, placed on probation for three years and banned from the federal park system during probation.

They apologized in court.

 

Good News from Palos Verdes

March 19, 2008

After the recent disappointment of the Portuguese Bend meeting, mountain bikers in Palos Verdes really needed a positive outcome. It came late Tuesday night at the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council meeting.

Some speakers claimed that bikes destroy habitat and endanger other users, and therefore should not be allowed on trails at the Forrestal Reserve.

Fortunately, factual data in the city-ordered Forrestal Monitoring Report supported our claims that bikes present no more problems than other users. In fact, the report stated that there has not been a single complaint against bikers.

As a result, the trails plan at Forrestal remains intact with the exception of Cristo Que Viento, which was changed to pedestrian. Bikers seldom use this trail because it’s incredibly steep and goes into Rolling Hills.

It appears that the City Council is beginning to grasp the needs of the entire community in this complex issue. Some councilmen asked detailed questions from mountain bike speakers. One questioned whether CORBA-PV could fulfill its promise to help educate local bikers. Yes, we can! Now It is up to everyone who rides in Palos Verdes to ride responsibly and continue to volunteer for trail work. These are the keys to more trail access for bikes.

After being disappointed at last meeting’s results for Portuguese Bend, we feel rejuvenated. We owe a big thanks to the eight resolute bikers who came to the meeting. You rose from the ashes to fight again. You are all heroes here!  Thank you.

 

Economics and Benefits of Mountain Biking

March 5, 2008
(updated March 14, 2008)

IRVINE, Calif. -- Enjoying the outdoors is as natural as riding a bike and Shimano American Corporation and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) have teamed up to promote how important the activity is. Shimano is a major manufacturer of bicycle components and IMBA is a national advocate for responsible riding and trail construction. Together they are releasing the new document, The Economics and Benefits of Mountain Biking at the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. March 4 – 6, 2008.

More than 1 in 5 Americans age 16 and over ride a mountain bike, and contribute $26 billion annually to the American economy while enjoying the sport. Kozo Shimano said, “We want legislators, policy makers and the public to understand how significant mountain biking is to both the economy and to keeping people healthy.” One recent cost benefit analysis concluded that every dollar invested in trails led to almost three dollars in direct medical benefit. The World Health Organization recommends riding a bike to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Mountain bikers are also dedicated conservationists who volunteer their time, labor and money to protect the natural and cultural resources where they ride. IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel commented, "From the beginning, IMBA members have embraced a stewardship ethic that benefits conservation of our natural lands and waters. This timely publication shows how that conservation mindset also gives back with economic benefits."

Scientific research has shown mountain biking to be a low impact environmentally sustainable activity with no more impact on natural resources than hiking, and far less than many other recreational activities.

Kozo Shimano added, “To put the activity in perspective, 50 million Americans ride a mountain bike – more than 1 ½ times the number of people who play golf. “

Copies of The Economics and Benefits of Mountain Biking can be obtained from IMBA by sending a request to info@imba.com.

March 14, 2008: You can view the report by clicking this link: The Economics and Benefits of Mountain Biking

 

CORBA Website has a new look

March 4, 2008

The CORBA web site has been revamped to make it easier to find information on mountain biking in the LA area! Stop back from time to time to look for new features.

If you have comments or suggestions, please pass them along to trailsmaster@gmail.com

 

City of Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan Meetings

March 3, 2008

In late February-early March, the City of LA held a series of meetings to discuss the 2008 Bicycle Master Plan update.

The meetings were very informative and it appears that the City of L.A. is doing things the right way.  One great thing we learned is that the new plan will include off-road bicycling and two meetings in June and August (dates TBA) will be held for feedback on off-road access and issues on City properties.  

A brief introduction was followed by a fairly thorough Powerpoint presentation outlining some of the challenges and options the City is facing/considering. Alta Design is the group doing the plan. Their staff includes riders and bike commuters, cyclocross racers, and urban planners, with some big city planning projects already under their belt.  

The room was lined with easels outlining the major goals of the plan, along with excerpts from other successful city bicycling plans from around the world that are being considered for inclusion.  There was also a map outlining the current draft proposals, which looked promising. Many of the existing bike paths to nowhere are shown as being linked to other arterial routes and bike paths, along with many new class II (bike lane) routes, and class I (bike path) routes.  

