Archive for the ‘Trail Access’ Category

Santa Monica Mountains Draft Trail Management Plan Released

Friday, January 31st, 2014

 

smmtmp-coverOn Friday, January 31, 2014, CORBA was notified that the long-awaited Santa Monica Mountains Draft Trail Management Plan (TMP) had been released in draft form for review. In developing the plan, NPS supposedly inventoried all existing trails, including “unofficial” or “volunteer” trails, and lays out a vision for how the entire trail system will be managed going forward. The plan has been in development for more than ten years, with several false starts and periods of uncertainty due to dwindling budgets, lack of staff and other limitations. The NPS last year received a grant to complete the plan.

Now that the draft has been released, we will be going over it in detail over the coming weeks  to see whether our concerns have been given due consideration. We’d encourage everyone familiar with the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains to see if there are any trails they know of that will be affected by the proposed plan.

CORBA has a long-standing request for bicycle access to particular trails that are currently closed to bikes. Our list goes back more than two decades, but our formal requests were, at least in part, the impetus for State Parks to develop their formal Change In Use (CIU) process. So far, two trails for which we requested a change in use have been evaluated using the CIU methodology. One of those, the Canyon trail in Placerita Canyon (a State Park unit managed by L.A. County) was reviewed and opened to bikes after trail modifications were made. The other trails that were approved for a change in use have been on hold due to a lack of funds, a need for major re-routes, and pending the final release of the TMP.

We’re hoping to see the trails for which CORBA has formally requested a Change In Use, a list that goes back more than a decade, have been given due consideration in the TMP. We’re also hoping to see plans for new trails to provide better through-connectivity, including a multi-use bypass trail around the Boney Mountain State Wilderness, among other things. We’d also like to see the Backbone trail opened in its entirety, or viable multi-use singletrack alternate routes for sections that can’t or won’t be opened to bikes.

The TMP document is complex. Since the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area includes land owned by multiple agencies, it was quite an undertaking to coordinate the effort between the affected agencies: State Parks, National Park Service, Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, LA County, private landowners and others.

The plans can be downloaded for viewing at:  http://www.nps.gov/samo/parkmgmt/tmp-index.htm.  The public comment period ends on April 1st. We aim to have reviewed the documents in detail and offer our assessment and comment suggestions by the end of February.

Two Public hearings are scheduled, and we encourage anyone with an interest in the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains to attend:

February 20, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
King Gillette Ranch 
Dining Hall 
26800 Mulholland Highway 
Calabasas, CA 91302  
 
February 22, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Temescal Gateway Park 
Woodland Hall 
15601 Sunset Blvd. 
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 
 
 

Sullivan Canyon Pipeline Work Begins January 6

Friday, December 20th, 2013

From the Public Affairs Office of Southern California Gas:

Since 1960, Southern California Gas Company (“SoCaIGas”) has owned much of the land that comprises Sullivan Canyon (more than 4 miles in length). This property is used as a corridor for two transmission pipelines that provide Los Angeles residents with a safe and reliable supply of natural gas. Periodically, SoCalGas must perform maintenance on these pipelines. The purpose of this letter is to provide information on pipeline maintenance and repair work that will occur in 2014.

Purpose of this Work

We recently internally inspected our pipeline. By code, we have areas we are required to perform a visual inspection of the pipeline as part of a validation process. This work is required to maintain the pipeline’s safety and integrity.

Location and Logistics

There are two work areas along the access road within the canyon that will require excavation.

Location 1: 0.7 (seven tenths) of a mile south from fire road #26 at the Mulholland entrance

Location 2: 2.8 miles in from fire road #26, or 1.4 miles from the Queensferry entrance

Partial Canyon Closures

The Canyon path will be closed from the Mulholland entrance at fire road #26 to location 1.

There is no change to the Queensferry entrance. Signs will be posted along the path indicating construction status.

The following impacts are to be expected in the canyon and surrounding neighborhood. I will keep you apprised of any changes.

-Work will commence on or about January 6, 2014.

