Archive for the ‘Trail Access’ Category

El Nino Watch: Trail Damage and Riding after it Rains

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

We are having a severe El Nino event this winter; as a result the weather forecast is for many heavy rainstorms in the early months of 2016. That will help our drought situation, but will have seriously bad impacts on our trails. As well as muddy conditions that interfere with their use, described  below, the rains could be severe enough to erode some trails into huge ruts, and even wash them away in some cases. There may be more mudslides in Pt Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon) like we had last year. Furthermore, the rain will spur the chaparral to overgrow the trails, a condition we haven’t had to deal with much over the past couple of years because of the drought. The combination of waterlogged soil and high winds could blow trees over. We’re expecting to have special trailwork days to repair these damaged trails and hope many mountain bikers will want to help us get them back into shape!

Most trails in our local riding area don’t respond well to rain. They have a high content of clay that turns into sticky, slippery muck that binds to everything it touches. It builds up on the tires, like a snowball rolling downhill, until it jams on the frame and the wheels won’t budge. Some models of clipless pedals won’t let go when full of this mud, resulting in the bike and the attached rider lying sideways in a puddle, or worse.

Most wet trails don’t respond well to use until they’ve had time to dry out. Hikers and horses make holes and ridges in the trail that become as hard as concrete when the trail dries. These holes and ridges are good for twisting ankles.

As a rule of thumb, if your foot, tire or hoof makes an impression more than about 1/8 inch deep in the dirt, the trail is still too soft to use. Give it another day or two to dry out before using it!

On wet trails, bikes make grooves along the trail. The next time it rains, the water runs down these grooves and turns them into little ruts, then large ruts that destroy the trail.

The mud is particularly hard to remove. It sticks to the bike and shoes, no matter the efforts to remove it, rubbing off on the bike rack, car carpet and gas/brake pedals, making them slippery. Once home, it takes the careful use of a garden hose to remove the mud but not force water into the sensitive parts of the bike.

For these reasons, riders are well advised to stay off the trails after a rain until they have dried. How long to stay off? That depends on a number of factors including the particular trail, how much rain it received, how much sun it gets after the rain (is it in the shade or face south?), how warm and windy the weather is, and so on. After an isolated light rain you can probably ride the next day. After a heavy rain, you should wait several days. This is something where common sense and experience will help. Remember, tracks deeper than 1/8″ mean the trail is still too soft to use!

All is not lost when the trails are soaking! There are a few trails that hold up well when wet because they have more sand and rock that doesn’t hold the water. Here are a few you should know about:

Space Mountain (Los Robles Trail West) to the picnic table is almost always rideable, even right after a big storm. However, it can be pretty mucky from the picnic table to Potrero Road.
Rosewood Trail is pretty good, but not quite as resilient as Space Mountain.
Zuma Ridge Motorway from Encinal (the bottom in Malibu is muddy)
Dirt Mulholland around Topanga State Park.
-Brown Mountain Fireroad
-Most San Gabriel Mountains trails made up of decomposed granite
-Beaudry Fireroad
-Hostetter Fireroad
-Mt. Lukens

Comments needed by December 4th to opposed hotel plan that would block historic trail in Calabasas

Monday, November 30th, 2015
 A hiker approaches the De Anza trailhead, which will be hidden behind a hotel

A hiker approaches the De Anza trailhead, which will be hidden behind the proposed hotel.

The city of Calabasas is pushing plans for the building of the Rondell Oasis Hotel that would block access to the Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail (“DeAnza Trail”). The trail is designated as a National Historic Trail and got congressional approval and went to the white house in 2000.  This is part of the original El Camino Real route and has over 200 years of history! It is one of only nineteen such trails in the country.

The hotel will be bounded by Las Virgenes Road to the West and the 101 Freeway to the north.

The hotel will be bounded by Las Virgenes Road to the West and the 101 Freeway to the north, as indicated by the yellow outline. The wide yellow line would be a new road.

The hotel is to be built on the currently vacant property on the east side of Las Virgenes Road, immediately south of the 101 freeway, next to the Mobile station. It will occupy the area where people now park to access the DeAnza trail and the adjoining New Millennium Loop trail system.

