CORBA Founder Jim Hasenauer’s Lifetime Achievement Award

April 14th, 2014

At the 2014 California Trails and Greenways Conference, CORBA Co-Founder Jim Hasenauer was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Trails and Greenways Foundation.

Jim has been at the forefront of mountain bike and trail advocacy since helping CORBA get started in 1987, and IMBA in 1988. He was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1988, and was also present at CORBA’s induction in 2013.

We’re fortunate to have such an informed, eloquent, and passionate ally, still working hard to help guide us into a better future for off-road cycling and trails. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his continued involvement in CORBA, and congratulate him on this worthy acknowledgement of his contributions to the trail community.

Watch his acceptance speech below.

April Skills Clinic photos published Saturday, April 5

April 5th, 2014

The April 2014 Skills Clinic Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park, on a sunny but cool day, was made up of 25 riders. There was a small amount of water in the stream crossing this month, but we didn’t ride across because of the large number of hikers wandering back and forth. Maybe they were looking for tadpoles. So we didn’t get a chance to ride through the stream yet again. You can see the April photos in the April 2014 photo gallery.

State Parks Rulemaking Comments

April 4th, 2014

Today was the deadline for comments on the draft State Parks Rules concerning trail use. The proposed rule would hinder the process of gaining access to more trails for bicycles in State Parks.

We understand that hundreds of letters were written by our IMBA Alert recipients, for which we thank you.

Below are comments submitted by CORBA.

________________

April 3, 2014

Alexandra Stehl, Statewide Trails Program Manager
California Department of Parks and Recreation
PO Box, 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296
Alexandra.Stehl@parks.ca.gov

Re: State Parks Proposed RuleMaking Comments

Dear Ms. Stehl,

I am submitting these comments on behalf of the Concerned Off­ Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA), a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). We are a 501(c)(3) non­profit representing off­road cyclists in the Los Angeles and Ventura County region. We have been working closely with State Parks on trail­related issues since our founding in 1987. Our volunteer trail crews have contributed many thousands of hours of labor to trail maintenance efforts in State Parks. We serve as a bridge between land managers and the mountain biking community, educating and encouraging trail users on proper trail etiquette and responsible trail use, while at the same time advocating for protection of public lands and equitable access to the trails by which the public enjoys those resources for all trail users.

Despite comments from CORBA and many others calling for language of inclusion for § 4360 ­ Trail Use in both the first round of private discussions and the subsequent round of public comments, we were once again dismayed to read the same policies of inequality and exclusion, favoring one group (Hikers) over two others (Equestrians and Cyclists).

We still stand by the language suggested by IMBA in the last round of comments as follows:

§ 4360 ­ Trail Use

State park trails are open to non­motorized users including hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians unless otherwise designated. Trail use designations are established based upon user needs, visitor safety and environmental sustainability. This includes access to trails in Reserves and Preserves, as defined in PRC Sections 5019.65, 5019.71 and 5019.74, where particular emphasis will be placed upon importance of public access to the area, or desirability of providing important connections to other trails, provided impacts to special resources for which the area was established will be less than significant.

Such a policy of inclusion would give the most welcoming signals to the broadest population; it would allow policies regarding all non-motorized trail users to be developed from an equal starting point. It would help change the perceived tone of State Parks where “NO…. “ signs sometimes seem to outnumber signs with a more positive message.  

Gross inequities still exist in the allocation of singletrack trails to shared use including bicycles vs. trails open to equestrians and hikers. It has been clearly stated that whatever the outcome of this rulemaking, nothing on the ground will change without going through the already approved formal Change in Use process. It would, however, help guide us into a more equitable future.

If fact, the CIU-PEIR Appendices have the most clear and current research on user conflict, finding that perceived conflict is relatively rare, and actual confict rarer still. Other research shows that the trail impacts of bicycles is similar to that of hikers, and less than that of equestrians. If protection of the resources are a priority, it makes little sense to allow a user group that has a greater impact on trails than one with a lesser impact.

The former director of State Parks once stated that “we need to engage our youth and get them excited about our parks.” Consider the phenomenal growth of the High School Mountain Bike League. There are now well over 1000 high school students, and now Middle School students (pilot program), who are participating in competitive cross country mountain bike races on school-based teams in California. The Southern California League started 6 years ago with about 70 high school students racing. This year there are over 500 students registered in the league from more than 40 teams. A very large proportion of these student-athletes are mountain biking for the first time when they start riding with their school team. These students have taken to mountain biking, and many will continue to enjoy the great outdoors by bicycle far beyond their school years. The high school league promotes stewardship, encouraging their student-athletes to give back to the trails in the form of volunteer trailwork. Most teams have done so. The proposed rule sends the wrong message to these kids, that they are not welcome at State Parks with their bicycles. Is this policy of exclusion how the agency can best engage a new generation of State Park visitors, our upcoming stewards of the land?

