Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Comments

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Community Collaborative

The Community Collaborative hands comments to the Forest Service

Last Thursday, October 27, 2016, the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Community Collaborative group (Collaborative) finalized their consensus comments on the SGMNM Management Plan. The process was helped immensely by the extension of the public comment period through to today, November 1st.

The Collaborative took a long, hard look at the draft Management Plan, and felt that it fell short of accomplishing everything desired by the community, and mandated by the Presidential Proclamation.  I served on the Monument and Transportation Plan Coordinating Committee, tasked with developing comments for the entire Collaborative to review and approve. We broke down the management plan, and assigned sections to those with expertise and interest in the section topics.  I helped write the Sustainable Recreation section with the Sierra Club representative, while the Heritage Resources section was initially drafted by an archaeologist. Over the course of two months, numerous conference calls, and four Collaborative meetings, the comments were developed and modified into a document that all members could support.

The Collaborative’s strength comes from the diversity of its membership. When the Collaborative was convened, effort was made to bring in diverse and sometimes opposing viewpoints, including some who did not initially support the Monument. Over the course of nearly two years, Collaborative members have become much more aware of and sensitive to the issues and viewpoints of other members. It’s been a slow process of building trust, and coming up with compromises that support the greater vision for the Monument.  The member list is available on the National Forest Foundation’s SGM Community Collaborative page, along with all our meeting records and documents.

The Collaborative code of conduct prohibits any Collaborative member from submitting individual or organization comments that are contradictory to those of the Collaborative.  CORBA’s comments supplement the Collaborative comments, addressing a few issues not addressed by the Collaborative. Both are posted here for review.

Nothing in the Management plan directly affects mountain bike access to existing trails. Much of the draft plan and the Collaborative comments concern social and environmental justice, transportation, and heavily impacted areas of the Monument.

The Forest Service expects to release a Final Management Plan next spring, as they read through and respond to all the public comments received. That will be followed by an objection period, then a final Record of Decision.  The Presidential Proclamation mandates the completion of the plan by October 10, 2017, the third anniversary of the establishment of the Monument.

The Collaborative’s Comments

CORBA and MWBA Comments

 

Castaic Trails and Puente Hills Park Plans Approved

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016
Park and Rec Staff give their report

Park and Rec Staff give their report

October 25, 2016 was a great day for trails, open space and bike parks in Los Angeles County.  Some time ago, we learned that the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan would be on today’s County Board of Supervisors agenda.  Last week, we were notified that the Castaic Multiuse Trail Master Plan would be on the same agenda.

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Kevin from SCV Trail Users speaks to support the Castaic plan.

Both these plans include Bike Skills Parks, as proposed by CORBA to the County in 2011.  It’s been a long process with much input from local residents, trail users, mountain bikers and environmental and social justice organizations. With these bike skills parks appearing on their respective master plans, which will be incorporated into the County General Plan, we have confirmed a future Los Angeles that will include bike skills parks.

The Puente Hills plan includes two bike skills area, one in Phase One, and a second in Phase two. The Castaic plan identifies three potential bike skills park sites. The plans do not include specific bike park designs. These designs will take some time, and much community involvement. The onus will be on us, the mountain biking community, to follow through and remain engaged in the design process, and ultimately, to help raise funds and build these facilities.

These planning documents are intended to guide long-term development over multiple decades, as funding and other opportunities become available. Fully realized, they will provide many miles of multi-use trails, trailhead staging areas, and other amenities. The Puente Hills plan includes multiple recreational amenities, including public performance spaces, a zip line, bike skills park, dog park, and balances that with habitat restoration and native landscaping. There is something for everyone.

Four of us spoke in favor of the Castaic plan, including CORBA, the SoCal High School Cycling League and SCV Trail Users, while one local resident expressed concerns that a proposed trail in the plan traverses her property. Supvervisor Antonovich asked the park planning staff how the plan addresses and protects private property rights and received assurances that easements or property acquisitions will only take place from willing sellers.

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Over 30 people came to speak on the Puente Hills plan, rallied by our friends at Bike SGV, the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and CORBA.  It was obvious to the County that there is tremendous community support for the plan, so it wasn’t necessary for all 30 to speak. Wes Reutman from Bike SGV, spoke on behalf of the group.  Support also came from the Wilderness Society and the Trust for Public Land.

We want to express our sincere thanks to both the County Department of Parks and Recreation, and the County Supervisors for supporting the development of these plans.  We also extend our appreciation to Alta Planning for their great work on engaging the Santa Clarita Valley community in the development of the Castaic Plan, and Withers & Sandgren Landscape Architecture firm who were enlisted as the prime consultant on the Puente Hills plan. Both the Castaic and Puente Hills planning processes typified the type of extensive community outreach and engagement that are necessary to develop viable community-driven plans that reflect the desires and address the concerns of the community and trail and park users.