The developer is proposing to mitigate its impact to the trail by installing approximately 4 parking spaces, a water fountain and a doggy poo-bag station. What is not said clearly is because of the flood hazards on the site, the developer is putting in concrete drainages that would block all access to the trail, and in order to access the trail they would install steps up and over the drainage to the trailhead. This is hardly bicycle or equestrian friendly. In fact, this parking area is the only one that is large enough to accommodate horse trailers for equestrians who want to ride these trails. That access would be lost.

The city of Calabasas believes that these minor accommodations would mitigate the access issues to the trail, but the proposed number of spaces is completely inadequate for this popular trail. There are other significant issues with this development that concern the citizens of Calabasas, but the city believes that they are all minor, and that no Environmental Impact Report is needed to explore the full impact and propose appropriate changes to the plan.

You can get a copy online of the city’s report, “Rondell Oasis Hotel Project: Initial Study…” Page 56 is the checklist where nothing is deemed as having any potential significant impact on a historical or archaeological resource, which isn’t the case.

An artist's rendering of the proposed hotel.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed hotel. Trail access would be via a staircase from the hotel parking lot.

We urge you to send your comments to the City of Calabasas, expressing the need for a full Environmental Impact Report. Comments must be received by December 4th, 2015! Send them to Michael Klein, the planner for this project. His email address is

CORBA’s comments can be found here. Below is a sample letter that you are free to copy and send in under your own name. Of course, it would be even better if you add a sentence or two of your own to make it more individual. Don’t forget to add a catchy subject line!

Dear Mr. Klein,

I have just learned of the Rondell Oasis Hotel Project that is to be situated on the the east side of Las Virgenes Road, immediately south of the 101 freeway. This project would block access to the popular Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail that was used by the missionaries over 200 years ago when traveling up the coast of California, and eliminate the current large parking area at the trailhead. The few parking spots that the developers plan to provide for trailhead parking would not be nearly adequate for the number of people who like to use it. Currently this is the only parking area for accessing this historic trail and the New Millennium Loop trail system that is large enough for equestrians with their horse trailers, so the project would completely eliminate their access.

The City of Calabasas’ conclusion that a full environmental impact report is not needed for this project is incorrect in my view. I urge the city to require a full Environmental Impact Report for this project!

Yours Sincerely,



Judy Chu’s HR3820 Introduced

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Today, October 23, 2015, Congresswoman Judy Chu kep20151016014-San Gabriel Mountains National Monument One Year Celebration-2t a commitment made at the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument One Year Anniversary celebration last week, and revealed to CORBA and MWBA in a meeting a few weeks prior to that. She has introduced House Bill 3820, The San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act.

The act establishes a new unit of the National Park Service. At our preliminary reading of the Act, it appears to be largely consistent with Alternative D of the San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study (SGWMSRS), which we supported, albeit with some concerns and caveats.

This act goes to great lengths in protecting existing water, property, utility and infrastructure rights, and expressly prohibits the use of Eminent Domain to acquire property. It establishes an Advisory Committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which includes water agencies, infrastructure, local governments, conservancies, environmentalists, recreation including OHV, and other stakeholders. It doesn’t, however, specifically mention bicycles. It also establishes a partnership committee to support the NRA.

The bill authorizes the National Park Service to establish the San Gabriel National Recreation Area as a new unit of the NPS. It allows them to enter into partnerships and collaborate with existing and willing land managers with the proposed boundary. This includes the Army Corps of Engineers who own and operate much of the flood control infrastructure along the river. It permits and encourages collaborations and partnerships to be leveraged to improve habitat, recreation, resource protection, water quality, infrastructure or any of the purposes for which the NRA will be established ( as specified in Section 102(A) of the bill). The NPS can only acquire land from willing sellers and enter into partnership with willing entities, agencies, and nonprofits. Despite claims to the contrary, this is not a “land grab.”

2015-10-23 - HR3820 - San Gabriel National Recreation Area, and SGNM Expansion, Judy Chu, BILLS-114hr3820ih_01The bill gives the National Park Service three years to develop a management plan and a visitor services plan, in conjunction with the Advisory Committee (and as required by NEPA, the public). There are however two words that appear highly subjective. In Section 108 (a)(3)(B) In the development of a Visitor Services Plan, the Secretary Shall consider the demand for various types of recreation (including hiking, picnicking, horseback riding, and the use of motorized and mechanized vehicles) where permissible and appropriate; [Emphasis added]. The word “appropriate” in this context is too subjective, without any reference to who makes the determination for appropriateness, and by what criteria. We know there are many who deem bicycles inappropriate anywhere, and we would hope that any determination of appropriateness of bicycles or any other form of recreation be transparent and include public involvement beyond the Advisory Committee and Partnership.