As a group we advocate for shared­use trails, and feel that the message sent by the proposed exclusionary and negative language sends the wrong message to State Park unit superintendents and managers. It sets the wrong example for other land management agencies who may be influenced by State Park rules and policies.

State Parks now has a policy favoring multi-use trails over single or dual-use. The mission of State Parks includes “creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.” This policy is not supported by the proposed rule.

This policy is also in direct opposition to the findings and efforts of the Parks Forward Committee. Responsiveness to community needs is one of the goals of that committee. Clearly, when cyclists comprise a large proportion of trail users (on the trails they are permitted), and the gross inequities in trails open to bicycles still exist, that is not meeting community needs.

While some user groups have complained about the “excessive” number of bicycles on some trails, increasing perceived conflict, a rule and policy allowing access to a greater range of trails will help disperse cyclists across more trails, reducing the social impacts on any particular trail.

Those who would rather use trails where bicycles are prohibited still have many trails to choose from, including all of those in designated State wildernesses, the Pacific Crest trail, and many other City trails (here in Los Angeles).

The proposed language has the potential to further and compound perceived user conflict by giving one user group a sense of “superiority” over other user groups; it legitimizes and reinforces this perceived conflict, and discourages the sharing of multi­use trails. As outlined in the State Parks Trail Change In Use PEIR, Appendix A, even perceived conflict is rare, and actual incidents are rarer still. The language we are proposing will help promote a sense of community, sharing of trails, and is in line with State Parks’ stated goals of providing more trail opportunities to off­road cyclists.

Again, we encourage you to consider the language proposed by IMBA, or some variation that indicates trails are open to all users, unless they have been ordered closed.

Minimum Tool Use

We understand the intent of the term “non-mechanized” as used in the Minimum Tool use for Preserves and Reeserves is to apply to tool use only, and not to trail users. However, the perception by anyone familiar with the Wilderness Act is that bicycles are not permitted. The context in which it is used fails to clearly indicate that this does not mean bicycles are prohibited from preserves and reserves. A cursory reading by a State Park employee might lead to that wrong conclusion. It certainly does that to the public, again creating an unwelcoming message to bicyclists.

Language from the Wilderness Act is specific to the management of wilderness. Park units that are managed under a different desgination and for different purpose to Wilderness should have language specific to that designation. How can a cultural preserve, whose mission is to preserve and protect man-made historically significant artifacts or structures, be managed in the same way as Wilderness, whose mission is to preserve and protect pristine habitats? So once again, we would like to see language other than “non-mechanized” used in this context for Preserves and Reserves.

For Minimum Tool use we might suggest the following language, or something similar: “using the tools and methods with the least resource impacts possible to get the task done, and excluding motorized or mechanized equipment.”

If you have any questions about the above suggestions and comments, please feel free to contact me. I urge and look forward to another round of drafts for public review.

Sincerely,

Steve Messer
President, Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association
323-743-3682

CC: Major General Anthony Jackson, Director, California State Parks
John Laird, Secretary, Natural Resources Agency
Lousi Nastro, Assistant to the California State Park and Recreation Commission
Fran Pavley, District 27 State Senator
Matthew Dababneh, District 45 Assembly Member

About CORBA:  The Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and a chapter of the International Mountain Bicyclists Association (IMBA). Formed in 1987, CORBA works with land managers and the off-road cycling community at large to foster off-road cycling as a healthy, sustainable outdoor recreation in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. CORBA is dedicated to preserving open space, maintaining public access to public lands, and creating more trail opportunities for all to enjoy. CORBA works with California State Parks, National Park Service, National Forest Service, Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority, Conejo Open Space Agency, as well as other local City and County government agencies. Our Volunteer Trail Crew, Youth Adventures, Free Skills Clinics, CORBA Kids Club and other programs promote off-road cycling recreation, and the responsible use and stewardship of our trails and open spaces.  

Strawberry Peak Restoration Update

April 2nd, 2014
Station fire damage to Strawberry Peak trail

Station fire damage to Strawberry Peak trail

Strawberry Peak is one of the most loved areas in the Angeles National Forest. It suffered devastating damage during the El Niño storms following the Station Fire. After the fire the trail was impassable and has remained closed to all users, even as much of the surrounding burn areas have opened up.