The maps and all the information are available at http://www.labikeplan.org. Please take the Bicycle survey to provide input ASAP.  They also link through to bikely.com and suggest people create routes and submit them with comments and suggestions for improvements. If there's a route you ride or would like to ride, go ahead and get it considered.  They're taking feedback for the next six weeks or so, and will then be out in the field taking measurements and doing traffic studies.

The plan is due for completion early next year, but of course, then it all comes down to funding.  So if you live in, ride in, or commute in L.A., it's worth seeing the proposals and making sure your needs are covered.  

We'll definitely be attending the off-road meetings in June and August where we'll likely face a barrage of opposition from Griffith Park equestrians...so a show of numbers is going to be helfpul.

 

Truce Called in Palos Verdes Trails Controversy

February 25, 2008
From The Daily Breeze Online
By Josh Grossberg, Staff Writer

Horse enthusiasts and bicycle fans are going to have to learn to get along - or at least tolerate each other - under a plan approved Saturday by the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council.

After hearing from nearly a hundred speakers during a daylong session, the council voted 4-1 to reopen the 420-acre Canyons Ecological Reserve to both four-legged animals and two-wheeled conveyances, with only Councilman Peter Gardiner voting against the proposal.

When the trails will open, however, remains in question.

First, trail signs must be posted, educational material prepared and an enforcement plan put in place. It could be months before any of that happens.

And another thing: The park isn't called Canyons Ecological Reserve anymore. Earlier in the day, council members voted to change the name to the Portuguese Bend Reserve. They also agreed to change the city's entire 11,000-acre chain of wilderness areas from the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve to the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve to avoid any confusion for visitors.

"The minute you step into Torrance, nobody's heard of it," Councilman Tom Long said of Portuguese Bend.

Four other less controversial trail plans also were approved. With four more to go, the council decided that after nine hours of discussions it had had enough and voted to postpone further talks until next month.

So many people showed up to the meeting at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center that a television had to be set up outside, and people watched under a steady late-afternoon drizzle.

Although the council conceded that adjustments will probably have to be made, the new plan calls for horse riders and bicyclists to share many of the winding trails.

Other paths can be used by horses, but not bikes. Bikes can use some, but not horses. And hikers get to use all of them.

"We should open it up to all users, provided it's safe," Gardiner said.

The majority of the speakers were horse riders who said that while most bicyclists are courteous, many ride down hills too fast, take turns dangerously and generally spook the horses. They also complained that bicycles are eroding the terrain and destroying plants.

"They do what they want when they want," one speaker said.

It was a refrain heard dozens of times during the day. Horseback riders acknowledged that bike riders had a right to enjoy their hobby. They should just do it somewhere else.

"The only part of nature they enjoy is gravity," said Rancho Palos Verdes resident Judy Herman.

But bike riders said that while there will always be reckless people, most of them are well-behaved.

"There will always be people who don't follow the rules," said Rancho Palos Verdes resident George Hicks. "Embrace the responsible user."

In the end, most people seemed satisfied with the truce - at least for now. And as Mayor Doug Stern reminded everybody more than once, figuring out how to share such a beautiful piece of real estate isn't exactly the biggest problem in the world.

"This is a wonderful position to be in," he said. "You all go out victors no matter what."

 

Palos Verdes Trails Access

Feb 19, 2008

Your presence is urgently needed Saturday Feb 23rd, 2008
Rancho Palos Verdes City Council to Decide Trails Uses
This will be your last opportunity to express your views on the trails plan

Where: Point Vicente Interpretive Center Community Room located at 31501 Palos Verdes Drive West (Map)
When: Saturday Feb 23rd 9:30 AM meeting may last all day. Here is the suggested schedule.
Why:
Council will review and consider the Public Use Master Plan (PUMP) Committee’s recommended Trails Plan.

● View PUMP Committee trail recommendations for all reserves here.
● View CORBA PV trail recommendations for all reserves here.

You can view the full Planning Commission Staff Report with maps, minutes from the PUMP meetings, comments from committee members, and letters from the public.
What other groups recommend -
Equestrian 10-3-07 ,  SUN'P Phase II 10-3-07

You can participate by speaking (details on speaking) and /or sending an email to the city council at CC@rpv.com. We encourage RPV residents to voice their views. Email CORBA PV at info@mtbpv.org if you have questions.

