The April 2014 Skills Clinic Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park, on a sunny but cool day, was made up of 25 riders. There was a small amount of water in the stream crossing this month, but we didn’t ride across because of the large number of hikers wandering back and forth. Maybe they were looking for tadpoles. So we didn’t get a chance to ride through the stream yet again. You can see the April photos in the April 2014 photo gallery.
Archive for the ‘Regions’ Category
Strawberry Peak is one of the most loved areas in the Angeles National Forest. It suffered devastating damage during the El Niño storms following the Station Fire. After the fire the trail was impassable and has remained closed to all users, even as much of the surrounding burn areas have opened up.
The Strawberry Peak and Colby Canyon trails together comprise the classic Strawberry Peak Loop. CORBA and the Boy Scouts have worked to restore the Gabrielino trail, the third leg of the classic loop, over several trailwork days since the Station Fire. It is open and in good shape.
During our initial surveys of Strawberry Peak trail, it became clear that one particularly problematic section of the trail could benefit from a complete re-route. This section, where the Strawberry Peak trail leaves the old Barley Flats fire road, is a fall-line rocky chute that was difficult to ride even before the fire. After the fire, it became a 4′ deep rocky rut for most of its length. Trail users (who should not be in the closed area) have been steadily widening this section of trail as they go around the ruts and rocks.
CORBA planned the re-route during our IMBA Trail Care Crew visit in 2012. About 30 class attendees and volunteers worked on the trail and learned how to flag out and prepare a new trail route. The re-route plans were submitted to the Forest Service for environmental review. The review process took about six months. We were required to power wash tools, among other things, to avoid spread of invasives. (CORBA’s tools are used in many different jurisdictions in Southern California).
In late 2012, CORBA received an REI grant of $10,000 for the restoration of the Strawberry Peak loop. We purchased some new tools, and fed volunteers on our trailwork days, and sought professional help. The National Forest Foundation funded the Los Angeles Conservation Corps for this and several other Station Fire damaged trails. Together, we solicited the services of Bellfree Contractors, a professional trailbuilding company, to restore many of the larger slide areas, burned sutter walls and downed trees. CORBA also paid over $2500 of our discretionary funds for professional trailbuilding services. We coordinated with the Sierra Club volunteer trail crew who also worked on the Strawberry Peak and Colby Canyon trails.
On February 16, CORBA had 22 volunteers come out for trailwork. We rode or hiked in the 3 miles to the Strawberry-Lawlor saddle, and worked on the trail as far down as Strawberry Springs. Those who rode or hiked in were very happy to be back on the closed trail. We accomplished a lot, clearing about .6 miles of trail, building three rock retaining walls at drainages, cutting and widening the trail bench, and removing slough.
The LACC and Bellfree Contractors had cleared and restored much of the Colby Canyon trail from Josephine Saddle to the Strawberry Potrero. After their work, it was in better shape than before the fire.
On March 16 we returned with about 17 CORBA and MWBA volunteers. We rode in 2.5 with Bob trailers about 2.5 miles, and restored the trail all the way to Strawberry-Lawlor saddle. With the re-route completed, the ride in was much better. There was poodle dog to remove, and slough from the one big winter storm of 2014.
We will return to the trail during May, date TBD. There is still work to be done, including the repair of composite retaining walls, brushing and the ongoing need for routine maintenance.
With CORBA, Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, Sierra Club, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, National Forest Foundation and a professional contractor working together, the Strawberry Peak loop restoration has been progressing nicely.
The Station Fire Closure order is in effect until May 24, 2014. The Forest Service is assessing the burn area and the trails to determine whether to renew the closure order, modify it, or let it expire. The section of the Strawberry Peak trail north to Upper Big Tujunga Canyon needs a substantial re-route, planning for which has begun. Even if the Forest Service lifts the closure, we expect the Strawberry Peak trail from the junction with Colby Canyon trail north to Upper Big Tujunga to remain closed, or be subject to a seasonal or temporary closure. Because of the need for a re-route, this section of the trail has not yet been worked on.