Of special note is the long-standing support for trails and open spaces exhibited by Supervisor Antonovich, who will term out at the end of this year. His legacy includes the Santa Susana Trails Master Plan, and the Castaic Multiuse Trail Master Plan. As an equestrian and a champion of multi-use trails, Supervisor Antonovich has arguable had a greater impact on trails in Los Angeles County than any other single elected official in the area. In fact, 30 years ago, I served as assistant race director of the Olive View Challenge, a running, cycling, mountain biking and BMX event raising funds for Olive View hospital. Supervisor Antonovich was an ardent supporter of our nacent mountain biking race then (the first ever sanctioned mountain bike race on County and National Forest lands). He’s been a champion of trails since, and throughout his career in County government.

While a great step forward, there is still a lot of work to be done before we’ll be shaping dirt into pump tracks, jumps, and skills features at either Castaic or Puente Hills. We hope to begin the design phase for Castaic as early as next year. Puente Hills needs a few more years for the landfill to settle, and phase one will likely begin in late 2017 through 2019.

Hastain Trail Closed to Public on Appeal

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

hastain-trail

In March 2011, we reported on the Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon. A mega-mansion developer, Mohamed Hadid, had purchased a parcel of land traversed by the Hastain Trail in 2002. In 2011, he began development of the site, putting up a fence to block the trail without any public notice.

hastain trail closedImmediately, local hiker Ellen Scott formed the Friends of Hastain Trail. They fought the developer in court, with the backing of the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority. The previous owner had never prohibited public entry to the land via the Hastain Trail for at least five years prior to 1972. Witnesses testified hiking the trail as far back as 1965. Hadid did not close the trail for nearly ten years that he owned it.

In October 2012, we reported that Friends of Hastain Trail won the lawsuit, and the trail was reopened to the public. The decision was based on state laws regarding prescriptive easements.

Hadid, who has since been charged with criminal misdemeanor offences relating to another property   he is developing, and was named one of L.A.s “ten worst neighbors of 2015,” appealed the decision. The appeals court recently overturned the ruling, once again closing the trail to the public.

The battle for the trail is not over. Though Hadid has offered to provide an alternative route through his property, the route he proposes doesn’t have the views afforded by the existing trail, and is not an equitable replacement.

Efforts are now underway to appeal the decision to a higher court, which the MRCA and CORBA are supporting. Stay tuned for updates.

Update, October 21, 2016:  We just learned that the Supreme Court has declined to take on the case. This means a loss for trail users and a win for the mega-mansion developer, who will now get to close the historic trail to build five mega-mansions.

 

County Supervisors to vote on the Castaic Trail Master Plan

Friday, October 14th, 2016

On October 25, 2016, the same day that the County Supervisors will vote on the Puente Hills Landfill Park master plan, they will also be voting on the Castaic Area Multiuse Trail Master Plan.  The plan and environmental documents can be viewed at http://castaicmultiusetrails.org.

 

The Castaic Area Multiuse Trail Master Plan has been developed over the past eighteen months, as concerns over trails impacted by housing developments in the Castaic Area was growing. The Tapia Canyon area, future home to a 276 home residential development, has a network of user-created trails on private property that have served as a mountain biking destination for the local community for many years.

The developer reached out to the trail user community. The trail user community in turn reached out to Los Angeles County. With support from Supervisor Antonovich, the County Parks and Recreation division was tasked with developing a trail master plan for the Castaic Area. The objective was to develop a plan that would guide future trail development, and provide a framework for future planning.

CORBA also took this opportunity to move forward our 2010 LA County Bike Park proposal, and feedback was gathered through this process on where a Bike Skills Park might be located in the Castaic area. Three potential bike park locations have been identified in the plan.

The plan also lays out the framework for improving connectivity to and between existing trail networks, parking and trailhead infrastructure for equestrians, and for other users. The County held a series of user group specific meetings at which the public was invited to draw on maps where trails should be, where they are now but aren’t shown, and what facilities or improvements may be needed to bring unofficial trails into the County trail system.

On October 25, 2016, the County Board of Supervisors will vote on the plan. If approved the plan will be incorporated into the Los Angeles County General Plan. It doesn’t mean that the bike park and proposed new trails will be built. If funding or development opportunities arise, the plan will help guide investments in trails and bike parks.