-Work is estimated to be completed in 8 weeks.

-Information signs will be posted in advance at the beginning of each entrance.

-Work hours are sun up to sun down, Monday through Friday. No work will be performed on Saturday and Sunday.

-Intermittent loud noise in the immediate work areas.

-Increased dust in the immediate work areas.

-Increased traffic at the Mulholland entrance from work crews and equipment.

SoCalGas appreciates your understanding and apologizes for any inconveniences caused by this necessary work. It is our goal to minimize disruptions. We value our relationship with the community and will communicate with you when our work has the potential of impacting our neighbors. Again, there are two high-pressure transmission pipelines located in the canyon and we will continue to periodically perform maintenance work to them as-needed to ensure safety.

Safety is our first priority. Should you have any questions, please call me 213 244-4633 or email me at mharriel@semprautilities.com.

Sincerely,

Mike Harriel

Public Affairs Manager

Angeles National Forest Recreation Fee Proposed Changes

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Adventure PassThe Forest Service has proposed major revisions to the Angeles National Forest recreational fees. Similar revisions are proposed for the San Bernardino National Forest, Cleveland National Forest and Los Padres National Forest.

The proposed changes will result in fees being required only at concentrated, developed sites, while larger areas of the forest will become free for public use. Fee amounts will remain the same, at $5 for a day pass, or $30 for an annual adventure pass.

Under the new fee structure, fees are to be charged only where there are services and developed facilities including bathrooms, kiosks/interpretive signs, trash collection, picnic tables and security patrols. Sites lacking one or more of the above will be free.

In the Angeles Front Country, for example, fees  would continue to be required at Millard Day Use Area, Switzers Picnic Area, Red Box, Skyline Park (Mount Wilson), and Chantry Flats. All other front country areas would become free for public use. Note that the forest service has already stopped enforcement of passes at the areas where fees will be dropped under the new fee structure. Full details of front country changes are available here.

While CORBA supports this more reasonable and appropriate fee structure, we do have concerns that it may result in reduced levels of service across the National Forest as a whole. The financial impacts of the proposed changes are as yet undetermined. National Forest budgets have faced continued reductions over the past decade, and staff levels are at an all-time low. Recreational Fees have helped fill the budget shortfalls, funding numerous improvements to facilities within the National Forest.

The California Recreational Resource Advisory Committee (R-RAC), a citizen’s Federal Advisory Committee, is charged with representing the public interest in matters of recreational fees and other issues. The proposed changes are on the R-RAC agenda for for January 15-16, 2014. Public comments to the committee must be made by January 6, 2014, emailed to: twilton@fs.fed.us.

Area maps and detailed descriptions of the affected areas of the Angeles National Forest can be found at:

For our other Southern California National Forests, visit their respective pages at:

 

 

 

Tell Los Angeles Recreation and Parks What You Want

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

rec and parks logoThe City of of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department (RAP) is seeking public input on the future and funding of our City parks. This is being conducted through a series of public meetings, and an online Community Budget Discussion survey

We are taking this opportunity to remind RAP of their obligations and duties as identified in the 2010 Los Angeles City Bike Plan. CORBA worked diligently to keep the meager provisions for off-road cycling in the 2010 Bike Plan, while the powerful equestrian lobby fought hard to have them removed. We submitted over 1000 letters and petition signatures calling on the City to include strategies for accommodating mountain bikes on at least some City trails. We also asked that a recommendation for Bike Parks be included in the Bike Plan, but a Bike Park provision was not included in the final plan.

Havemeyer Park, a pop-up bike park facility in Brooklyn

Havemeyer Park, a pop-up bike park facility in Brooklyn

The City has made remarkable progress on the implementation of the Bike Plan, at least where the Department of Transport is the lead agency. The five-year implementation strategy is ahead of schedule with regards to new bike lanes and other infrastructure supporting cycling on the City’s streets.

