Private Property Should Be Respected

By Mark Langton

It has come to our attention that due to vandalism, trespassing, and disrespectful behavior by some inconsiderate mountain bikers, the private horse trail that connects Sullivan Canyon at Queensferry Rd. and the residences below at Old Ranch Road (Brentwood) will have gates and cameras installed.

We have known about this situation for quite a while. And even though this trail was created more than 70 years ago for horses only, hikers and bikers have also been using it. But because of continued vandalism to signs and disrespectful, even aggressive behavior by some mountain bikers toward local residents, the decision to install large gates and surveillance cameras has been made by homeowners.

In our literature it is stated that you should always respect private property (it’s #1 of our Rules of The Trail). I am disheartened to learn that some people would be so blatantly rude and uncaring. CORBA can’t be everywhere all the time, nor should we have to remind people of common courtesy. So please don’t go saying “CORBA should do this or that” in response to this situation; we are just the messenger. Some idiot mountain bikers created this problem, and it’s all because of selfish attitudes. And please do not defend or justify these people’s behavior: The fact is, the trail is on private property, and they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Cyclists are encouraged to use the public route: Queensferry to Bayliss,  Bayliss (either direction) to Westridge Road, down Westridge and out Mandeville Canyon to Sunset Blvd.

Here is some additional information sent to us by local resident Sara Nichols regarding this situation:

This trail has been in use for almost 70 years.  Sometime in the 1970’s one of the property owners on the trail tried to close it off.  Suit was brought by one of the horse riders on Old Ranch Rd. on behalf of all the riders.  He prevailed and the trail is now a prescriptive easement for horse riders; specifically not bikers.  Over the years more signs than anyone can count have been ripped out/destroyed by bikers.  Recently, one was viciously vandalized–the metal posts on which it was mounted were either broken or sawed off, leaving two potentially dangerous spikes in concrete sticking up and the sign itself thrown into the canyon below.  Though a police report has been filed, it was the last straw.  Now a gate and a camera, which will be on 24/7, will be placed on the upper part of the trail.  The gate will be installed to make it impossible for bikers to get through. 

 It is an expense and big inconvenience (getting on and off a horse to open and close the gate) that we have been trying to avoid for years but, unfortunately for the considerate bikers, the bad apple bikers brought this on.  We are constantly sending workers there to straighten out the mess they make of the trail so that the horses won’t go lame.  They never once have done any repair work on trail.  They are aggressive, dangerous and clueless about horses. 

8 Responses to “Private Property Should Be Respected”

  1. Brad says:

    Mark – what did you do to confirm Sara Nichols story that a judgement was obtained in the 1970’s specifically banning mountain bikes from this trail? Do you have a link/copy of the judgement you can share? Or some evidence for CORBA & this woman’s assertion that bikes are not allowed on this trail.
    Logically, if an prescriptive (adverse) easement exists for horses because they have been using the trail for a long time why wouldn’t a similar one exist for hikers and mountain bikers who have also been using the trail for many years?
    Reagrdless of the status of the trail, I also feel the woman’s tone and assertions regarding mountin bikers should have been challenged. She may have workers to do her trail work for her, but I do PLENTY of trail work on my own. I am also NOT aggressive, dangerous or clueless about horses.

  2. markmtb says:

    I did not do anything to confirm that a judgement was obtained. I was going on her word. Why should I have had to verify her story? This is not CORBA’s problem, it is a human nature problem. Some idiots on bikes have ruined it for the rest of us. Sara even noted that not all the mountain bikers she and others have encountered are aggressive and disrespectful. CORBA can not change people’s behavior if they do not want to change. It is up to the responsible mountain bikers to try and spread the message that your actions speak for the entire community.

  3. Reality Check says:

    “I did not do anything to confirm that a judgement was obtained. I was going on her word. Why should I have had to verify her story?”

    It’s called doing your due diligence before forming an opinion and lambasting an entire user group, fool.

    YOU and your knee-jerk apologist ilk are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    It would be fantastic if folks like you actually thought before posting the idiocy above.

    • markmtb says:

      Dear Reality Check,

      It would be appreciated if you did not resort to simple name-calling to try to convey your point. In my article I stated “some mountain bikers”, not the entire user group. I also stated that we have known about this situation for quite some time, and we do know in fact that the trail is private. I apologize if this does not satisfy your definition of due diligence.

      If I had been unaware that this situation had been happening, or if I had never heard of stories about antagonistic mountain bikers on this trail from a variety of trusted sources (including mountain bikers who witnessed such aggressive and antagonistic behavior), then I certainly would have done some investigating. I disagree that my reaction was knee-jerk; I’ve been doing this for over 25 years and it’s certainly not the first time I’ve heard of this kind of behavior by mountain bikers, whether it’s at this location in Brentwood or dozens of other places in the region. As far as being an apologist, I have done more apologizing for mountain bikers than anything, and frankly I’m getting tired of it.

      Perhaps you would like to do the investigative work you are requiring? CORBA would be greatly appreciative, because as a volunteer organization we are overworked and understaffed. Thanks!

  4. Mindy Beardsley says:

    I am a horse rider in this canyon. It is in fact private property that has been designated for horses – specifically NOT bicyclists. There is a sign at the bottom of the trail on Old Ranch Road that states the California code that this is a horse trail and not to be used by cyclists.

    It would be nice for these cyclists to realize how dangerous they are to horses and hikers on this trail – the cyclists can use Mandeville Canyon to exit the trails.

    We will be working on fixing these trails and ensuring that they are safe for the horses. Please, cyclists, have respect and stay off this trail.

    • markmtb says:

      Thank you for the update. It would be great if all the cyclists in the area read our blog, or even paid attention to posted closure signs, but the fact is, we can’t reach everyone. And even if we could, we can’t control inconsiderate or illegal behavior. We are a volunteer organization that advocates for shared use trails on public trails. With this situation we absolutely respect the prevailing laws and regulations.

      -Mark Langton

  5. Mindy Beardsley says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your answer. Do you have any advice for us on how to handle the situation respectfully? Everyone, I know, wants to enjoy the mountain and trails and safety is of utmost importance while making it an enjoyable experience for everyone. There are many mountain bikers that are so nice and courteous around the horses…..just a few that are not. However, I’m not sure they realize this one specific trail is private and no bicycles or other wheeled vehicles are permitted (Penal Code SEC. 602).

    In your opinion, how can we re-install our signs at the top (off Queensferry) to let them know not to use the trail (without it being vandalized again?) It’s just a matter of time before a hiker or a rider and horse are injured.

    We would love to work with you on this.

    Thank you so much,

    Mindy Beardsley

  6. […] The Westridge trailhead is located at the end of Westridge Road in Los Angeles. 90049**There used to be an easement that offered a slight variation of the trail on Old Ranch Road, a private road neighboring Mandeville Canyon, but it appears as if that entrance is now closed to the public. […]