There were only a few participants for the last chance for the year to take part in the Basic Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park. This month neither Steve nor the primary backup photographer Graham were available, so Ezra did double duty as both Mark’s assistant and photographer. The clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our December photo gallery.
Archive for the ‘Regions’ Category
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.
Our friends at the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council are in the running for a considerable donation towards maintenance of the Backbone Trail. Anheuser-Busch is giving away up to $200,000 for trail maintenance around the country through the Michelob Ultra Go The Extra Mile Fund.
Here’s the catch: the public decides how much of that pie each nominated trail will receive. Twelve trails have been nominated, including the recently completed Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. The funds will be divided between the twelve nominated trails, based on the percentage of votes each trail receives.
Votes must be cast by November 30th, and you must be at least 21 years of age to visit the site and vote. Every vote makes a difference!
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.
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.
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.
Come join CORBA for our annual RAM (Ride & Mingle) event and pancake breakfast at Michael’s Bicycles in Newbury Park!
November 27th! Ride time 9am sharp: Meet at Wendy/Potrero Drive in Newbury Park.
ALL LEVELS WELCOMED! GUIDED RIDES: BEGINNERS, INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED ROUTES.
Come ride with us in Point Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon). Meet at Wendy/Potrero in Newbury Park. We will all ride over to the ranger station for a big group photo then split up into our groups. Meet back at Michael’s Bicycles for a pancake brunch!
Pancake breakfast at Michael’s Bicycles after the ride at 12:30pm. $10 suggested donation.
You can renew or purchase a CORBA/IMBA Membership as well!
Michael’s Bicycles: 2257 Michael Drive, Newbury Park, CA 91320
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.
Immediately, 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.
On October 17, 2016, the Forest Service revised the Sand Fire Closure order. The order was drawn up while the fire was still burning. It included many areas that did not burn. Now that the fire has been fully contained for several weeks The Forest Service has reduced the closure area, reopening many areas and trails that were not burned, but were in the initial closure.
Newly re-opened trails include:
- the Santa Clara Truck Trail (AKA the Beast) (4N17), from Newhall Road to the top of Wilson Canyon,
- Wilson Canyon (3N56)
- May Canyon (3N54)
- Oak Springs Trail (14W10)
- all trails south of Mendenhall Ridge, including Condor Peak and Trail Canyon,
- all trails east of Moody Canyon, Lightning Point and Mt. Gleason.
Closed trails include (but are not limited to):
- Los Pinetos Trail,
- Santa Clara Truck Trail (4N17) from Wilson Saddle to Mt. Gleason,
- Mendenhall Ridge (3N32),
- Powerline (AKA Burma Road) (3N37),
- Pacoima Canyon Trail,
- Moody Canyon (4N33),
- Indian Canyon (4N37),
- Pacific Crest Trail from Mt. Gleason to Indian Canyon,
- Dagger Flat Trail.
Little Tujunga Canyon road remains closed from Santa Clara Truck Trail (Bear Divide) to 1.5 miles north of Gold Creek Road.
The closure is needed for public safety and resource protection. The burnt areas could be subject to flash flooding, debris flows, and landslides during the coming winter rains, posing a danger to public safety. Burned areas are also much more sensitive, and can easily be damaged by going off trail.
For more information on how fires impact trails, see the interview with CORBA’s Steve Messer in Trails After the Wildfire, Mountain Bike Action.
Of the 120 volunteers expected for the annual event held in Thousand Oaks, about 60 were put into seven crews that worked on building a bypass to the very steep bottom of the Peninsula Trail in the Western Plateau/Conejo Canyons area. The other half were assigned to six crews to work on two other trails leading down to the canyon, but some distance from the Peninsula Trail.
The CORBA crew and other mountain bikers worked on the Peninsula Trail, so only our experience will be described here.
The event began at 7:30 when volunteers started to arrive for registration and to get their goodies bag. The chaotic process of gathering into crews of about 10 each worked itself out, as it always does, and the crews with their leaders hiked down about a mile to the trailhead where we grabbed tools from the COSCA Ranger truck that was parked there. After the safety talk, the crews hiked to their work areas along the new trail that had already been cleared of chaparral.
The project was to build a new, much less steep trail that would replace the bottom section of the Peninsula Trail. It was to be about 0.35 miles long. Most of the new trail crossed a fairly steep slope, and some sections of the cross slope were very steep. That meant that we had to dig a lot of dirt out to make a trail! Overall, we must have moved several tons of dirt, but fortunately we didn’t have to move most of it more than a few feet.
We returned our tools to the Ranger truck and headed back to the meeting area in time to get to the barbecue by about noon. The COSCA Rangers cook up a great meal of ‘burgers, ‘dogs, chili and vegi-burgers, with all the accoutrements, for the Annual event held every October and the Spring event in March.
The prize give-away started as folks were finishing off their lunch; most of the prizes were books on local trails, but there was a grand prize of a mountain bike donated by Giant Bikes and a local bike shop.
You can see more photos of the work and lunch in our photo gallery of the trailwork.
Thanks to all the mountain bikers and others who came out to build this new trail! The slight rain overnight afterwards no doubt helped to firm up the new trail. I can’t wait to get out and ride it!
Here’s a time lapse of the Newbury Park High School Mountain bike team working on a section of the trail:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org ;
Supervisor Anontovich: email@example.com ;
Supervisor Knabe: AValenzuela@lacbos.org