Guadalasca Trail Work Report and Photos for February 25, 2012

This past Saturday, 22 mountain bikers, eight or so members of the trail crew from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council (SMMTC) and two California State Parks (CSP) staffers gathered at the bottom of Guadalasca Trail in Point Mugu State Park for a few hours of trailwork.

This was the first of several days of work that have been planned for Guadalasca this spring. We have previously blogged about the overall changes that are coming.

Much of the trail looked like this photo taken a few days before we did our trailwork

Originally we had planned to carpool down to the trailhead from the meeting point at the south end of Wendy Drive in Newbury Park, but the fantastic turnout of mountain bikers meant there would be too many cars to park at the limited area on Wood Canyon at the bottom of the trail. Instead, we caravanned to the Danielson Multiuse area where there’s lot of parking, then jammed into three trucks and vans after transfering the tools to the Gator utility vehicle. From there we slowly drove to the trailhead.

The work for the day was to clear the brush from the downslope side (outside) of the trail along as much of the old ranch road section of the trail as we could. The CSP standard for multiuse trails is that the trail corridor should be clear of brush for 8′ of width and 10′ of height. Even though the trail will evenutally end up being only 1 – 3′ wide, the extra width at the side provides better sight distances so trail users can see others approaching from further away. Also, it takes several years for the brush to clog the trail again, so we don’t have to clear it out every year. For this trail, there are other reasons to widen its corridor, presented here in near- to long-term order:

  • It allows access for the Gator to carry tools up for us on future trailwork days
  • The two seasonal streams that this trail crosses near the bottom currently are drained through partially blocked and damaged culverts. The culverts will be removed and replaced by level crossings. The wider trails will provide access to the excavating equipment that will be required for this
  • Most importantly, the long-term objective is to move the trail to outside edge of this old road bed, and clearing the brush on the downslope side will make the room for it. When the trail is closer to the downslope side, it will be easier to shape so the rainwater runs off, thus reducing the amount of maintanence it requires to fix the ruts

Volunteers clear brush on the downslope side of the trail to make room for the trail to be moved to the outside of the old road bed. Once moved, brush will be allowed to regrow on the upslope side, narrowing the trail corridor again

As we were working, about 15 – 20 mountain bikers passed us. With one notable exception, they all thanked us for helping to keep the trail in great shape for riding.

With less than four hours of work, plus breaks and travel time, we cleared out the bottom 0.6 miles of the trail, about 3/4 of this section. CSP staff brought a chain saw and the SMMTC crew brought a power hedge trimmer. Both these tool greatly sped up the work and allowed us to clear much more than we would have been able to otherwise. The hedge trimmer was also a great help in cutting out the poison oak that was starting to regrow in several places.

A little after 1:00 pm, we headed down the trail to shuttle and caravan out. Back at the cars, we had the prize drawing, then drove down to a new barbecue joint a mile or so away. I think everyone agreed it was a great place to eat, and not as expensive as other similar places.

We have another event scheduled for March 17th to continue clearing the brush on the old ranch road, and beyond if we have time. Work should go much faster because most of the brush at the top end of this section is low chaparral, rather than tall chaparral and trees. If you would like to help out, please use our online form to register in advance.

Take a look at our photo gallery of Saturday’s trailwork!

 

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