CORBA would like to thank all the volunteers who came out to our trailwork days; to REI for their generous grant that made the restoration and professional help possible; to the Sierra Club, National Forest Foundation and Los Angeles Conservation Corps for their efforts, and to Bellfree Contractors for their professional assistance.
As part of the thank-you for volunteers who help with maintaining our trails in good riding order, CORBA has been giving away mountain biking swag at the end of each event. To speed things up on trailwork days, and to allow some really great (ie, expensive!) prizes to be given away, we will instead have a drawing at the end of the year for all the volunteers who come out during that year.
We have a Niner frame waiting for some lucky volunteer, plus other great prizes including grips and saddles from Ergon!
In order to be eligible for the drawing, volunteers must register for events in advance on our Meetup group, show up at the event and sign the standard waiver form. At the end of the year, we’ll go back through all the Meetup events and count the number of times each volunteer helped out. Everyone will get one chance in the drawing for each time they participated.
Now by helping to keep our trails in good shape, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re giving back to the trails community, of contributing to the enjoyment that others have in our open spaces, and also having a chance at scoring a sweet ride from CORBA and Niner!
Good luck and thanks for helping out!
Once a year we have an opportunity to work on the trails and then BBQ and camp at Danielson Ranch in Pt Mugu State Park. It is opened annually for the Santa Monica Trail Days! This is a unique opportunity to work on the trails that we enjoy so much in Sycamore Canyon, and the Saturday workday is followed by a BBQ and prizes, with free camping available on Friday and/or Saturday night. This is hands down the best day to get in some trail maintenance work! Camping is optional; you may leave with the escort after the BBQ. There will be trailwork projects on both Saturday and Sunday. Sign up for one or both! Pre-registration is requested by April 21st so we’ll know how many people to prepare for.
Schedule at a glance
Friday night April 25 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.
Saturday April 26 – Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.
Sunday April 27 – Trailwork, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch.
BRING: LUNCHES, BEVERAGES, SNACKS AND WATER. Tools and instruction on using them are provided.
WEAR: Gloves, hat, long pants, protective clothing, and work boots or sturdy shoes.
REGISTRATION: Advance registration is required for the activities shown below, and appreciated by April 21st!
CAMPING: Free camping Friday and/or Saturday nights for volunteers at the Danielson Multi-use Area located under the sycamores and oaks in the heart of Point Mugu State Park. Bring your own gear.
DINNER: Sat. Night Barbecue Free FOR VOLUNTEERS. Bring appetizers and beverages.
PRIZES: Thank-you prize give-aways will be held Saturday after dinner and Sunday after trailwork.
VEHICLE ACCESS: You will be able to caravan into and out of the park by vehicle only at these few designated times:
ARRIVE: Friday – 5 pm and 7 pm Saturday – 8 am and 4:30 pm Sunday – 8:30 am
DEPART: Saturday – 4 pm and after campfire Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm
Full details and camping/dining details are also provided on the registration pages.
This past Saturday, March 22, roughly 60 volunteers converged on Wildflower Park for a short hike to the work area at the bottom of the new trail. By noon, the volunteers had built the 0.25-mile long Castillo Trail that now connects Wildwood Trail in the canyon to Castillo Circle on the mesa above.
The Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) rangers had previously removed the chaparral and marked the route of the trail with little orange flags. It was up to the workers to dig out the dirt to make an even trail tread. The trail crossed a steep hillside, so there was a lot of dirt to be moved along much of it’s length. The route included two nearly 180-degree turns, necessitating a switchback and a climbing turn. Each of these features took 6-8 people all morning to complete.
After the work was finished, the crew returned to Wildflower Park to enjoy a barbecue lunch prepared for the volunteers.
Steve Messer, CORBA’s president, brought along his GoPro and made a time-lapse video of the trail building, and of the first ride down on his new hard-tail 29er. You can see the video on YouTube or Vimeo.
You can also view the photo gallery of the trailwork.
So Cal Gas has completed mandated maintenance work on the pipelines in Sullivan Canyon. The canyon is now open for use.
As I have mentioned before. There is another maintenance project occurring in the canyon in early May 2014. I will inform you about the impact to the canyon as well as timeline once I have all the information.