The Strawberry Peak and Colby Canyon trails together comprise the classic Strawberry Peak Loop. CORBA and the Boy Scouts have worked to restore the Gabrielino trail, the third leg of the classic loop, over several trailwork days since the Station Fire. It is open and in good shape.

During our initial surveys of Strawberry Peak trail, it became clear that one particularly problematic section of the trail could benefit from a complete re-route. This section, where the Strawberry Peak trail leaves the old Barley Flats fire road, is a fall-line rocky chute that was difficult to ride even before the fire. After the fire, it became a 4′ deep rocky rut for most of its length. Trail users (who should not be in the closed area) have been steadily widening this section of trail as they go around the ruts and rocks.

Restored Strawberry Peak trail

Restored Strawberry Peak trail

CORBA planned the re-route during our IMBA Trail Care Crew visit in 2012. About 30 class attendees and volunteers worked on the trail and learned how to flag out and prepare a new trail route. The re-route plans were submitted to the Forest Service for environmental review. The review process took about six months. We were required to power wash tools, among other things, to avoid spread of invasives. (CORBA’s tools are used in many different jurisdictions in Southern California).

In late 2012, CORBA received an REI grant of $10,000 for the restoration of the Strawberry Peak loop. We purchased some new tools, and fed volunteers on our trailwork days, and sought professional help. The National Forest Foundation funded the Los Angeles Conservation Corps for this and several other Station Fire damaged trails. Together, we solicited the services of Bellfree Contractors, a professional trailbuilding company, to restore many of the larger slide areas, burned sutter walls and downed trees. CORBA also paid over $2500 of our discretionary funds for professional trailbuilding services. We coordinated with the Sierra Club volunteer trail crew who also worked on the Strawberry Peak and Colby Canyon trails.

strawberry peak trail crew Volunteers, February 16, 2014

Volunteers, February 16, 2014

On February 16, CORBA had 22 volunteers come out for trailwork. We rode or hiked in the 3 miles to the Strawberry-Lawlor saddle, and worked on the trail as far down as Strawberry Springs. Those who rode or hiked in were very happy to be back on the closed trail. We accomplished a lot, clearing about .6 miles of trail, building three rock retaining walls at drainages, cutting and widening the trail bench, and removing slough.

The LACC and Bellfree Contractors had cleared and restored much of the Colby Canyon trail from Josephine Saddle to the Strawberry Potrero. After their work, it was in better shape than before the fire.

On March 16 we returned with about 17 CORBA and MWBA volunteers. We rode in 2.5 with Bob trailers about 2.5 miles, and restored the trail all the way to Strawberry-Lawlor saddle. With the re-route completed, the ride in was much better. There was poodle dog to remove, and slough from the one big winter storm of 2014. 

We will return to the trail during May, date TBD. There is still work to be done, including the repair of composite retaining walls, brushing and the ongoing need for routine maintenance.

With CORBA, Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, Sierra Club, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, National Forest Foundation and a professional contractor working together, the Strawberry Peak loop restoration has been progressing nicely.

Riding in to trailwork with Bob trailers

Riding in to trailwork with Bob trailers

The Station Fire Closure order is in effect until May 24, 2014. The Forest Service is assessing the burn area and the trails to determine whether to renew the closure order, modify it, or let it expire. The section of the Strawberry Peak trail north to Upper Big Tujunga Canyon needs a substantial re-route, planning for which has begun. Even if the Forest Service lifts the closure, we expect the Strawberry Peak trail from the junction with Colby Canyon trail north to Upper Big Tujunga to remain closed, or be subject to a seasonal or temporary closure. Because of the need for a re-route, this section of the trail has not yet been worked on.

CORBA would like to thank all the volunteers who came out to our trailwork days; to REI for their generous grant that made the restoration and professional help possible; to the Sierra Club, National Forest Foundation and Los Angeles Conservation Corps for their efforts, and to Bellfree Contractors for their professional assistance.

 

Girlz Gone Riding News for Spring 2014

April 2nd, 2014

GGR is strong as ever and is gearing up for many upcoming events!

This last month, GGR held it’s quarterly ride at Sycamore Canyon in Newbury park with over 30 female riders attending. We had 3 levels of rides, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced with the beginner group being the largest as always lead by GGR girl Michelle Friend who does an outstanding job with our beginners!

