Lots of brush removed from Backbone Trail west of Kanan during Feb 23 trailwork day – and photo gallery

During a joint trailwork day, CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council trail crews cleared brush (lots and lots of it!) and fixed drainages on the 2.5 mile segment of the Backbone Trail west from Kanan Rd to Zuma Ridge Motorway.

CORBA volunteers are knee-deep in cuttings that have fallen into the trail
CORBA volunteers are knee-deep in cuttings that have fallen into the trail

We split into two teams to tackle this trail. 15 CORBA volunteers grabbed loppers and saws to take on the overgrowing brush. The tread along this segment is in pretty good shape, so a small group of four SMMTC and CORBA volunteers took earth-moving tools to clear out the drainages so rain water wouldn’t cause ruts in the future.

It’s important to clear brush from the trail not only to keep it from becoming so overgrown that it’s impassible, but also to increase the sight distances so approaching travellers can see each other from further away and have time to react/respond to the other’s presence. In the case of mountain bikers approaching hikers or equestrians, this should mean slowing down and preparing to stop, if necessary, to yield the right-of-way.

This trail had been worked by the SMMTC crew twice in the past few months so much of the brush had already been cut back, but there were two very bad sections. One was about 2/3 miles east of Zuma Ridge Mtwy where the brush has not been cut back for several years and both sides had grown almost to the middle. The other was on the switchbacks near Kanan Rd where the heavy branches overhead were drooping down so low that riders need to duck a lot of them.

We started from Zuma Ridge Mtwy and worked our way east, cutting back a few bushes to improve sight distances until we came to the major section that was overgrown. We spent most of our time there and now it’s very easily passible. And we created a huge pile of cut branches off the side of the trail!

Volunteers enjoy lunch at the Urbane Cafe after the workday is finished

Volunteers enjoy lunch at the Urbane Cafe after the workday is finished

Once that was done, we hiked east, pausing at the bridge for a snack and to enjoy the pretty area. We had hoped to clear the overhanging branches near Kanan Rd, but we only had time to clear some other problem spots we passed on the way there. Overall, we worked on 2 miles of the 2.5-mile long trail segment.

After putting the tools away, CST tires, 26″ and 29″, were distributed to everyone who wanted one, as a “Thank-you!” from CORBA, IMBA and CST Tires for helping out. Then we retired to Ubane Cafe for lunch.

We’ll have to have another trailwork day to clear those other low hangning branches, but they’re close to the trailhead so it will be easy to get to them. Stay tuned for news of future trailwork days to clear out this section!

Check out our trailwork photo gallery to see photos of this trailwork.

 

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