Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan Announced

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

PHLP_WkshpFlyer1_print_300dpi_01The decommissioned Puente Hills Landfill is preparing to become the newest addition to the Los Angeles County regional park system. The area has outlived it’s usefulness as a landfill, and is presently a blank canvas waiting for a public park to be developed. The proposed park is close to Chino Hillls, Turnbull Canyon and the Emerald Necklace, all areas popular for outdoor recreation, including cycling and mountain biking.

There are a there meetings scheduled:

Community Visioning Workshop, Monday, August 24, 2015, 6:30 – 8:30 and the Don Julian Elementary School, 13855 Don Julian Road, La Puente, 91746

Presentation of Alternative Park Concepts, Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 6:30 – 8:30, Hacienda Heights Community Center, 1234 Valencia Ave, Hacienda Heights, 91745

Final Draft Park Concept, Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 6:30 – 8:30, Wallen L. Andrews Elementary School, 1010 S Caraway Drive, Whittier, 90601. 

We invite mountain bikers and CORBA members to attend one or more of these meetings. The more the County hears demands for Bike Park facilities in the Los Angeles, the more likely we will be to get one. Whatever park ideas people have can to be presented and discussed at the initial meetings or by contacting moconnor@parks.lacounty.gov.

More information can be found at www.PuenteHillsLandfillPark.org.

President declares three new National Monuments

Saturday, July 11th, 2015
Three new national monuments

Three new national monuments

Yesterday, July 10, 2015, President Obama used his powers under the Antiquities act to declare three new National Monuments.  There were another three declared in February 2015, and a further monument in December. That’s seven new National Monuments since we were given the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument on October 10, 2014.

Clearly, this President has been on a roll when it comes to land protections. All of these new National Monuments will face the similar challenges of developing management plans that protect the resources of the monuments, but also allows for recreation and enjoyment of those resources. Each has their unique characteristics and each proclamation is written specifically for each monument.

Of the most recently-declared monuments, one has no real biking opportunities. The Waco Mammoth National Monument was owned and operated as an archaeological dig site by the City of Waco, Texas. Under the new monument, the city of Waco will transfer the 108 acre site to the Federal Government, via the National Park Service, who will now coordinate with the City and with Baylor University to continue archaeological research and protect the site.

The other two, Berryessa Snow National Monument in northern California, and the Basin Range National Monument in Nevada, both include trails and mountain biking opportunities on a mix of Forest Service and BLM lands. In both proclamations, recreation opportunities are considered. The Berryessa Snow proclamation reads “…motorized and mechanized vehicle use in the monument shall be allowed only on roads and trails designated for such use, consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above.”

In the Basin Range, more than 700,000 acres of Nevada desert and mountain terrain, there are many trails. The proclamation similarly states that “…motorized vehicle use shall be permitted only on roads existing as of the date of the proclamation. Non-motorized mechanized vehicle use shall be permitted only on roads and trails designated for their use, consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above. The Secretary shall prepare a transportation plan that designates the roads and trails where motorized or non-motorized mechanized vehicle use will be permitted.”

In both of the above examples, just as in our own San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, mountain bikes will be permitted only on roads and trails authorized for their use. One difference between the two, however, is that the Basin Range proclamation also explicitly prohibits the development of new motorized vehicle routes. No such restriction is placed on non-motorized trails used for mountain bikes or “mechanized” travel, but the development of a transportation plan is where the details will be hammered out.

Similarly, our San Gabriel Mountains National Monument allows existing uses on existing trails, but also calls for the development of a transportation plan that will include trails, roads, and their respective use designations. Mountain bikers in all these areas should be thankful for the elevated protections these special places have now been given, but should also remain engaged as active trail advocates, trail stewards, and partners in the development of the management plans and transportation plans that will govern our future access to and enjoyment of these special landscapes and the trails by which we experience them.

 

 

TO Acorn Publishes Article on Trail Conflict, Etiquette

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

An evenhanded account of the issues surrounding conflict and etiquette on the trails was published on the front page of the July 25th issue of the Thousand Oaks Acorn.

The article starts with an account by an equestrian in Ahmanson Ranch who felt threatened by mountain bikers who sped by and shouted expletives when asked to slow down. The equestrian also has been charged by unleashed dogs on other outings.

Mark Langton, CORBA board member and past president, is quoted extensively on the need for mountain bikers to show speed restraint when passing other people on the trail.

Another cyclists is critical of people who take poorly trained horses on trails where they can expect to encounter mountain bikers.