CORBA will be there to speak in support of this plan and the Puente Hills Landfill Park master plan, and to further advocate for the construction of bike skills parks at both locations.  We are building momentum in bringing Bike Parks to Los Angeles, but without community support, they won’t happen. Now it’s up to us to urge our elected officials to support the trail master plan and bike park components. Here’s how to help:

JOIN US at the Board meeting, 9:30 am, Tuesday October 25, at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Room 381B, 500 W Temple Street, Los Angeles.  You can comment on the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan, and the Castaic Trail Master Plan, both of which include bike skills parks.

Email your County Supervisor! Let them know you support a multi-use Puente Hills park that provides a diverse array of recreational opportunities including multi-use trails and a bike park.

 

Supervisor Solis: firstdistrict@bos.lacounty.gov ;

Supervisor Anontovich: fifthdistrict@lacbos.org ;

Supervisor Knabe: AValenzuela@lacbos.org

 

LA County Supervisors to vote on Puente Hills Landfill Park

Thursday, October 13th, 2016
Click for a larger map

Click for a larger map

On October 25, 2016, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will vote on the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan. The plan includes a bike park, multi-use trails, and much more. The design and environmental documents have been developed through a long and ongoing public process.

We feel the Plan is an excellent vision of the mixed recreational uses and habitat restoration which were the predominant desires expressed by the public. The plan does an excellent job of incorporating the public’s collective input.  Beyond the bike park, the design includes trails, recreational facilities, open space, habitat restoration, performance space, interpretative elements, and wildlife corridors that will connecting existing trails and habitats in the Puente-Chino Hills.

If you’ve been following the process, Bike SGV, CORBA, Mount Wilson Bicycling Association and many local cyclists have been involved in this process since it began.  There is active opposition to the plan, so we must urge our County Supervisors to approve the plan. Members of the public are invited to speak or provide written comments, even if it’s only to say “I support the Puente Hills Landfill Park master plan, including and especially the bike park components.”

We are building momentum in bringing Bike Parks to Los Angeles, but without community support, they won’t happen. Now it’s up to us to urge our elected officials to support the proposed park design. Here’s how to help:

JOIN US at the Board meeting, 11:00 am, Tuesday October 25, at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, Room 381B, 500 W Temple Street, Los Angeles.  You can comment on the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan, and the Castaic Trail Master Plan, both of which include bike skills parks.

Email your County Supervisor! Let them know you support a multi-use Puente Hills park that provides a diverse array of recreational opportunities including multi-use trails and a bike park.

Supervisor Solis: firstdistrict@bos.lacounty.gov ;

Supervisor Anontovich: fifthdistrict@lacbos.org ;

Supervisor Knabe: AValenzuela@lacbos.org

Sign the SGV petition!

 

 

Malibu Wants to Know if We Want a Pump Track

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

trancasfield_map_2-1476310800-6421The city of Malibu is asking the public what type of facility we want at Trancas Field. They are conducting an online survey. If you live in or near Malibu, we need your votes! If you don’t live in Malibu, but would visit a bike park there, we need your votes too.

Please help convince the City of Malibu to include a “skate park” and “bicycle pump track” in Malibu by voting in this public survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SXCB7M2

In question #1 fill out your Contact Information.

and for #2 choose the “Hard surface athletic facilities”

and for # 11 choose the “Skate Park” and ALSO “Bike Pump Track”.

You don’t have to fill out anything else unless you see something you like.

There will be a series of public meetings where every voice can make a difference. The deciding factor in Thousand Oaks was that over 100 cyclists came to the first meeting and asked for a bike park. If you can make one of these, please save the dates, but at least fill out the online survey:

Date Meeting Location Time
October 12 to
December 12
Trancas Field Questionnaire Online N/A
October 17 Teen & Youth Community Workshop Malibu City Hall 7:00 PM
November 2 Community Workshop Malibu West Beach Club 6:30 PM
November 30 Community Workshop Malibu City Hall 6:30 PM

We recently had a bike park approved in Thousand Oaks, and next week we’re hoping the LA County Board of Supervisors will approve the proposed bike park at Puente Hills Landfill. Let’s keep this train rolling!

 

Thousand Oaks approves Sapwi Trails Master Plan, with Bike Park

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Tonight, October 10, 2016, the City of Thousand Oaks held a hearing on the Sapwi Trails Community Park master plan and environmental documents.

The hearing took nearly 2 1/2 hours, with fifteen people commenting on the project. There was a report by the City Planner summarizing the plan, as well as supporting testimony from Tom Hare, director of the Conejo Rec and Parks District (CRPD). Commissioners were given the opportunity to tour the site over the past few days.