To our knowledge, nothing has yet been done to implement the off-road cycling provisions identified in Chapter 4, Sections 3.3.5, 3.3.6, and 3.3.7 of the 2010 Bike Plan. The lead agency identified for those provisions is RAP.  The Bike Plan calls for these provisions to be completed by 2015.

We therefore urge all of CORBA’s members who live within the City of Los Angeles to complete the survey. The survey is available at http://laparks.org, where a popup window will direct you to the survey. The survey can also be accessed directly at http://m.laparks.org/survey/#survey, but please read on before doing so.

The RAP survey will ask how often you visit City parks, what activities you participate in, how far would you travel for specific activities, and what amenities you would like to see. Nowhere within the survey is there any mention of bicycles, trails for bicycles or bike parks. You must write those in where appropriate.

While “equestrian trails” and “hiking/walking” trails are referred to in the survey, there is not a single mention of bicycle trails or multiple-use trails. Also missing is any mention of Bike Parks. Therefore the only opportunity within the survey to request park facilities for bicycles, such as trails, pump tracks or bike parks, is in the “Additional Comments,” section 9.

We encourage our members and readers to take the survey, and in the “Additional Comments section,” urge the RAP department to:

The Recreation and Parks Department needs to allocate the necessary resources to complete the programs for which it is the lead agency as identified in Chapter 4, Sections 3.3.6 and 3.3.7 of the 2010 Bike Plan. Numerous funding sources in the form of bike industry grants, community health and wellness grants, and youth initiative grants are available to fund and support bike skills parks and multiple-use trails, as well as sponsorships and public-private partnerships. RAP needs to provide natural-surface trails for bicycles, and should consider developing urban bike skills parks, with a range of skills development features that are suitable for all ages and skill levels. 

You may copy and paste the above paragraph to post under “additional comments”, but feel free to provide your own input for the survey. Additionally, section 6 asks surveyees to rank or prioritize desired facilities. Bike parks are not mentioned, but can be written in under option W: “Other, Please Specify.”

Core to the survey is the identification of sources of revenue to fund the City’s parks. There are many funding options in the form of bike industry grants available for the construction of bike parks and multi-use trails. There is also a ready and willing army of volunteers who would gladly help build and maintain bike parks. However, the City must first undergo a change in attitude towards off-road bicyclists, just as it has seen a change in attitude towards road cyclists and bike commuters.

A series of public meetings are being held, some of which have already taken place. A full list of them is available at http://www.laparks.org/pdf/comInput.pdf. Meetings are from 6:30 – 8 p.m. For more information, contact Theresa Walker, theresa.walker@lacity.org, at (213) 202-3205.

CD1 – December 4: Ramona Hall Community Center, 4580 North Figueroa Street
CD3 – December 3: Woodland Hills Recreation Center, 5858 Shoup Avenue
CD4 – December 9: Griffith Park Visitor’s Center, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr.
CD7 – December 10: Ritchie Valens Recreation Center, 10736 Laurel Canyon Boulevard (Pacoima)
CD8 – December 3: Algin Sutton Recreation Center, 8800 South Hoover Street
CD9 – December 12: EXPO Center, 3980 South Bill Robertson Lane
CD10 – December 4: Rancho Cienega Sports Complex, 5001 Rodeo Road
CD14 – December 2: City Hall, 200 N. Spring St. Public Works Board Room
CD14 – December 3: Evergreen Recreation Center, 2844 East 2nd Street
CD15 – December 5: 109th St. Rec Center, 1464 E. 109th St.

Edit: CORBA’s response letter to Rec and Parks can be read at: 2013-12-02-Los Angeles Rec and Parks Letter.

What CORBA Does

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

By Mark Langton

Bikes, horses, hikers and runners

Bikes, horses, hikers and runners. We all love trails.

Recently a bicycle club-team representative  contacted CORBA wanting to see what more they could do to get more of the trails that are currently closed to bicycles opened up to shared use. A couple of comments from the correspondence were that they thought that showing up in larger numbers to public meetings would help, and that they thought the main reason that trails were closed were because of an influential public anti-bicycle lobby.