Suggestions:

  • Please don't send duplicate emails or petitions, make them original.
  • Keep it positive! No need to rant or complain, just tell them what you feel is a fair plan.
  • For specific trails, use the names on the CORBA PV recommendations.
  • For trails not on the map, try west or east of the closest named trail. There should be a map on display.

Below are some points to consider:

  • Cyclist will stay on designated trails and not build new ones.
  • Cyclists will volunteer to repair damage to trails.
  • The bike community is working to make sure everyone knows the rules.
  • There is no evidence that bike use impacts trails any differently from other users if they stay on designated trails.
  • Cyclists have volunteered for trail work and deserve respect.
  • I've volunteered to repair these trails. We deserve to ride them. 
  • Cyclists can control their bikes even on the steepest trail.
  • I've never had a bad encounter with hikers or horses.

More information is available from the CORBA Palos Verdes web site.

 

Use Goodsearch.com to help CORBA

Use GoodSearch for your web searching and they will contribute to CORBA.Feb 18, 2008

Goodsearch.com is a grassroots search engine that donates a small  amount (1-2 cents) to a charity of your choice each time you search. If even just 100 people use Goodsearch.org twice a day, that's about $730 raised for CORBA per year. The search engine that goodsearch.org uses is Yahoo. You can also click though their GoodShop affiliate program when you shop online with participating retailers for additional donations to CORBA or another charity of your choice. It's easy to use. Once connected to http://www.goodsearch.com, simply enter CORBA into the box where it asks "WHO DO YOU GOODSEARCH FOR?" Check it out!

Use GoodShop for your web shopping and they will contribute to CORBA.March 27, 2008 Update

Now you can also use GoodShop to help CORBA! Do your online shopping at more than 500 stores through GoodShop and they will donate a few percent to CORBA. Don't forget to specify CORBA as the group you goodshop for.

Learn about other businesses that will donate to CORBA when you use them.

 

Stunt High Trail

Feb 8, 2008

Updated Feb 15, 2008

CORBA has received complaints about irresponsible Mountain Bikers on the Stunt High Trail. The trail is located in Stunt Ranch off of Mulholland Highway a few miles west of Old Topanga Road. This trail runs through Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority (MRCA), Mountains Restoration Trust (MRT) and University of California Reserve land. This trail is used as part of an outdoor education area for young kids to learn about the Native Americans, Plants and Animals.

On 1/27 a group of five riders came down the trail. Four of the five riders were considerate and slowed down as they passed a group of instructors and young kids on the trail. One of the five riders did not slow down at all. The report is that he was out of control and yelled to the group to get out of the way! He nearly missed individuals in the group as he sped passed. After he passed the group he crashed! This apparently was not the first incident like this on this trail. Although this trail has probably been ridden by many riders for years it did not become an issue until this incident. Remember your actions on the trail affect us all!

On Thursday 2/14 we met with the managing authorities for the Stunt High Trail. The outcome of the meeting is not good for Mountain Bikers. The trail will remain closed to Mountain Bike riders! "No Bikes" signs will be installed and MRCA Rangers will patrol and issue tickets to anyone riding the trail! All UC Reserve land is closed to bikes due to its Reserve status. We may have been able to convince the MRT to open their part of the trail to bikes but it is such a small section of the upper trail that it would not have meant much. Other options such as a reroute around the reserve or a new trail in the area were also discussed. A reroute around the reserve will not work due to private property outside of the Reserve land and steep rugged terrain.

Please only ride on trails that are open to bikes. Always control your speed and your bike. Scan the trail ahead for other trail users and animals. Use a bell to alert others of your presence! Bicyclists yield to hikers and horses.

 

Albertsons' Community Partners Program

Note: We learned in early 2010 that Albertson's has discontinuted this program. You can still help CORBA when you buy groceries by signing up for Ralphs' Community Contribution Program and shopping at Ralphs!

January 30, 2008

CORBA is pleased to announce that we are part of the Albertsons' Community Partners Program.  Albertsons grocery stores contribute to your favorite participating 501(c)(3) non-profit when you use your club card.  All that you need to do is click on this link to sign up, and use our Community Partner ID# 49001015710.  http://www.albertsons.com/cp/  Sign-up now!  It's quick and easy.

Learn about other businesses that will donate to CORBA when you use them.