An equestrian from Agoura Hills says the vast majority of mountain bikers show appropriate courtesy. “This is pretty much a nonissue with all but a tiny handful of jerks on bicycles and nervous equestrians who are afraid of their horses and probably should not be on the trails in the first place.”

Finally, there are some quotes from representatives of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, including Superintendent David Szymanski.

You can read the full article here.

President’s Message: It’s complicated

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Community Collaborative

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Community Collaborative

There’s always a lot going on here in Southern California. We have recently submitted comments on the Rim of the Valley study. We’re expecting the Santa Monica Mountains NRA Interagency Trail Management Plan early next year. A new National Monument management plan development process just began, though CORBA has been involved in the Community Collaborative Group since last November. We’ve successfully alerted L.A. County of the need for another trail master plan, to be announced soon. We have pending Bike Park proposals, and a recently-opened Bike Park in Fillmore. We have a growing high school and middle school racing contingent. We have a new Forest Supervisor. There are wilderness proposals, missing links in trails, fire-damaged trails still in need of restoration, access issues on Etz Meloy (Backbone Trail). There’s no shortage of issues, threats to our public lands, our trails and access to them.

It’s complicated.

And it takes time to figure things out and try to get things right.  These studies and plans seem to disappear from the radar, only to re-emerge six months to a decade later. Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint, and CORBA is still at it after 28 years. Government is slow to move but no matter how frustratingly slow it sometimes seems, there is progress being made.

CORBA is busily engaged in all of these processes on your behalf, in partnership with IMBA, to help make sure there is progress. We continue to work to make sure the landscapes we ride and the trails we love are protected, improved, and remain open to our community.

We need each and every one of you to be engaged as well. After all, we’re all ambassadors of the sport when we’re on multi-use trails. This means ride an appropriate speed for your sightline (slow down!) and be courteous. Be safe. Follow trail etiquette best practices. Be an example for others. Leave no trace. Support CORBA. Sign a petition. There are lots of ways to have a positive impact.

Riding trails to explore our public lands is a passion we all share, and want to continue to enjoy. Enjoy your summer and keep on riding!

 

Rim of the Valley Corridor Study

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

ROTValternativeDCORBA has been involved in the Rim of the Valley Corridor since our inception. In fact, we’re so ingrained in the process that the Rim of the Valley Corridor is mentioned in our mission statement as our primary territory of concern. We were excited to see the draft study released, and have submitted comments on the plan.

The study sought to answer the following:

1. Does the area possess nationally significant natural or cultural resources?
2. Is it a suitable and unique addition to the National Park System?
3. Can it be feasibly added to the Park System?
4. Does it require direct NPS management, instead of stewardship from other groups or a public-private combination?

The answer to all of the above questions was a “yes.” The National Park Service presented four alternatives based on the study findings. The first NEPA-required “no action” alternatives serves as a baseline against which we can compare the alternatives. Alternative B allows the NPS to offer “technical assistance” to existing land managers within the study area, but falls short of allowing the NPS to make any direct capitol investments.

Alternatives C and D expand the authorized boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. What the boundary expansions really mean is that the National Park Service will be authorized to offer technical assistance to existing land managers for any project that enhances recreation, or restores habitat and connectivity. Under Alternative C or D, the NPS is also authorized to spend money on capitol projects within the expanded boundaries.

We believe that the largest operational boundary proposed under Alternative D would have the greatest long-term benefit for recreation, bio-connectivity, wildlife and the communities adjacent to the study area. It also includes the wildlife corridors linking the two areas of the Angeles National Forest separated by Highway 14, as well as between the Santa Susana Mountains and Los Padres National Forests.

The boundary expansion does not come without concern. The NPS, like most public land agencies, is currently under-funded. We would hope that any boundary expansion would come with an increase in funding sufficient to at least maintain the current level of service across the expanded NRA.

During the course of the public meetings we heard a lot of misinformation and a misunderstanding of what the boundary expansions mean. The Federal government will not be taking anyone’s property against their will. Existing land ownership rights and management authority is respected and maintained.

One thing that would change is the permitting of landfills. In our comments, we asked for the existing landfills to be excluded from the proposed NRA expansion to eliminate the need for additional permitting. We also feel that the recently completed San Gabriel Watershed and Special Resource Study which proposed a San Gabriel Unit of the NRA, must be considered and its findings also addressed by any congressional action to the effect of either.