I wrote back to the person who contacted me, and in doing so came up with what I think is a good overview of what CORBA has been doing for the past 26 years, and continues to do on behalf of all public backcountry trail users (see below). Yes, CORBA is a mountain bike organization, but we are more than that, and here’s why: We believe that shared use works better because it disperses use, rather than concentrating it. When you disperse use, you reduce congestion, and when you reduce congestion, you reduce confrontation. Moreover, it has been shown that where shared use trails exist, it works. Maybe not perfectly, but certainly better than where there are restrictions to bicycles, because shared use also fosters cooperation. Bicycles do mix when operated considerately and with the safety and serenity of other trail users in mind. And that’s the crux of the issue: If bicyclists would simply slow down around others, including other bicyclists, they would be solving the problem of both dangerous speed, and the “startle factor,” or the disruption of another’s peaceful enjoyment of the backcountry.

Here’s what I wrote to that bicycle club team member:

This year CORBA celebrated its 26th anniversary. In that time we have made many strides to opening trails to shared use (hiking, equestrian, bicycle) in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County, and Eastern Ventura County. We have participated in hundreds of public meetings with land managers over the years. Land managers recognize and continue to adapt to the growing bicycle population and changing demographic profile of the trail user community. They are certainly aware of the needs and desires of the mountain biking community through CORBA’s efforts, which include quarterly meetings with principal agency managers (National Park Service, State Parks, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority). We are also in constant communication with these agencies and/or when the need arises to address a specific issue. CORBA also works closely with the Mountain Bike Unit which aids the rangers and community with safety and education. CORBA also schedules and organizes regular trail maintenance work days s in conjunction with the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency. CORBA is also heavily involved with the Angeles National Forest with trail maintenance and volunteer patrol participation. Due to CORBA’s efforts, most of the singletrack trails built in the last 25 years are shared use (not to mention a lot of the singletrack that already existed not getting shut down).

 As you can see, there is more to getting involved than just showing up at meetings in large numbers. The issue of bikes not being allowed on trails is more than just politically active opponents to bicycles; it is mired in an outdated management policy of restriction that is predicated to a large degree on ignorance and a status quo mentality. Within the last few years there has been a systemic change for adopting shared use as the overriding management strategy. It is a slow moving process but we do see a very strong indication that within the next few years we will see many more trails opening to shared use on a statewide basis than currently exists. This change comes from consistent efforts not only by CORBA, but mountain bike advocates all over the state, with assistance from the International Mountain Bicycle Association (of which CORBA was a founding club in 1988).

 The one concern that is always at the forefront of managers’ minds is safety. It is agreed by everyone that bicycles are an acceptable form of public open space trail recreation. However, it is when riders go too fast around other users as to make it an unsafe or even just an unpleasant experience that gets mountain bikers a bad reputation, and gets the managers to thinking about restricting bicycles. If everyone would just slow down when passing others, and slow down into corners so they don’t scare others on the other side, we would pretty much solve the problem. I am not saying you shouldn’t go fast, I’m just saying do it when conditions are safe. 

Backbone Trail blocked at the west end of Etz Meloy Mtwy

Monday, October 28th, 2013

A locked gate has been blocking the Backbone Trail (BBT) at the west end of Etz Meloy Motorway since mid-October. This interupts a very popular ride from the parking area on Encinal Canyon Road to the Mishe Mokwa Trailhead, covering the two newest singletrack sections of the Backbone Trail.

There has been a standard fireroad gate there for years, but apparently some months ago a side gate appeared that completely blocks passage along the road. This side gate was usually open or unlocked, but was permanently locked at about the time of the federal governement shutdown in October. This led to speculation that it was the National Park Service (NPS), owner of most of the land around this section of the BBT, who closed off the trail to keep people off of federal property during the government shutdown.

However, the locked gate was a surprise to the NPS as much as to the rest of us. Apparently one of the private landowners in the area has locked the gate. One rumor is that it is to keep noisy and littering partiers out.

