By Mark Langton
Get Involved Ya’ Bums!
The headline above is courtesy of Fats in the Cats mountain bike club in Hudson Valley, New York. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Read on for why.
At the Wood Canyon Vista Trail work day in Point Mugu State Park last month we were passed by upwards of 50 mountain bikers during our 4-hour work period. Most were thankful of the work we were doing, but many said nothing, and several rode past as though there was no one on the side of the trail. In other words, they did not slow down at all. I could have sworn some even sped up.
But those that did not greet us, or did not slow down, weren’t bothersome to me. What really got me steamed was the guy who rode by us and said “Are you with CORBA? Do you guys ride bikes?” Now maybe I took that comment the wrong way. But the only thing I can make of it is that he was in some way questioning our work and that we didn’t ride, presumably because if we did, we’d certainly understand that the water drains we were installing were spoiling his fun. To this I can only say, if you’re having problems negotiating a small water diversion channel in the trail, maybe you should stick to fire roads. For a complete explanation of why water diversion channels are necessary, view our article on preventing water erosion. (And if you want to go for a ride, hit me up, anytime, any trail.)
Something else that transpired because of the trail work that day was a blog comment made by a local bike shop owner who took exception to the work being done. He said that if CORBA continued to do such work he would be forced to discontinue his support of the organization. We replied that supporting CORBA is his choice, but that CORBA will continue to support his business by creating more riding opportunities for mountain biking—which includes partnering with local management agencies to help preserve and maintain trails for the safety and enjoyment of all users. We also pointed out that it was CORBA’s direct involvement that led to Wood Canyon Vista Trail (and Guadalasca Trail) being open to bicycles. The bigger question is, if bike shop owners are ignorant to what CORBA has done and continues to do for the mountain bike community, then CORBA needs to do a better job at public relations.
This brings me to this article’s headline. Getting involved—and spreading CORBA’s message—doesn’t just mean doing trail maintenance. It means having a more direct dialogue with the people we ride with and bike shops we patronize about what we as a community can do to preserve and increase mountain biking opportunities. Just because a trail is open to bikes, it doesn’t mean the designation can’t change to bikes not being allowed. Working with the land agencies, also known as advocacy, is paramount in making sure our interests are being represented. Unfortunately we continue to see an attitude among many mountain bikers which says “CORBA will take care of it.” Well, like the saying goes, “if you didn’t vote, you can’t complain about the job the government is doing.” The same goes for mountain biking. If you don’t get involved with the process, you can’t complain about the outcome. CORBA needs support, if nothing else in membership numbers, but moreover in simply riding responsibly (and letting others know they should, too), and letting your position be heard through the various letter writing campaigns and public meetings that take place, which you would know about by being a CORBA member. We saw direct public input in action recently with the Rogers Road Trail grading and widening that took place last month. Through the efforts of CORBA, Save Our Mountains, Inc., the Brentwood Hills Homeowners Association, and other likeminded trail users, we were able to convince State Parks to halt their work until further evaluations can be made.
I realize we’re not trying to find a cure for cancer. However, riding our bikes in the mountains for most of us is what makes and keeps us healthy, both physically and emotionally. And while it may not have been one of our original goals, it has become evident that for our society, fighting obesity might be as important as curing cancer. CORBA’s youth programs (Youth Adventures and CORBA Kids Club) strive to help kids appreciate the open space trails and expose them to a lifetime of healthy activity. These programs will also help to contribute to the next generation of open space enthusiasts. And that’s the responsibility of all mountain bikers, not just CORBA members.
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A few weeks ago, State Parks Maintenance Supervisor Dale Skinner used a Sweco trail tractor/dozer to fix and install several drainage channels on Rogers Road in Topanga State Park, as well as bring the trail up to vegetation clearance guidelines for multiple use. Many local trail users have complained to State Parks that the work was overdone and that a once narrow, serene singletrack trail has been obliterated into a road.
Earlier articles on CORBA’s web site, based on photos of the work, began by trying to assuage concerns of trail users not familiar with this kind of work by saying that typically trails “come back” to a more natural state after a couple of seasons. However, on November 10th, the CORBA Board visited the trailwork areas along with Topanga Sector Superintendent Lynette Brody and Supervisor Skinner.After viewing the trailwork directly, it is clear that CORBA’s original thoughts were premature and we have removed them from our blog. From comments made by Supervisor Skinner, as well as an evaluation by professional trail contractor and CORBA board member Hans Keifer, it is evident that the work that was performed has many problems, including admitted violation of the department’s own policy.