Also required is the establishment of the San Gabriel National Recreation Partnership, consisting of the many land managers, utility managers, and local governments within the boundary. The partnership includes “One designee of San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Community.”  We wonder if this is a referral to the Community Collaborative, on which CORBA President Steve Messer serves to represent bicycle recreation interests.

That original SGWMSR Study and the Alternative D supported by CORBA included most of the San Gabriel Watershed within the Angeles National Forest. This study concluded in in 2011, and was the precursor to our National Monument. In early 2014, Chu introduced legislation to establish a National Recreation Area in accordance with the study, but it was clear it was not going to make it out of committee in the congressional climate at that time. This urged her and other advocates to seek alternative protection for the San Gabriel Watershed, ie. to have President Obama declare a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (SGMNM), which included all of the San Gabriel Watershed, and then some.

One of our concerns with Alternative D of the SGWSRS was how it was going to be funded. At the time, in 2011, the Nation’s economy was in a much sorrier state than it is today, so the financial and administrative burdens a new NPS unit would create were, and still remain a concern. While we are doing better economically, we all know that our public land agencies are all dealing with reduced budgets and severe cutbacks over the past decades. As we commented in 2011, we would hope that funding be secured from additional sources that do not impact or reduce the budgets of other NPS or USFS units, including our local Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Another concern we had with the SGWMSRS was that Forest Service land outside the San Gabriel Watershed Study area under Alternative D would receive reduced services and resources from the Forest Service. We didn’t want to see all the priorities going to the National Recreation Area. Much of the area left out of the National Monument was not in the original San Gabriel Watershed Special Resource Study, which some have speculated is a reason for the exclusion from the National Monument. With our SGMNM, we have the same concerns: that areas outside the Monument under Forest Service control would be the forgotten stepchild of the National Monument.  While much attention is being placed on the National Monument, we are also seeing benefits to the rest of the Forest.

Chu’s legislation aims to correct the omission of those Forest Service lands from the SGMNM. Title 2 of HR3820 appears to expand the boundary of the existing SGMNM to include all of the Angeles National Forest south of the 14 and east of the 5. It makes no other claims and places no additional burdens on the Forest Service with respect to additional time to prepare a Management Plan. We are beginning to see the impacts of the additional funding the National Monument designation has brought to the Angeles National Forest. Thus far, we see it as good for the Forest. While we do have concerns that when and if the current bill is enacted, the Monument Management plan currently in development will need to be revised once again. Chu’s bill simply applies whatever existing National Monument management plan is in place or in development to the expanded Monument. While sounding simple in theory, the burden of changing boundaries and evaluating the additional cultural, historical, ecological and recreational resources within the expansion will take additional time.

The expansion of the existing National Monument in HR3820 already has much support within the community. Tim Brick from the Arroyo Seco Foundation has been especially vocal about his disappointment with the way the current National Monument boundaries were drawn, and that it happened without any public process or explanation of the reasoning. His feelings are widely echoed in the community, especially now that we are seeing additional funds being allocated to the Forest Service since the National Monument designation.

Our initial thoughts on the bill are positive but guarded; we need more time to digest the content of the bill and its long-term ramifications. Its intentions are in line with those of CORBA’s mission: enhancing recreation, and protecting the lands on which we recreate. If you have strong feelings about the bill please let us know as we formulate our official position.

Map of the proposed San Gabriel National Recreation Area and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Expansion:

Complete text of HR3820


Castaic Multi-Use Trail Master Plan Meeting #2

Friday, September 18th, 2015

20150917001-Castaic Trail Master Plan-1Last night, September 17, 2015, LA County held the second in the series of planning meetings announced last month. Last night’s meeting was well-attended by mountain bikers, but also by local residents who are concerned about trails and fire roads through their properties at Tapia Canyon and other locations within the study area.

It was made clear at the meeting’s outset that the County trails policy is multi-use, and that nothing in this process takes away any property owners’ rights. Just because a trail is drawn somewhere on this plan doesn’t mean it will be constructed exactly where it is drawn, or that it will be constructed at all. It will guide the County’s planning efforts for future growth.