Before the girls headed out for their group rides….many of my friends and locals in our cycling community presented my Epic 29r back to me. Too make a very long story short, I lent out my bike to my good friend Jessie while I was recovering from surgery. He decided to surprise me and really bling it up the GGR club color purple. He got another 42 of my friends and community members to help. It was dubbed: Project Engelbling. The entire story will be written and posted soon. It is a heart warming, great story about what a community did to welcome me back to cycling after a horrible accident and not riding for almost 8 months.

Engelbling

GGR has picked up some new club sponsors that we are really excited about! These shops support women’s cycling..please support them too!

  • Michael’s Bicycles Newbury Park
  • Kramp Krushers
  • Loaded Precision Components
  • Hero Kit
  • JRA Bikes & Brew
  • Bike Warrior

GGR has some exciting events coming up too! New rides posted all the time, please check the FB events page! April 26th is the R50 charity ride to support Rwanda causes! GGR will be having a booth and sharing it with our sister club/Race Team So Cal Endurance Ladies! This is an awesome, fun charity event to participate in! http://50mr.com

May 31st: A very special day…Danusia Taber’s 1st annual Memorial ride and fund raiser. All donations made to the Sarcoma Alliance. Donate anytime in Danusia’s name: http://sarcomaalliance.org/donate/

June 8th: Wenches with Wrenches Workshop at JRA Bikes & Brew!

August 9th & 10th: A Celebration of Women on the Mountain..BIG BEAR STYLE! This is a road trip to Big Bear combining both GGR & The Trail Angels for the weekend! Ladies only taking over the mountain! Guided rides, group dinner, a big contest and speed meet and greet. This event is closed, it is FULL!

October 19th MCSP: GGR presents our annual Rocktober event! This is a fund raiser and CORBA membership drive! Our goal this year is to get 200 women at the event! We have some amazing sponsors already set up! Booths with female specific clothes this year too! Take a peak at a just a few of our female clothing specific sponsors so far!

  • Shebeest
  • Zoic
  • Shredly

Until next time….please keep your eyes out for the full story on Project Engelbling!

Submitted by Wendy Engelberg, http://www.girlzgoneriding.com/ 

President’s Message: Shared Experiences

April 2nd, 2014

This past weekend I had the good fortune of attending the 26th Annual Keyesville Classic. There are some great singletrack trails throughout the Keyesville and Kern Valley areas. These singletracks are open to horses, bikes, hikers and motorcycles, but closed to quads and other wider OHV’s. Our group had two encounters with motorcycles while riding outside the event course.

This shared-use trail allows motorcycles.

This shared-use trail allows motorcycles

We were enjoying near-perfect weather, great traction, spring flowers, great views and some amazing Southern Sierra singletrack. One solo motorcyclist came by. He yielded to us–as proper etiquette dictates–pulling off to the side. He left his engine running, and appeared impatient for us to get out of his way. He didn’t say anything, even after I thanked him. I got the sense that we were invading his space, disrupting his day. In turn, he was invading ours.

Another group of four motorcycles came by a little later. They pulled off to the side of the trail well in advance of us, turned off their engines and the leader took off his full-face helmet. My friends were a little way back so I stopped to talk to them. Once everyone caught up our two groups had a great conversation about the wonderful new re-route on the trail and the perfect weather. We talked about how much we loved the trail, despite our different mode of travel.

Our conversation turned the encounter from an “invasion of each other’s space” to a “shared experience.” Both our groups came away from the encounter knowing there are other trail users who are respectful and who share a common love of the public lands on which we recreate. It was a much different encounter to the first.

I’m sure some hikers and equestrians see mountain bikers as invading their space. Some mountain bikers might feel the same about hikers, equestrians, or even others on bikes. It comes from a sense of entitlement: “this is MY trail and MY day to enjoy it.” This attitude of entitlement has no place on shared-use trails on our public lands.

At the same time, I realized how easy it is to turn an invasion of space into a shared experience. Just be respectful, use proper trail etiquette by yielding or stopping, and strike up a conversation. Even a simple “enjoy your hike,” “hello,” or “thank you” can turn an encounter with another trail user into a more positive shared experience. Celebrate your mutual love of the trail and respect for others enjoying the same. You’ll come away from the encounter just a little bit happier in the knowledge that others care about the trail–and other trail users on it–as much as you do.

– Steve Messer

Support CORBA with your Amazon Purchases

March 31st, 2014

Amazon Smile CORBA ScreenAmazon Smile is a program that allows Amazon customers to support CORBA through their Amazon purchases. Once you designate CORBA as your non-profit charity of choice, .5% of all eligible purchases made through http://smile.amazon.com will go to CORBA. There’s no additional cost to you. You can still use your Amazon Prime to get free shipping and other benefits.

