Archive for the ‘Trail Access’ Category

Report on the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days, April 28-30, 2017

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

On Thursday, in preparation for the annual Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days held every year in Pt Mugu State Park, I drove my now very dusty car down the main Sycamore Canyon trail and parked at the bottom of the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, a segment of the Backbone Trail. I hiked up the trail and flagged 59 spots where drains were needed – mostly to clean out existing drains that had become clogged with silt from the winter rains, but also some new drains about 2/3 of the way up the trail.

Saturday, CORBA volunteers and few others install drains and repair ruts on the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, a segment of the backbone trail.

Saturday morning, the State and National park services drove 17 of us, including 2 youngsters, and our work tools to the bottom of the trail. After grabbing our tools, we hiked 1.5 miles up to the work area, about 2/3 of the way to the top, and proceeded to work down. Altogether, we put installed or cleaned 26 drains.

The area of greatest concern was at the start of our work area where the trail passes through a grassy area and is solid clay. Most of the rest of the trail is very rocky. This clay section is pliable, quickly becomes depressed in the middle where a rut erodes when it rains. This section of the trail was completely restored during trailwork in February 2015, yet it was as rutted as ever after just two years. A narrow but deep rut had developed in the middle of the trail, just wide enough for a mountain bike tire to slip in and get jammed.

We learned that leveling the trail doesn’t last here, so instead we cut a drain in about every 50 feet. That involved cutting through the berm (the dirt that builds up on the outside edge of the trail and keeps the water from running off), the first few inches was as hard as concrete, despite having been rain-soaked a few weeks earlier. The drains were 3 to 5 feet wide. We used the dirt we dug out of the drains to fill in the rut on the trail. Now we have a section with frequent drains to keep the water from running all the way down the trail, and the rut is filled with dirt. Hopefully this restoration will last longer than two years!

Overall, we dug out 26 drains over 2100′ of trail and filled in about 500′ of rut! Well done, everyone!

Saturday restoration on the Upper Sycamore Trail.

While the CORBA crew was working on the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, the other volunteers (about 60 of them) worked to restore the Upper Sycamore Trail where Sycamore Creek crosses it a number of times. By all accounts, this trail was decimated by the stream. This is a very shaded trail in a deep canyon and popular with hikers, but it’s in the Wilderness Area and so closed to mountain biking.

Everyone was back to the staging area by about 2:30 so we spent the afternoon relaxing and chatting with friends until the barbecue dinner. As usual, we had chicken, hot dogs, veggie burgers, baked beans (regular and veggie), salad and garlic toast. It was up to us to bring our own beverages. As dinner was winding down, the prize give-away started. There were so many prizes that everyone must have gotten one.

Saturday barbecue dinner.

The work continued on Sunday morning with a much smaller force of about 30 total. We all shuttled up to Upper Sycamore Trail, then split into two crews. One hiked up to the top of the trail to work on tread issues while the other worked on clearing overgrowing brush from the bottom. Sunday is always a smaller and shorter event; we were back to the staging area by noon to enjoy left-overs from Saturday’s barbecue.

CORBA would like to thank all the volunteers who came out to help fix up our trails in Pt Mugu State Park. Everyone did a great job! And a special thanks goes to the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council that organizes this event every year.

You can see all the photos from this weekend in CORBA’s photo gallery, or photos from Steve Messer and Xander Tenai . Take a look to see what we accomplished.

 

Monrovia Citywide Park Master Plan – Public Meeting April 13

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

The City of Monrovia wants to hear from residents and stakeholders. How can they better meet your recreational needs?

Monvovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve

Monrovia has started work on a new citywide Park Master Plan. The new Plan will establish a path forward for providing high quality, community-driven parks, trails, natural areas, and recreation services serving Monrovia.

For Monrovia residents and stakeholders, it’s an important opportunity to ask for better quality trails and improved connectivity at Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve. Or you might want to ask for a pump track or bike park., or any number of other options.  You have to show up and ask if you want them badly enough!

The City is holding a public meeting, and will also be taking input through the MySidewalk app.

If you’re a Monrovia stakeholder and have ideas for

Public Meeting: Thursday, April 13, 2017

Monrovia Community Center
119 W. Palm Ave., Monrovia, 91016
April 13, 2017
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. 

Learn more at http://www.cityofmonrovia.org/recreation/page/citywide-park-master-plan

 

May 4th Mtn Bikers Meeting for the Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan – Phase II

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Los Angeles County has begun planning outreach for the Santa Susana Mountains. In 2012, CORBA gave significant input to the Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan (phase I). In 2015 CORBA then spoke in support of the plan before the County Board of Supervisors.

Now they’re about to start on Phase II, which includes the northeastern portions of the Santa Susana Mountains including Stevenson Ranch (Phase II.A), as well as a portion of the west San Fernando Valley foothills (Phase II.B).

We’re encouraged that Supervisor Kathryn Barger is continuing the fifth district’s support for trail planning and outdoor recreation.

An overview public meeting is scheduled for April 18. A meeting for the mountain bike community will be held on May 4th. Unfortunately, that conflicts with the first event of the Race Pedalfest series. However, mountain bikers are welcome to attend the other user group meetings, but the focus may not be on mountain biking needs. Anyone can provide comments at any time through the project website; site-specific comments can be captured through the wikimap tool (to be launched soon on the project website), or trail users can email the project lead, Zachary Likins, directly.

A full meeting schedule and more details are available on the project web site at http://www.santasusanatrailsplan.org/

 

 

2016: A Busy, Productive Year

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

2016 is behind us, and what a year it was for CORBA and mountain bikers! We were extremely busy last year, cutting trails, cutting trees, and working on behalf of the mountain bike community to ensure continued and improved access to mountain biking in the greater Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura County areas.

Jim Burton cuts the ceremonial ribbon, as Steve Messer, Matt Lay and Jenny Johnson of MWBA, and Ken's daughters Heather and Tania look on.

Opening of Ken Burton Trail

In 2016, the Gabrielino Trail Restoration project, with REI, Bellfree Contractors, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps, was completed.  Ken Burton Trail restoration with MWBA was completed, opening the Ken Burton trail and a popular loop after seven years of closure, thousands of volunteer hours, and nearly three years of planning.

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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.

2016-10-25-11-18-24a

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.

2016-10-25-12-22-14

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

 

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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Help build another new trail during the COSCA Annual Trailwork Day, October 15

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Join CORBA, SMMTC, COSCA and other volunteer groups to work on the Conejo Open Space trails in Thousand Oaks.

This year we’ll be building a new trail, about 0.7 miles long, that leads from the top of the steep ‘Baxter Road’ in Newbury Park around and down to near the south end of the Hawk Canyon Trail in the Western Plateau / Conejo Canyons.

There will be a thank you lunch and prize drawings at noon after the work. This is a great event with lots of like-minded folks to help out. If you use the trails in Thousand Oaks, come out and help build and maintain them! No prior experience is necessary and all volunteers work at their own pace, taking plenty of time to rest and chat with other trail enthusiasts!

This annual Conejo Valley event always helps to put some very sweet trails into good shape. Be sure to stay afterwards for the free lunch and raffle.

Details are available on our 2016 COSCA Annual Trailwork Day event on Meetup.com. While there, register online to show your support!

Things to bring:

• work gloves
• long pants and long sleeved shirt
• water, snack
• sunglasses and sunblock

Tools and instructions on how to use them safely will be provided. There will be a free thank-you lunch and prize give-away afterwards from noon until 2:00 pm.