The Rim of the Valley trail system is also important to us. It’s a proposed multi-use trail network that will encircle the San Fernando Valley, and perhaps Simi and Conejo Valleys. We feel the National Park Service will be in a good position to help facilitate its completion under Alternatives C or D.

It will probably be another year before we see a final recommendation from the study. From there it will be up to Congress to decide what to do with the recommendations.

2015-06-24 – Rim of the Valley Draft Study Comments from CORBA

San Gabriel Mountain NM – Public Meetings June 22-27.

Friday, June 5th, 2015

stelprd3829626At our last San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (SGMNM) Community Collaborative (the Collaborative) meeting, we learned the dates of the first round of public scoping meetings for the new Monument Management Plan.

President Obama gave the Forest Service three years to develop a management plan for the monument. The first step in that process is reviewing the current Angeles National Forest Management Plan, and the Presidential proclamation declaring the moment. They need to determine what needs to change in the current management plan to bring it into compliance with the proclamation and the new Monument.

The Forest Service will continue to manage the same land that was the Angeles National Forest as the SGMNM. This means they don’t need to write a new plan for the Monument. Instead They will be developing an amendment to the current management plan.

At this series of public meetings the Forest Service will present a “need to change” document: what they have so far determined needs to change in the current plan. They will be seeking public input on what they have found, and looking for public comments. Comments could be supportive, suggestive of improvements or object to the findings.

Comments will be taken at the meetings. The deadline for comments will end 45 days after this “need for change” document is released, which is expected mid-June). We understand the document is not long, expected between 10 and 20 pages long. The meetings will be four hours long, with stations explaining each aspect of the proposed changes. People can arrive at any time during the four hour window to review the materials. They will also be made available online at http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=46964.

While we don’t expect any surprises that will affect trail access for mountain bikers or other user groups. We may see changes in management structure, projects, funding and staffing levels, community involvement and access, and other things that we must consider. Until the document is released to the public we won’t know exactly what it contains.

Watch for CORBA’s reports and alerts, CORBA’s comments, and suggested comments for our members, will be posted after the first meeting. Please attend if you’re able, or visit the Forest Service planning web site at: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=46964 to keep updated.

Meeting Schedule – Save the Dates

June 22, 4-8 p.m. – Pacific Community Center, 501 S. Pacific Ave, Glendale California

June 23, 4-8 p.m. – Palmdale Legacy Commons Senior Center, 930 East Ave Q9, Palmdale, California

June 24, 4-8 p.m. – Glendora Public Library, 140 S. Glendora Ave, Glendlora, California

June 25, 3-8 p.m. – Pico House, 424 N. Main Street Los Angeles, California

June 26 4-8 p.m. – Big Pines Lodge, 24537 Big Pines Highway, Wrightwood, California

Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Released

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
The NPS Preferred Alternative
The NPS Preferred Alternative

The National Park Service (NPS) today released the findings of the Rim of the Valley (ROTV) study, including a draft Environmental Impact Report and Proposed Alternatives. The study has been underway since 2010. CORBA has commented on previous phases of the study and has also encouraged our members and the mountain biking community to do so.

The NPS has developed five alternatives for the public to comment upon. Their preferred alternative expands the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) to include much of the study area, which would allow the NPS to provide technical assistance to other land managers within the NRA.  Other alternatives include a “no action” alternative, meaning that nothing will change, a Conservation Partnership alternative, and a boundary expansion plus conservation partnership alternative.  A fifth alternative, which would have only provided planning assistance for a Rim of the Valley trail, was rejected as it didn’t meet the objectives of the study.

None of the proposed alternatives would affect or include any Angeles National Forest or San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which would remain under the management of the Forest Service. All alternatives (except the “no action” alternative) include the conceptual Rim of the Valley Trail, as originally envisioned by Marge Feinberg in her 1976 Masters thesis.

CORBA will be analyzing the study’s findings and will report back. Comments must be submitted before June 30, 2015.  An executive summary can be found here. The comprehensive set of related documents and maps, and a comment submission form can be found on the NPS Park Planning web site, while a more user-friendly overview of the process can be found at http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/index.htm

The NPS is hosting six public meetings between April 21, 2015 and June 2, 2015 to discuss the findings and alternatives presented in the draft study report. We invite and encourage all CORBA members and supporters to attend one of the public meetings. For those unable to attend, we’ll post a full report after the first meeting.

