Report on the Annual Conejo Open Space Trailwork Day, March 23

About 60 volunteers showed up on Saturday morning to help with the annual spring trailwork day, including nine with CORBA. We met at the new bridge in Hill Canyon, then walked a mile, picked up our tools, then hiked another few hundred yards to the work site.

The morning started off quite chilly, waiting in the shade of the canyon, but as soon as we emerged into the sun, it became quite pleasant.

IMG_3848The work was to clean up after the bulldozer that had scraped the hill at the north-east end of the Western Plateau Trail.

In some ways we were sad to see that this hard-packed, rutted dirt road had been smoothed out because it had been a challenge to climb through the ruts, and was really fun to come back down it. However, the road was in such bad shape that the COSCA rangers weren’t able to get their trucks up it.

There are plans to build new trails in the area of the Western Plateau. Being able to drive people and equipment up means that it will be easier to plan and build these new trails, so we’ll be able to use them sooner. Also, 4×4 vehicles have been illegally driving on the Western Plateau, damaging the trails, roads and creating tracks and bare spots in the open space. They had been doing this with relative impunity because the rangers weren’t able to get up there to stop them. Now that the risks are higher, hopefully the off-roaders will find somewhere legal to drive their vehicles.

The trailwork consisted mostly of knocking down a low berm the bulldozer left at the side of the road so rainwater can run off the road, and building drainages to help channel the water off. The CORBA crew was also assigned the task of blocking off the top of a very steep and loose road that had been chewed into the hillside by illegal 4×4 vehicles.

The ‘dozer driver did a really good job so there wasn’t as much berm to knock down as expected, allowing us to finish up about a half hour early, and head for lunch.

IMG_3916The COSCA (Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency) rangers barbecued up a lunch of hot dogs, beef- and vegie-burgers, with all the typical condiments, chips, fruit and ice-cold drinks. A real bonus was something you rarely see these days – ripe tomatoes!

After lunch, the CORBA workers picked up their bike tire, supplied by IMBA and CST to show appreciation for our volunteer work.

I think we had all hoped to be working on building a new trail on Saturday. Even though we were just putting the finishing touches on a dirt road, most people came away satisfied with the knowledge that we’re making it easier for the rangers and volunteers to preserve the open space and improve trail access in the future. CORBA thanks the many volunteers, especially the mountain bikers, who came out to help with this effort!

View the photo gallery of the volunteers at work and enjoying lunch afterwards!

The Ventura County Star wrote about this event on March 26, and included photos of two CORBA volunteers, including the lead photo. Here’s the link to check it out:

http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/mar/26/conejo-open-space-gets-hand-from-volunteers-to/

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