 

California State Parks Budget Crisis Threatens Mountain Bike Access

Jan 27, 2008

Governor Schwarzenegger's plan to combat California's projected budget crisis includes across-the-board program reductions, including many cuts to the state parks department. The new proposal would close 48 parks, including popular destinations like Henry Coe and Topanga Canyon.

California State Parks has been victim to several significant budget reductions in past years and the new plan would seriously imperil the agency's ability to serve Californians, including more than five million mountain bikers.

Take Action! Send a message to the governor and your representatives!

Tell the Governor and your state legislators that these proposed closures are unacceptable.

Why the Governor Should Spare State Parks

Millions of Californians rely on State Parks for their main source of recreation. At a time when health and obesity are major issues for California citizens, parks are a viable resource that contributes to mental and physical health.

The California State Park System is one of the best in the nation. The proposed budget cuts, on top of significant past reductions, will further jeopardize stewardship of the state's precious natural and cultural resources.

In comparison to other departments, State Parks has an extremely small budget and therefore a reduced capacity to absorb cuts. The Governor's plan calls for a $13.3 million reduction, but this will close 48 parks and reduce seasonal staff hours by 50 percent.

 

Ralph's Community Contribution Program  

Jan 24, 2008

CORBA is pleased to announce that we are part of the Ralphs Community Contribution Program.  Ralphs grocery stores contribute to your favorite participating 501(c)(3) non-profit when you use your club card.  All that you need to do is click on this link to sign up, and use our "NPO" number 90320.  http://www.ralphs.com/ccprogram.htm  Sign-up now!  It's quick and easy.

Learn about other businesses that will donate to CORBA when you use them.

 

City of Glendale Trails Master Planning

January 10, 2008

The City of Glendale has approved its Trails Master Plan. The City of Glendale covers part of the the east end of the Verdugo Hills, The west end of the San Rafael Hills and all of Deukmejian Wilderness Park.

CORBA has been and will remain involved in this planning process.  

The Trails Master Plan was presented to the Glendale Parks and Recreation Department on November 7 and to the City Council a few weeks later. 

Funding for the varius projects will need to be obtained. The proposal includes a Mountain Bike Skills park and several new trails.

 

Man Allegedly Dug 50 Holes On Trails

Jan 5, 2008

Revenge was not sweet for a man who allegedly admitted digging holes on bike trails in a Fullerton park as payback for nearly being run down by a mountain biker. He has been charged with felony vandalism, police said Friday. Warren John Wilson, 52, faces a single felony count of vandalism, said Fullerton police Sgt. Linda King. Wilson, who could not be reached for comment, remains free on his own recognizance pending a court date that has not yet been set, according to King. Holes began appearing in mid-June on a trail popular with mountain bike riders that runs parallel to the city's Bud Turner Trail at Laguna Lake Park at Euclid Street and Laguna Road. About 50 of the holes have been found since June, all dug across the path so that they would pose an obstacle to bicyclists. The holes measured about 1 foot by 2 feet, King said. Tree branches and brush were often placed along the trail, as well as across the trenches in what seemed an attempt to hide them, King said. Some riders reported that they were thrown over the handlebars after hitting the holes, but no major injuries have been reported, she said. A park ranger reported the holes to police, who periodically did surveillance in the area. Detectives checked the trail after a man walking a dog was spotted, and vandalism was found, King said. On Dec. 11, the same man with his dog was seen entering the trail and leaving it 15 minutes later, and a later check showed holes covered with a large piece of concrete and a branch, King said. When questioned by police, Wilson allegedly said that he had "almost been run over" by a bike rider once and, in retaliation, began digging the holes and placing obstacles on the trail, King said.

 

Mountain Biker Input Results

December 12, 2007

Should mountain bikes be allowed on trails or do such bikes do too much harm to the environment? That was the question asked by the South Bay Daily Breeze. 17 of the 20 letters printed were in favor of Mountain Bikes on the trails. See the following link: http://www.dailybreeze.com/editorial/ci_7717296

 

Palos Verdes

November 7, 2007

CORBA has a very active group working on the trail access issues in Palos Verdes.  Please see our separate site that is dedicated to the Palos Verdes area.