Etz Meloy Access

Some of the land crossed by Etz Meloy Mtwy at the west end is still in private hands. The NPS is actively trying to acquire this propery or make some other arrangements with the landowners to allow public access. Until that happens, the west end of Etz Meloy has been and continutes to be closed to public access (see map above). The NPS asks that members of the public stay off of this section to help engender his cooperation in discussions to allow everyone to use this trail.

CORBA will provide more information as it becomes available.

Show Us Your Smile

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

smileSometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. We have created this message tag with the help of BikeTags (biketag.wordpress.com) so that we can spread the message of goodwill, peace, and harmony throughout the world. Or maybe just the message “don’t worry, be happy.” The idea is to show other trail users that we belong, we care, and we can coexist. Similar to the SoCal High School Cycling League’s “spirit of howdy”, it’s a way to remember to slow down and smell the sage brush.

We’ll be making the CORBA Smile Tags available to anyone who wants one, just send an email request to info@corbamtb.com. We’ll be giving away prizes for the best photos of the tags on your bikes while on the trail. Photos will be judged on originality, creativity, and overall quality. (Details to follow in the coming weeks). The grand prize will be a Niner full suspension frameset, donated by Niner.

OK, so maybe putting the Smile Tag on your bike* won’t save the world. But a lot of times a little smile can go a long way.

*The Smile Tag is a high quality plastic laminated product and comes with all hardware necessary to mount on a handlebar or under the seat. If mounting to the handlebar, a hole may need to be punched at the bottom of the tag to help secure the tag to a brake or derailleur cable (see photo).

 

 

CORBA’s Comments on State Parks’ Rulemaking Process

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

California State ParksLast year, a disconcerting fact came to light. The California Public Resources Code, under which State Parks operate, contained a rule that essentially allowed bicycles on State Parks trails unless specifically closed to them. It also contained a rule that trails were closed to equestrians unless specifically opened to them.

State Parks’ practice and policy for these past 25 years has been the exact opposite.

While considerable progress has been made by State Parks in acknowledging the legitimacy of bicycle use in State Parks at the policy level, in practice little has changed. CORBA has fought long and hard to gain more equitable access to trails in State Parks, and in fact, virtually all of the singletrack trails in the Santa Monica Mountains that are open to bicycles, are open either directly or indirectly, because of CORBA’s efforts.

Yet there is a rule currently on the books that, if followed, would have helped give us access to trails two decades ago.

State Parks held two private focus group meetings in October 2012, at which both CORBA and IMBA were represented, along with equestrians, hikers, and environmentalists. Those focus groups almost unanimously called for more inclusive rules that allowed both equestrians and cyclists access to trails unless specifically closed to them, despite the policy and practice in place.

Also discussed were rules regarding “minimum tool use” with the goal of only allowing use of only the minimum tools required to complete a task, in State Preserves (natural and cultural).

Fast forward nine months, and the proposed draft rules were released and public meetings were scheduled. One of the public meetings was scheduled AFTER the public comment period closed. The draft rules were the exact opposite of the consensus of the focus group meetings in which we participated.

We understand that due to the seriously flawed nature of this public rulemaking process, and the confusion resulting from these poorly drafted rules, that there will be another chance to comment on them. Details of the current drafts are available at http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=27460

While this was not an issue that required a show of numbers by the public, even the limited public process involving stakeholder groups such as CORBA and IMBA was flawed. Our comments follow, and we’ll keep you informed when there are any further developments in the process.

 

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August 15, 2013
Alexandra Stehl, Statewide Trails Program Manager
California Department of Parks and Recreation
PO Box, 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296
Alexandra.Stehl@parks.ca.gov

Re: State Parks Proposed Rule Making Comments

Dear Ms. Stehl,

I am submitting these comments on behalf of the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA), a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit representing off-road cyclists in the Los Angeles and Ventura County region. We have been working closely with State Parks on trail-related issues since our founding in 1987. Our volunteer trail crews have contributed many thousands of hours of labor to trail maintenance efforts in State Parks. We serve as a bridge between land managers and the mountain biking community, educating and encouraging trail users on proper trail etiquette and responsible trail use, while at the same time advocating for protection of public lands and equitable access to the trails by which the public enjoys those resources for all trail users.