Online/Virtual Public Meeting:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 12:30 p.m.(PDT)/ 3:30 p.m.(EDT) (WebEx Connect Time)

Please check-in early as there could be some software downloads that you may need to install to participate. The meeting presentation will start promptly at 1:00 pm PDT/4:00 pm EDT.

Click here for instructions on how to participate in the online meeting.

Local Public Meetings Schedule:

Monday, May 4, 2015, 7–9 pm
La Crescenta Public Library, Community Room
2809 Foothill Blvd.
La Crescenta, CA 91214

Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 7–9 pm
William S. Hart Regional Park, Hart Hall
24151 Newhall Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321

Wednesday, May 6,2015, 7–9 pm
Conejo Recreation and Parks District
Community Room
403 West Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Thursday, May 21, 2015, 7–9 pm
Mason Recreation Center
10500 Mason Ave.
Chatsworth, CA 91311

Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 3-5 pm*
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
Hellman-Quon Building
130 Paseo de la Plaza
Los Angeles CA 90012

Are you ready for a Bike Park?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

We are. We think Los Angeles is too.

CORBA has been working to bring bike parks to Southern California for some time. Since CORBA volunteers built their first pump track (on a private property) in 2007, we’ve been watching the community bike park movement grow and accelerate around us.

We’ve had some success. Fillmore Bike Park is now officially open and available to ride. Thousand Oaks included bike park facilities in their recently approved plans for Sapwi Trails Community Park.  Kernville has a bike park and BMX track. These are the result of dedicated mountain bikers showing up to meetings and asking for them, then following through to make it happen.

Our neighboring IMBA Chapters in Orange, San Diego and Riverside Counties are all working on bringing bike parks to their communities. Now we’re ready to ask Los Angeles.

In January, the Los Angeles Dirt Park Collective was formed. CORBA has joined the Collective in their mission to bring pump tracks, dirt jumps, and bike parks to Los Angeles. We know there’s demand, but at this stage we need to let the decision makers know just how great that demand is.

How can you get involved? Right now we need a show of support. Follow the L.A. Dirt Park Collective on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LADirtPark

Sign the petition, share it with your friends, and help spread the word.   https://www.change.org/p/spread-the-word-and-help-us-create-the-first-ever-los-angeles-dirt-park

Alex Baum: A Tribute

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
Alex Baum, bigger than City Hall

Alex Baum, bigger than City Hall

On March 1st 2015, Los Angeles and the world lost a giant in the world of bicycle advocacy when Alex Baum passed away at 92 years old. A modest man of great integrity, he may have accomplished more in his over 40+ years of bicycle advocacy than all the advocacy groups combined. He never met a bicycle project, program or cause that he didn’t get behind in some way…and his impact was felt worldwide.

Alex was a holocaust survivor. Born in France he grew up in the years right before WWII. He and his brother Marcel were involved with the French Resistance and assisted by guiding allied troops and others back to safety. Eventually captured by the Germans, Alex and his brother were imprisoned in several concentration camps including a Nazi labor camp where he was helping build the V2 rockets and secretly sabotaging them at the same time.

After the war, Alex played on the French National Soccer team before he, his brother and their families immigrated to the United States. Eventually settling in California, Alex built a successful catering business. Alex’s love of cycling was cultivated once again. Originally, Alex and his family played host when stages of the Tour de France came through their home town of Vic‐Sur‐Seille, near Lyon.

Alexis Lantz (LACBC), Steve Messer (CORBA), Mayor Villaragosa, Alex Baum, and Jennifer Klausner (LACBC/CORBA) at the signing of the LA Bike Plan

SIgning of the LA Bike Plan

Alex’s impact can be seen everywhere in Los Angeles County. Early on in his involvement he served on the board of the Encino Velodrome and the United States Cycling Federation (later USA Cycling), and was the first American appointed to the Union Cycliste International. Alex was appointed to the organizing committee for the 1984 Los Angeles Games. He was involved in 7‐11 becoming a sponsor of pro‐cycling in the United States and sponsoring the Olympic Velodrome in Los Agneles. Ahead of his time, Alex helped get women’s cycling introduced into the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Alex was also instrumental in putting together the Tour de California.

Alex chaired and served on the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee for over 30 years. He envisioned the LA River Bike Path and many more bike lanes and routes throughout the region. In 2012 on his 90th birthday they rededicated the bridge over Los Feliz as the Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge. Alex was responsible for the LAPD building up a bicycle patrol program and was involved in the funding and acquisition of their first police bikes.