We were informed that the plan had been to continue the work down to the Will Rogers State Historic Park Trail Loop. However, we were assured by both Superintendent Brody and Supervisor Skinner during our November 10th meeting that the work will not continue until their usual policy and processes have been fulfilled, which they said could take several months to over a year.
For the full story, including details on the problems with the current work, see our updated blog article on the Rogers Road trailwork.
CORBA Meets with State Park Superintendents
On November 22 CORBA Board members Mark Langton, Hans Keifer, Danusia Bennett-Taber, and Steve Messer, along with IMBA representative Jim Hasenauer, met with Topanga Sector Superintendent Lynette Brody and Acting Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap. The specific purpose of the meeting was to update Superintendent Sap on CORBA’s programs as well as to review the trail conversion request made by CORBA more than two years ago as part of a state-wide process.
Several key points were brought up during this meeting:
While this meeting was in some respects a new beginning with State Parks leadership, Superintendents Brody and Sap were both very familiar with CORBA in general, and there was certainly an air of cooperation that we have not experienced in several years.
The current status of the conversion process is ongoing, with trails in Topanga State Park taking priority as part of the current development of a trail plan in that park. On December 15 the use status of Musch, Lookout, Yearling, and Deerleg Trails will be discussed by State Park personnel with an announcement to follow shortly. For full details, view our blog article on our meeting with the State Park superintendents.
Looking for a Christmas Gift for a Special Mountain Biker?
Our new fashion apparel that debuted at the Fat Tire Fest is now available for purchase online at the CORBA Store. Until December 31, 2010, shipping is free, so order now and save yourself a few bucks! To help keep your riding green, the short-sleeve jerseys are made with fabric that includes recycled material and the T-shirts are printed on unbleached heavy cotton.
Go to the online CORBA Store to place your order today!
November 13: Wood Canyon Vista (Backbone) Trail in Sycamore CanyonOn Saturday, ten mountain bikers and three members of the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council trail crew fixed the drainage on 0.6 miles of the Wood Canyon Vista (Backbone) Trail in Pt. Mugu State Park, about one third of it’s length. We concentrated on the area that was most likely to be damaged by the winter rain. Running water does by far more damage to the trail than anything else, so we were building drainage dips to get the water off.
Thanks to everybody who came out to help, and congratulations to Hector Ancheta who won the grand prize of a $100 gift certificate for Helen's Bicycles. Read the complete story of the Sycamore Canyon Backbone trailwork on our blog.
November 7: El Prieto
Sunday’s trailwork on El Prieto went exceptionally well. We had perfectly cool, clear weather, damp soil that was easy to work with, and good spirits all around. Thanks to the approximately 50 people who came out to show this heavily damaged trail some much-needed love. In over 320 person-hours of labor, several washed out drainages were restored, brush was cut back, and many vulnerable sections of the trail tread received rock-armoring treatment. We were even able to restore one section of the original trail that had all-but vanished since the fires. Read the complete story of El Prieto trailwork on our blog.
Sullivan Canyon Closed until December 10th
There have been some delays in the work in Sullivan Canyon. Continue reading...
New on the CORBA Website
For a list of upcoming recreational rides, please visit the CORBA Calendar.
CORBA’s Recreational Rides calendar provides a full monthly schedule of mountain bike rides for all skill levels. Mountain bike rides are organized by CORBA member clubs and led by experienced and knowledgeable guides. Recreational rides are a fun and social way to experience a variety of trails in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and beyond.
Saturday December 4th is the next skills clinic.
The CORBA free skills clinic is held on the first Saturday of every month at Malibu Creek State Park.
Mountain biking is a lot like tennis or skiing. Just a few minor adjustments in technique can make a huge difference in your control and proficiency. If you want to get better faster, you need to know the fundamentals of mountain biking technique. Whether you're just getting into mountain biking or have been riding for years, you'll learn some valuable tips from our Introduction to Mountain Biking skills class that is offered each month. Check out our Skills Clinic web page for all the information. After the clinic, see photos of your new skills on the CORBA web site that you can share with your family and friends!
We have set up accounts with Twitter and Facebook to help keep people informed of the latest developments in our trail advocacy, recreational rides and trailwork days. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CORBAmtb and Facebook at facebook.com/CORBAMTB.
Join or Renew your membership today on our membership web page.
Join Our Team! Do you have any ideas about mountain biking recreation in the L.A. region? Would you like to apply your skills and manage projects that contribute to the sport and lifestyle that you love? Is there an advocate in you? We are recruiting motivated individuals who work well with others. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or come to a monthly Members Meeting to find out more about what we do and how you can help. Check the calendar for the next meeting.
Other simple ways to support CORBA
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