Several commenters were there in support of the non-motorized model aircraft area. Thousand Oaks High School cross country club spoke in support of the trails. Newbury Park High School mountain bike coach Dorothy Sullivan, and Steve from CORBA spoke in support of the plan.

Steve Messer speaks before the commission

Steve Messer speaks before the commission

Only two local residents expressed opposition to the plan citing a “loss of nature” as a concern, even though of the 142 acre park, only about 17 acres will be developed, and the habitat along Lang Creek will be restored. A few locals expressed support for the plan, but wanted assurance that their concerns about parking. safety and privacy were addressed.

Next steps will be a planning process for the bike skills park. The master plan only identifies the approximate location of the bike park, and is not a bike park design. The bike park will be planned through a series of public meetings sometime in mid-2017.

One of the Commissioners noted that she felt the City had enough traditional parks to accommodate more mainstream stick and ball sports, and welcomed this plan incorporating several alternative recreation opportunities including mountain biking, cross country running, model glider flying, and frisbee golf. The Plan can be found here, and CORBA’s testimony can be found here.

We commend the CRPD for their extensive outreach to the community, for listening to us, and for producing this forward-thinking plan. We look forward to actively engaging in the continued planning and construction of the Sapwi Trails bike park.

 

CORBA and IMBA Membership Drive

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

This fall IMBA is doing a membership drive. Between now and October 30th, by joining or renewing your membership to CORBA and IMBA, you’ll be eligible for a drawing for a Yeti SB 5c mountain bike, and a year’s supply of nutrition from CLIF Bar including set of Maxxis Tires (27.5 or 29). If you’d rather not support new trails, but want to be eligible, you can sign up for an entry at https://www.imba.com/2016-membership-contest-signup.

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Women who join or renew before October 30 will also be eligible for a prize from CORBA, to be drawn at our upcoming Rocktober event in Castaic. We have goodies from REI, Ergon, and others.

So go ahead and join this month. If you’re membership isn’t expired, an additional year will be added to your membership so there’s nothing to lose. Support CORBA and become a member today!  You might end up with a cool new Yeti mountain bike, or other goodies.

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
President Obama signs the proclamation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

President Obama signs the proclamation, October 10, 2014

Next month, October 10, 2016 marks the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s proclamation declaring the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. We’re also two years in to the three-year deadline imposed on the Forest Service to develop a Management Plan for the new National Monument.  The management plan development process is well on track to meet the October 10, 2017 deadline for completion, with a draft Environmental Analysis (EA) and draft Management Plan released on August 17, 2016. The public has until November 1st to submit comments on the EA and draft Plan.

Since the Proclamation, the Forest Service has conducted the Need to Change analysis, identifying what needed to change in the current Forest Management Plan to fulfill the mandates of the Proclamation. CORBA and thousands of others subhttp://need to changemitted comments on what we thought needed to change, which the Forest Service considered when developing the EA and draft Plan. The comment period has been extended until November 1st, to ensure everyone ample time to review, while still keeping on track for the 2017 deadline.

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Thousand Oaks Planning Commission Hearing for Sapwi Trails

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

In 2012, CORBA put out the call for the public to come to Thousand Oaks to show support for a new Bike Park facility at what was then called Lang Ranch.  You responded in droves, and the Conejo Rec and Parks District heard. Now renamed the Sapwi Trails Community Park, the re-envisioned park includes many items the mountain biking community asked for.

In our last bike park update we had little news other than the environmental process was moving forward.  The project’s environmental review is now complete.

The most recent iteration of the park’s master plan includes a beginner pump track at one end of park as a component of a smaller, local neighborhood park. The neighborhood park at the corner of Erbes Road and Scenicpark Street also includes restrooms, a boulder garden, picnic areas, a practice disc golf basket, parking areas, and trail connections to the rest of the larger Community Park.

The larger Community Park includes disc golf, a multi-use trails network, bicycle skills features along some of those trails, interpretive exhibits, additional parking, and a non-motorized model glider port among other things. It also features a dedicated area for a bike skills park. The plan shows two pump tracks and skills features, but is there only as a placeholder. The Bike Park will undergo a separate design process, based on input from the bicycling community.  The master plan is available at the CRPD web site, and archived here.

Sapwi Trails Conceptual Bike Park Plan THousand Oaks

Note this is a “conceptual” placeholder design for the bike park area.

The plans will be presented to the City of Thousand Oaks Planning Commission for approval on October 10 at 6 pm.  We urge anyone, especially those local to the Conejo Valley, to attend the Commission hearing, fill out a speaker card, and express your support for the plan, including the trails and bike skills park components (and any other components you’d like to support).