Having participated in the initial invitation-only focus group meetings conducted by Charlie Willard, we were initially dismayed to learn that State Parks policy of trails being “closed to bicycles unless specifically opened“ had been implemented in direct contradiction to the language of Title 14, division 3 of the Natural Resources Code. The policy of equestrians being permitted on trails unless specifically closed to them was also in direct contradiction to the code. We welcomed the opportunity to be a part of the process of rectifying this situation. The outcome of those focus group meetings appeared to be overwhelmingly in support of language that welcomes and includes equestrians, hikers and cyclists as trail users on State Parks trails. The proposed draft rules fail to meet that goal shared by the focus groups in both Southern California and Northern California, and appears to have completely ignored our input.

We therefore fully support and agree with the position taken by IMBA. We encourage State Parks to adopt the language submitted by IMBA for Title 14, Division 3 of the Natural Resources Code as follows:

§ 4360 – Trail Use

State park trails are open to non-motorized users including hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians unless otherwise designated. Trail use designations are established based upon user needs, visitor safety and environmental sustainability. This includes access to trails in Reserves and Preserves, as defined in PRC Sections 5019.65, 5019.71 and 5019.74, where particular emphasis will be placed upon importance of public access to the area, or desirability of providing important connections to other trails, provided impacts to special resources for which the area was established will be less than significant.

We put forward this language to replace existing provisions in the Natural Resources Code (§4359 and §4360).  It will also include the provisions of proposed §4360.1, which we, and IMBA, urge be eliminated.

IMBA’s and others’ comments also include a background of State Parks policy and the policy’s contradiction to the existing code. CORBA has been at the forefront of these issues and we have played an ongoing part in that history and background. Despite more than two decades of gradual State Park policy changes to be more inclusive of cyclists, the rate of actual progress towards increasing trail access and opportunities for cyclists has been painstakingly slow and frustrating. This is an opportunity for State Parks to follow through on their stated goals of providing increased access for bicycles. The language proposed by State Parks would be a step backwards in this process.

There are many reasons for adoption of the above language, or even to retain the existing language of §4360, and change §4359 to include similar language to that for bicycles in §4360, allowing equestrian access to trails unless specifically closed to them. As a group we advocate for shared-use trails, and feel that the message sent by the proposed exclusionary and negative language sends the wrong message to State Park unit superintendents and managers, and sets the wrong example for other land management agencies who may be influenced by State Park rules and policy.

It also sends the wrong message to the public. The proposed language has the potential to further and compound perceived user conflict by giving one user group a sense of “superiority” over other user groups; it legitimizes and reinforces this perceived conflict, and discourages the sharing of multi-use trails. As outlined in the State Parks Trail Change In Use PEIR, Appendix A, even perceived conflict is rare, and actual incidents are rarer still. The language we are proposing will help promote a sense of community, sharing of trails, and is in line with State Parks’ stated goals of providing more trail opportunities to off-road cyclists.

Management practices exist to close specific trails to particular user groups where legitimate, objectively-determined concerns or environmental impacts are demonstrated. Therefore, adopting this more welcoming language will not have any immediate impact on existing trails, and where impacts are demonstrated, the means to close them is already in place. This should place no additional burden on State Parks, above that of the now-adopted Change-In-Use process. Further, a more uniform shared-use policy will be easier to manage and police than the current status quo.

Our proposed language is also in keeping with current research on trail and resource impacts by different “muscle-powered” user groups. It treats each user group equally, just as overall impacts to resources and trails by each of the major muscle-powered user groups have been demonstrated to be similar. It is now well-understood that the greatest impacts to trail and resource sustainability are the result of poor trail design, rather than any particular user group. The proposed language appears to ignore this fact.