CORBA Palos Verdes Home

 

Call to Action: Sycamore BMX Bicycle Park to be sold

October 18, 2007

HOW TO LEARN MORE The R.S.R.P.D. has contracted with Hogle-Ireland Consultants to post a Sinaloa Park website to inform the community and to receive input as to "What's Wanted in Simi Valley" We encourage you to check the www.SinaloaPark.com website to get "involved", understand the proposed project and give thought to fully evaulate the impact that will be imposed on Simi Valley and the Citizens of this community . . . Also see: http://www.sinaloapark.info/BMX_Bicycle_Park.html

 

Trail User Survey

October 2, 2007

CORBA is pursuing new multi-use trail opportunities with several land management agencies in the Los Angeles and Southern Ventura County areas. CORBA solicited your feedback on the type of trails you enjoy most.

The Trail User Survey is now closed. We would like to thank everyone that took the time to fill out the survey!  The results from the Survey will certainly help in our efforts to bring new riding opportunities to the Los Angeles area. Also a big thanks Cole Wheels for donating the wheel set which was won by one lucky survey participant!

View the survey results

 

Fire Breaks

August 8, 2007

The City of Los Angeles Fire Department’s Special Operations Division and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy noted that the current fire potential is extremely high and unprecedented. The LA City Fire Department Special Operations Division, with the permission of the Conservancy, took “fire life safety” actions to protect the community from wildfire this coming season. The Fire Department’s goal was to re-blade pre-existing fuel breaks (ridges) that run perpendicular to the northeast Santa Ana winds to a width of at least 50 feet wide. While we warmly refer to them as ridges, the fire authorities cut them decades ago to serve as fuel breaks, yet they have not been re-bladed in approximately 20 years. Should fire occur, a DC10 will be flown along the fire-side of the ridges and drop a swath of fire retardant 1/4 mile long per each pass. Fire crews and helicopters will be positioned to fight fire on the leeward side of the fuel breaks, if it is deemed safe.

The ridges that were re-bladed were Kenter Ridge, East and West Mandeville ridges, Westridge and Sullivan Ridge. Per the Fire Department, those are the only ridges that are being “re-bladed.” Only ridges that are, according to the Fire Department, pre-existing fuel breaks, were bulldozed. Trails adjacent to the ridges, such as the Whoops, were not and will not be touched. The Assistant Fire Chief would not commit to including community groups such as CORBA in the fire life safety planning process. While CORBA is not in the business of fire prevention planning and we have no intention of interfering with fire prevention efforts, we are in the business of saving trails. We have requested to be contacted prior to future work projects and that such projects be posted so trail users are aware of what and why a project is being done. We believe that trails can be preserved while authorities accomplish their goals of fire protection.

 

The Riordan Trail Update

Jul 20, 2007

The Mt. St. Mary’s Trail is now being realigned and has been renamed the “Nancy & Dick Riordan Trail.” The trail will be completed in, approximately, November 2008. Until then, the Trail will be closed to the public due to construction hazards. The Riordan Trail, however, has already been officially dedicated by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and half of the new trail has been constructed. For more information go to www.canyonback.org

 

Santa Susanna Pass

May 8, 2007

The State of California is currently in the General planning process for this fairly new State Park. The plan calls for some of the existing trails to be closed to all users, some trails will be open to hikers only. The Old Santa Susana Stage Road may be closed to Mountain Bikes due to its Historic Status. There are also some trails near Oakwood Memorial Park that the Park Service may be considering closing to bikes and Horses to protect cultural resources.

We need your input. For more information, please go to the State Parks Site and check out Preferred Plan on the right side of that page. This is a PDF map of the area and it shows the trails. If you ride this area and know of trails that are not on the map (if they are not on the map they may be closed)and you feel they should remain open for Mountain Bike use or have other feedback, CORBA would like to hear from you. Please contact Hans with any feedback or concerns.

 

Mountain Bikers Retain Trail Access in Southern California Forests

April 30, 2007

The most extensive formal appeal in IMBA's 19-year history has culminated in an agreement that will maintain widespread bicycle access in four National Forest units in Southern California. With hundreds of trail miles at stake in the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino forests, bike advocates embarked on a lengthy appeals process to a Forest Service decision to close dozens of trails to bikes.

The decision was the culmination of five years of mountain biker participation in the Forest Service planning process. "Even when the documents and alternatives didn't favor us, the Forest Service staff welcomed our participation and encouraged us to keep working toward a solution," says IMBA Rep Jim Hasenauer, who began working on the issue in 2001 when the four forests first announced a joint planning process for trail management.