Disrespectful and illegal behavior by a small non-representative group of riders has tarnished the image of mountain bikers in the area, while at the other end of the spectrum the NICA SoCal League teams in the area have done an outstanding job of representing our sport responsibly.

About 50 people gathered around four tables packed with maps to point out where there are important existing trails, brainstorm on where they’d like to see new connections and access points, and what types of features they’d like to see at a bike skills park. Property owners pointed out where their properties are on the map, and expressed valid concerns about trails that pass through their properties.

12047030_10206819759845884_4543868626721243399_n-1Some important issues came up, such as the preservation of iconic and unique trails in the Tapia Canyon area, access to Forest Service and Tapia Canyon blocked by the Tesoro development, and potential impacts of the Hidden Ranch at Tapia Canyon Development. It is these and other development proposals that have prompted the County to take on this important planning task. There are more people coming to the Castaic area, more homes, more business, more kids on bikes and more demand for recreational trails.

For example, there’s strong demand for a regional-quality bike park facility at Grasshopper Canyon in the Castaic Lake State Recreation Area, as proposed by CORBA some time ago. We’d like to go big, including tot, beginner, intermediate and advanced pump tracks, progressive dirt jumps, a downhill flow trail, a permanent cyclocross/XC  training and racing track, dual slalom tracks, four-cross course, progressive dirt jumps and skills areas. We’d also like to see smaller community pump tracks at easily-accessible locations through the area.

Among the other items being discussed were:

  • A long-distance, multi-use trail around Castaic Lake including access to secluded bays and beaches.
  • Trail connections from the Sports Complex to Castaic Lake SRA and to Charlie and Wayside canyons.
  • Easier access to Tapia Canyon trails through the Tesoro development
  • Continued access to Tapia via Wayside/Junkyard through the Hidden Ranch at Tapia development.
  • Connections to Forest Service trails and fire roads
  • Connections to Ventura County and Los Padres NF trails
  • Preservation of iconic and unique Tapia trails such as Dog Tag, G-Out and others.

What else would you like to add? You can still let them know.

Make Your Comments Online at

The County understands that many people are unable to attend public meetings, or need more than just a meeting to consider their needs. An online Interactive Map allows members of the public to draw in where they’d like to see trails, bike park facilities or trailhead facilities such as parking, bathrooms and water fountains. This new planning tool also allows the public to upload gps tracks of existing trails. However, the interactivity goes both ways, once something is added to the map it becomes part of the public record that others can see an comment on. There are two more meetings scheduled, aimed at the hiking and equestrian communities respectively, though all meetings are open to all members of the public.

If trails and bike parks around Castaic and Santa Clarita Valley are important to you, visit to see what others are asking for and share your own thoughts with the County and planning consultants.

Glendale Park Planning Meeting – Sep 26

Friday, September 18th, 2015

2015 Glendale Parks MeetingThe City of Glendale is growing. The increase in development of the downtown area has provided the City some funds for parks, and they are asking the public how that money should be spent.

We have some ideas, and you might too. The City wants to hear from us on Saturday, September 26, 10 a.m. – noon at the Maple Park Community Center, 820 E. Maple Street, Glendale, 91205. A third meeting will take place at the Pacific Park Community Center on Saturday, October 3, 10 a.m. – noon.

In 2008, CORBA successfully lobbied the City of Glendale to include a Bicycle Skills Park and Bike-Only downhill trail in their Trail Master Plan. In 2012, CORBA and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition advocated for a bicycle skills park in their Safe and Healthy Streets Plan (within Chapter 3, Encouragement, and Chapter 2, Education components of that plan).

We started a Glendale Bike Park petition in 2011 that gathered over 500 signatures online and several hundred more on paper. That online petition is still live and available to be signed at: This pre-dates our current Los Angeles Bike Park Collective Petition which has over 1800 signatures calling for bike parks in the greater Los Angeles area.

in 2011 CORBA’s then Vice President Steve Messer and former high school mountain biking Coach Mauricio Barba testified before the Glendale Parks Commission to propose a new bike park. Not long after, the great recession forced the City to cut back and put many programs on hold, including our Bike Park proposal.