With regards to the proposed changes to the “Minimal Tool Use” sections of Division 3 of Title 14, we are deeply troubled by the proposed lumping together of Preserves and State Wilderness. These are two distinct land-use designations (actually three if you include ‘cultural’; and ‘natural’ preserves) that require distinct, but at times overlapping, approaches to management. The term “mechanical transport” as it applies to State Wilderness is NOT applicable to Preserves as proposed. The unintended consequences could be daunting, with significant impacts to cyclists and the mobility-impaired as user groups. While the concept and goal of “minimum tool use” is appropriate for both natural preserves and state wilderness, the proposed language can too easily be misinterpreted. We have been informed that State Parks does not wish to summarily exclude cyclists from Preserves, yet the proposed language does just that. We urge State Parks to either retain the existing sections §4351 and §4351.1, or to prepare language that avoids misinterpretation and unintended consequences.

Given the haphazardly drafted proposed rules, and numerous problems with the process–including scheduling public meetings AFTER the public comment period closes–we can only surmise that the draft rules were preordained prior to any public process and were put together with complete disregard to public input. The public and private meetings seem to have been held only to placate the public, not to seek actual input. We therefore urge State Parks to continue the public process appropriately and professionally, and allow for another round of public comments on the revisions that come out of this comment period.

Thank you for consideration of our comments. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

I’d Like to Thank…

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

By Mark Langton

When I learned that CORBA would be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, my first reaction was, “where do we begin to start thanking people?” If you go back to the inception of CORBA, it all started with a 1987 Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) meeting where one of the agenda items was to consider adopting California State Parks’ policy of single track trails being closed to bicycles. So I guess you could say that CORBA owes a debt of gratitude to the SMMC for considering closing trails to bikes.

There were quite a few mountain bikers at that SMMC meeting, myself included. We sat patiently while the committee members discussed the pros and cons of allowing this “new” recreation on their public trails. They decided to adopt the State Parks policy, but they would continue dialogue with “the bike group” to see if bicycles could be integrated into the trail system. The cyclists in the audience looked around and silently acknowledged that “I guess we’re the bike group.” A legal pad was passed around and the list of people collected at that meeting became the impetus for CORBA. (Since then SMMC has adopted an inclusive policy toward mountain bikes.)

Twenty-six years later, we are still having to address issues of whether or not bicycles can coexist on public open space trails, mostly on State Parks’ trails. It’s like when snowboarding became popular at ski resorts. There was a lot of animosity leveled at snowboarders by skiers. A partial solution was to create separate areas where snowboarders could do their thing and skiers knew to stay away from those areas. But with public open space trails, we don’t necessarily have that luxury. If we want to share the trails, we have to behave accordingly and expect that there may be hikers, equestrians, and other (less experienced) cyclists on those trails.

The sport of mountain biking is evolving much like the sport of skiing has evolved to include snowboard riders. Separate areas are being developed to accommodate “gravity” mountain biking, and CORBA is working with land managers in our region to develop mountain bike parks that allow for more aggressive riding, including jumps, drops, and technical features. We will be announcing some very exciting news within the next few months regarding these new areas!

If you want something to last, you have to be willing to commit to the long haul. I’m not sure if that’s what the founders of CORBA set out to do, but thanks to them and everyone who got involved from then until now, we have a lasting legacy and solid foundation that will serve the next generation of mountain bikers in the greater Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura Counties.

And when we accept the award on behalf of CORBA for being inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, you can be sure that everyone on that stage will be feeling the pride of all of those who have supported CORBA over the last 26 years.

 

CORBA To Be Inducted Into Mountain Bike Hall of Fame

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

mbhof-logoThanks to all who voted for CORBA to be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame! The ceremony will take place September 18, 2013 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas as part of the Interbike trade show.

In the 26 years CORBA has been advocating for shared use open space trails, we have literally hundreds of people to thank for our successes and achievements. Normally a Hall of Fame induction indicates a retirement. But CORBA is still going strong and continues to represent the interests of those who want to ride their bikes in the dirt!