According to IMBA California Policy Advisor Tom Ward, strong partnerships with state and federal agencies hold the key to bike access throughout the state. "IMBA's approach to mountain bike advocacy is to build strong relationships with land managers throughout California. We promote quality riding opportunities and work hard to create fun, environmentally sustainable trails that all users can enjoy," says Ward.

 

IMBA Filed Extensive Appeal

In 2004, after three years of preliminary work, the four Southern California forest units jointly released alternative plans for forest and trail management. IMBA's action alert generated hundreds of messages and letters urging that trails be kept open to bikes. "Although there was much that we liked in the original plan, we had concerns about some of the proposed Wilderness areas, the treatment of bicycles in 'critical biological zones,' and the ambiguity of language regarding bicycle use only on formally designated 'system' trails," says Hasenauer.

In 2005, the forests issued a revised plan that addressed most of IMBA's initial concerns. New Wilderness additions would have little effect on mountain bike opportunities, bikes would be allowed on trails in the "critical biological zones" unless specifically prohibited, and the Forests promised to deal with the "unofficial" trails issue with public participation, over time.

In Oct. of 2006, the San Bernardino National Forest indicated its intention to close all "non-system trails" to bicycles. "We felt that was inconsistent with the 2005 plan," says Hasenauer. The Forest disagreed, but met with local bicyclists to inventory and keep some of those trails open. The local mountain biking community stepped up to help the Forest identify important trails for mountain bikes and the Forest agreed to delay the closure.

At the same time, Hasenauer worked with fellow IMBA Rep Daniel Greenstadt, IMBA's Gary Sprung (then Senior Policy Adviser, now an independent contractor) and Washington-based policy advisor Kirk Bailey to develop an official appeal. "The appeal was the most extensive public participation document that IMBA has ever developed," says Hasenauer. "Most appeals are quickly disqualified, but ours went forward."

Meetings Lead to Withdrawal of Appeal

In Nov. 2006, Hasenauer met with the Southern California Forest Supervisors and staff. "We agreed that the three other forests had a more reasonable approach and we're in fact, a more reasonable interpretation of the new plans," says Hasenauer. "We agreed that there would need to be a process and a Forest Order before trails were closed. Bicyclists could continue to ride such trails unless specifically prohibited. They also indicated that generally if non-classified trails were to be closed, they should be closed to all users." That understanding resulted in the December 2006 withdrawal of IMBA's appeal.

"This is a great example of how steadfast advocacy inside public participation processes can save trails. IMBA is quite satisfied with the resolution and we look forward to working with the Forest Service on trail management issues again," says IMBA Government Affairs Director Jenn Dice.

For more information, Contact: Mark Eller, Communications Director, markeller@imba.com, 303-545-9011

 

National Park Service Listening Session

March 29, 2007

The National Park Service hosted a Listening Session at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles. With the Centennial of the National Park Service approaching in 2016, the agency hosted Listening Sessions nationwide to hear from the public to help craft a vision for the next century. NPS Superintendents from all over the Western United States including the Western Regional Director, Jon Jarvis, and many NPS rangers and managers were in attendance to facilitate discussions and take public input back to be compiled and presented to the White House as part of the Centennial Initiative, a ten-year plan to invigorate national parks and prepare for the next century. The Centennial Initiative provides $100 million per year to the NPS above and beyond the annual budget for investment into the National Park system. There is also a provision of up to $200 million per year additional funding, whereby the federal government will match philanthropic donations of up to $100 million to the NPS for signature projects.

Three main questions were asked by the NPS including: what are your hopes and expectations for the future of National Parks; what role should the National Parks play in the lives of Americans and visitors from around the world; and what projects and programs would you like to see completed. Despite these questions, a handful of anti-mountain bikers were in attendance suggesting that mountain bikes not be a part of the future of our National Parks. Fortunately, CORBA board members Jeff, Louisa and Gary were there to add balance to the discussion, provide input and also note how successful multi-use trails are in our local National Parks (i.e., Cheeseboro) as well as the amazing experiences that are available at parks such as Joshua Tree and Chaco Canyon.

We also shared our vision for a National Parks system with more opportunities for responsible mountain bicyclists. Bikes get people out of their cars and into the parks. Mountain biking is a sustainable, low-impact, human-scale form of recreation that is healthy for individuals, families and communities. We know from our experience in the Santa Monica's and other National Parks that bikes belong. We thank the National Park Service for hosting the Listening Sessions.
 


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