Earlier, in 2007 CORBA gave significant input to the City of Glendale Trail Master Plan. We proposed, and the City adopted plans for a number of new trails. Since the opening of the highly successful Catalina Verdugo trail, we believe the City is ready for a beginner-friendly multi-use singletrack trail connection from Brand Library to Las Flores Motorway and South Beaudry Motorway. Such a trail would connect these popular fire road routes and make much more interesting loop ride or hikes possible, at more beginner-friendly grades than existing fire roads.

The funds available to the City of Glendale are primarily allocated for the downtown and south Glendale areas, but there is an opportunity for some of those funds be allocated to projects that have a city-wide benefit. Come on out and ask Glendale for the Bike Skills Park, and new trails that will benefit the entire community, and/or a smaller Community Pump Track for South Glendale, or perhaps even the proposed Space 134 project, where you can currently vote for a “Bike Station.”

Castaic Area Trail Master Plan Public Meetings

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Castaic Trail PlanWith proposed developments at Tapia Canyon and our pending proposal for a bike park at Castaic Lake State Recreation Area, there are some changes coming to trails and bike access in the Castaic Area. We’ve long known that the trails of Tapia Canyon, in particular, would be at risk once the developers move forward with their construction plans. We’ve had several meetings with the developers who seem willing to work with us to preserve some trails in the area.

In response to the public’s need for future planning, 5th District Supervisor Michael Antonovich has authorized the development of the Castaic Area Multi-Use Trail Plan.  The County will survey existing trails, proposed developments, desired trail connections, and gauge future trail needs to support a growing population. This will be a similar process to the Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan, a process in which we participated from April 2012 until it’s completion last year.

The first general public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 20th at 6:30 p.m., at the Los Angeles County Castaic Public Library, 27971 Sloan Canyon Road, Val Verde, CA 91384.  This meeting will be followed by three user-group specific meetings for mountain bikers, equestrians, and hikers. Currently the mountain bikers’ meeting conflicts with Interbike, so we have asked if that can be rescheduled.

Last year CORBA submitted a comprehensive Bike Park proposal for the Grasshopper Canyon area of Castaic Lake State Recreation Area which we would like to see included in this planning process.

If you’re able to, come to this meeting and express your support for our bike park proposal, for preserving existing multi-use trails, and for creating new trail opportunities, such as the conceptual “Castaic Loop Trail.”

Read the County’s Fact Sheet for more details: Castaic Area Multi-Use Trails Plan Factsheet


Castaic Area Trail Master Plan General Meeting

When: Thursday, August 20th at 6:30 p.m.,

Where: Los Angeles County Castaic Public Library, 27971 Sloan Canyon Road, Val Verde, CA 91384


Castaic Area Trail Master Plan Mountain Bikers Meeting

When: Thursday, September 17th at 6:30 p.m.,

Where: Los Angeles County Castaic Public Library, 27971 Sloan Canyon Road, Val Verde, CA 91384

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Management Plan Comments

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

need to changeToday, August 11, 2015, CORBA and the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association (MWBA), submitted joint comments to the U.S. Forest Service on the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan and Land Management Plan Amendment’s “Need to Change” Analysis.  Our comments are linked below.

As members of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Community Collaborative, we have also signed the consensus comments submitted by the Collaborative group, which we helped develop.

These are an important milestone in the development of a management plan for our new National Monument. The Presidential Proclamation directed the Forest Service to develop a management plan within three years. Most management plans take longer than that to develop, but the Forest Service’s approach to amend the current plan should allow them to complete the plan within the alotted time frame. We were pleased that the Forest Service extended the current comment period to allow for more thoughtful comments.

We were in general agreement with most of the findings of the “Need to Change” analysis, which stated specifically that the existing Forest Plan guidance on Recreation Management did not need to change. However, the Proclamation calls for the development of a Transportation Plan, which could impact recreational trail management. Accordingly, we commented on the need to develop a transportation plan for the entire Forest, both to improve recreational opportunities and to protect the resources of the Forest.

It is now up to the Forest Service to take into consideration all of the comments submitted, and their own analysis to develop a draft Environmental Assessment and Monument Management Plan. We expect that draft to be available for public review in spring, 2016.

Until that time, we’ll continue to work with the Forest Service on project-level issues including trail maintenance and restoration, in accordance with our existing partnership and volunteer agreements.

Comment PDF:  2015-08-11 – CORBA and MWBA SGMNM Need to Change Comments

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.



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