It’s easy to set up. Go to http://smile.amazon.com/ch/95-4124454 to select CORBA as your beneficiary.  Then bookmark http://smile.amazon.com and remember to start your shopping there.

The funds raised will go to CORBA’s general fund, supporting our Youth, Advocacy and Outreach programs as well as our Volunteer Trail Crew. CORBA is volunteer-run, and all of the funds raised will go towards these programs.

More Ways to Support CORBA

REI: Shop at REI using this link.

Ralphs: Register your Ralphs Card with Ralphs Community Giving and designate CORBA using our “NPO” number 90320. 

For even more ways to support us visit http://www.corbamtb.com/membership/HelpCORBA.shtml

We appreciate your support!

Ergon Donates Product

March 28th, 2014

phoroLong-time CORBA supporter Ergon has again come through with a generous donation of their popular grips and saddles. These items will be used as rewards for volunteers who participate in CORBA trail work events (click here for more details), as well as other events.

This latest Ergon donation includes more than 30 items, such as ergonomic grip/bar-end combination grips, as well as more conventional padded grips, and ergonomic saddles which can be used for both road or mountain bike riding.

Niner Bike Frame is Grand Prize for Trailwork Volunteers

March 28th, 2014
Could it be YOU who wins a frame like this Niner?

Could it be YOU who wins a frame like this Niner?

As part of the thank-you for volunteers who help with maintaining our trails in good riding order, CORBA has been giving away mountain biking swag at the end of each event. To speed things up on trailwork days, and to allow some really great  (ie, expensive!) prizes to be given away, we will instead have a drawing at the end of the year for all the volunteers who come out during that year.

We have a Niner frame waiting for some lucky volunteer, plus other great prizes including grips and saddles from Ergon!

In order to be eligible for the drawing, volunteers must register for events in advance on our Meetup group, show up at the event and sign the standard waiver form. At the end of the year, we’ll go back through all the Meetup events and count the number of times each volunteer helped out. Everyone will get one chance in the drawing for each time they participated.

Now by helping to keep our trails in good shape, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re giving back to the trails community, of contributing to the enjoyment that others have in our open spaces, and also having a chance at scoring a sweet ride from CORBA and Niner!

Good luck and thanks for helping out!

Santa Monica Mtns Trail Days at Sycamore Canyon Apr 25-27

March 26th, 2014

SMM Trail DaysOnce a year we have an opportunity to work on the trails and then BBQ and camp at Danielson Ranch in Pt Mugu State Park. It is opened annually for the Santa Monica Trail Days! This is a unique opportunity to work on the trails that we enjoy so much in Sycamore Canyon, and the Saturday workday is followed by a BBQ and prizes, with free camping available on Friday and/or Saturday night. This is hands down the best day to get in some trail maintenance work! Camping is optional; you may leave with the escort after the BBQ. There will be trailwork projects on both Saturday and Sunday. Sign up for one or both! Pre-registration is requested by April 21st so we’ll know how many people to prepare for.

Schedule at a glance

Friday night April 25 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 26Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 27Trailwork, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch.

You can volunteer to help out on Saturday, Sunday, or both.

BRING: LUNCHES, BEVERAGES, SNACKS AND WATER. Tools and instruction on using them are provided.

WEAR: Gloves, hat, long pants, protective clothing, and work boots or sturdy shoes.

REGISTRATION: Advance registration is required for the activities shown below, and appreciated by April 21st!

Saturday Registration: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/173599122/
Sunday Registration: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/154204972/

TRAILWORK: Saturday and/or Sunday. Help out with one or both! There are also opportunities to help out in the camp instead of trailwork.

CAMPING: Free camping Friday and/or Saturday nights for volunteers at the Danielson Multi-use Area located under the sycamores and oaks in the heart of Point Mugu State Park. Bring your own gear.

DINNER: Sat. Night Barbecue Free FOR VOLUNTEERS. Bring appetizers and beverages.

PRIZES: Thank-you prize give-aways will be held Saturday after dinner and Sunday after trailwork.

VEHICLE ACCESS: You will be able to caravan into and out of the park by vehicle only at these few designated times:

ARRIVE: Friday – 5 pm and 7 pm Saturday – 8 am and 4:30 pm Sunday – 8:30 am

DEPART: Saturday – 4 pm and after campfire Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm

Full details and camping/dining details are also provided on the registration pages.