Alex and Jennifer Klausner at CORBA's 25th Anniversary

Alex and Jennifer Klausner at CORBA’s 25th Anniversary

He was a close confidant of Mayor Tom Bradley and many other political, business and important figures…from the police chief to the mayor to county supervisors and studio heads. Everyone loved and respected Alex. Walking through city hall with Alex was like being with a true celebrity. Alex had access (no appointment necessary) to every city council office in city hall.

Alex never rode a mountain bike…but that didn’t stop him from trying to get trails opened in the city of Los Angeles. What was unique about Alex was his willingness to help and to share his contacts for any bicycle project. He would gladly take you “under his wing” through city hall to help expedite or initiate the necessary contacts to get a project through. He adopted CORBA as one of his pet projects and did everything he could to help us with LA City mountain bike access. CORBA awarded Alex the Al Farrell award in 1999, but we could have given it to him many times over for all of his efforts.

There are many stories…Alex he loved to share his stories. Alex’s family hosted Jesse Owens after the 1936 Berlin Olympics when athletes did not get “sponsored” for their travel to and from the games…and athletes of color couldn’t easily get accommodations anywhere. Years later Alex bumped in to Jesse at LAX surrounded by a group of fans and well‐wishers. Alex made his way up and re‐introduced himself to Jesse…and Jesse gave Alex a big hug and broke down in tears remembering what his family had done for him. This was Alex…he was a legend to the legends.

Another great Alex story happened right after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Living in North Hollywood, he went to a local 7‐11 and found the store owner selling water for $20/ gallon as it was in short supply. Alex said something about the ethics of price gouging to the owner, but was told it was none of his business and that he (the owner) could charge whatever he wanted.

Councilman Garcetti (now Mayor), Mayor Villaragosa, Councilman Ed Reyes, LACBC's Jennifer Klausner and Alex Baum

Councilman Garcetti (now Mayor), Mayor Villaragosa, Councilman Ed Reyes, LACBC’s Jennifer Klausner and Alex Baum

Alex did not argue with the owner…he left and went home to call an executive at 7‐11 (remember, he had relationships at the highest level at 7‐11 from his involvement with their sponsorship of cycling). Within a short time, the store owner was back to selling water at the regular price…under threat from 7‐11 management of losing his franchise. Alex was very effective when he set his mind to something.

Above all Alex loved his family and the people he met through cycling…and we loved him. Alex will be missed by many, but his impact will live on and positively affect millions for many years to come.

Action Alert: Save the Palm Canyon Epic

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
Epic views of the Santa Rosa Mountains

Epic views of the Santa Rosa Mountains

Palm Canyon Epic (PCE) is one of the iconic long-distance rides of Southern California. It’s a spectacular point-to-point route in the Santa Rosa Mountains, south of Palm Springs and Cathedral City. It’s a place that many dedicated mountain bikers make an annual winter pilgrimage to ride.

Though it’s outside CORBA’s territory, many CORBA members and supporters ride the trail. The BLM has completed an environmental document for a land swap with the Agua Caliente band of Cahuila Indians. When the land was parceled out in the 1800’s, it was done in a checkerboard fashion. Alternating lots were deeded to the Indian tribe and to the U.S. government through the BLM. The land swap is an attempt to consolidate ownership of contiguous properties so the land can be more easily managed.

While the tribe’s stewardship of their lands has been positive, the tribe doesn’t allow bicycles on trails.  They charge a fee for hikers and equestrians. In the land swap, portions of the Palm Canyon trail, and many other trails important to the local communities, would become tribal land. Though the tribe have stated they would keep the trail open, there is nothing in this environmental document requiring them to do so. They’ve already posted “no bikes” signs on the Indian Potrero trail, which crosses tribal land for a short distance, and is a part of the classic PCE.

Now is the time to make your voice heard and write to the BLM. We believe it is in everyone’s best interest to keep these trails within public ownership (BLM). Scenario 1 is our preferred option, which keeps the trails with the BLM. Our colleagues at the San Diego Mountain Bike Association provide more background information and have drafted a letter that you can cut and paste. You can find their letter here. Comments must be received by March 29th, 2015!

IMG_20141222_080605

Beautiful and challenging

Whether you’ve already ridden it and love it, or would like to be able to do so in the future, do it now!  It will only take a minute or two of your time, and every letter or email sent counts.

A classic long-distance desert ride

A classic long-distance desert ride

If you’re not familiar with this epic rides, you can watch a couple of Palm Canyon mountain biking videos.