Please be aware; at the end of the Sullivan Fire Road north of Mulholland Drive, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) will soon be working in the area to perform a pressure test on one of our natural gas pipelines. You will see SoCalGas and its Contractor’s trucks, water tanks, and heavy equipment.
I know a lot of you use this road for hiking and biking. My understanding is the road will not be completely blocked so you will be able to pass through. Work will begin late March 2014, and last until approximately early in May 2014, although weather and other factors affecting safe working conditions could change the schedule.
Thank you for your patience regarding Sullivan Canyon closures. Please understand Sullivan Canyon is private property, owned solely by the southern California gas company. Its primary function is a corridor for two high pressure gas lines. Because of its natural beauty, we make it available for public use. Periodically, we must complete state and federally mandated maintenance on this pipeline to insure its integrity and public safety. This maintenance may require partial or complete shutdown of the canyon, depending on the nature of the work. We try to keep the public informed of this work, scheduling and user impact.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Happy hiking and biking!
At last weeks second public meeting on the Santa Susana Mountains Trails Master Plan, the County presented a comprehensive map showing their planned trails, the existing trails, and the relevant delineations of private, public and utility lands. While public comments were made, they weren’t being recorded.
CORBA would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to L.A. County Parks and Recreation Planning Division staff for moving this trail plan forward, and to Supervisor Antonovich for his support of the process. CORBA whole-heartedly supports project, the process, and the deliverables (maps) presented at the meeting last week.
In looking at the final draft map, we were pleased to see that the agency had listened to the prior comments asking to expand the study area so that true connectivity between disparate open spaces and existing trails could be explored more thoroughly and with a more regional view.
From our cursory review of the maps presented at the meeting, we can say that the work that has gone into this planning effort has been very much worthwhile. We feel the document is a great step towards achieving the stated goals of identifying missing links, providing connectivity between existing trails, open spaces and jurisdictions, and recognizing the value of some of the existing non-system trails. We feel the eventual implementation of the plan will increase both the quality, quantity, and variety of recreational experiences the community so badly needs.
We are also sensitive to the concerns of private property owners who expressed feelings that they hadn’t been heard. However, we also feel that many of their concerns arose from an incomplete understanding of the goals of this planning process. In some cases, it seemed their negative experiences with other neighboring public land managers have elevated their concerns about dealing with the County. We hope that as the plan is implemented and negotiations take place with private land owners (and the neighboring public land managers), their fears can be allayed and mutually beneficial compromises reached for the benefit of the entire trail user community and the public-at-large.
The County’s policy favoring shared-use trails including bicycles is very important to us as a trail advocacy group comprised of bicyclists. We know that there are several places where proposed County trails will connect to trails in City of Los Angeles parks such as O’Melveny and Limekiln Canyon. On these City trails bicycles are presently prohibited. It is our hope that the County and City can come to a compromise that would allow bicycles to connect legally to the proposed County trails/trailheads that are only accessible through City property and trails.
Since this Trail Master Plan will be incorporated into the County General Plan, we feel it would also be worth coordinating proposed trailheads with the 2012 L.A. County Bicycle Master Plan. Having trailheads accessible by bicycle-friendly infrastructure such as Class II Bike lanes is good for encouragement, makes them more accessible to non-drivers, and helps reduce vehicular traffic to trailheads.
CORBA is at present in full support of the plan. It will be presented to the County Rec and Parks Commission later in the year, and subsequently to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for adoption.
Update March 16, 2014: The plan will be presented to the Planning Commission on March 26, 2014. Meeting starts at 9 am at the Hall of Records Room 150, 320 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, California 90012. The Parks and Recreation element is agenda item #6.i.
The Trail Master Plan map and powerpoint presentation are available on the County’s web site.
Update, March 26, 2014: The LA County Regional Planning Commission held their hearing on the draft plan today. Steve Messer, Jim Hasenauer, Ken Raleigh and Tony Arnold all testified in support of the plan. One private landowner, and five equestrian representatives also testified in support of the plan, all of them mentioning multi-use trails. Nobody spoke against the plan. Other elements of the County General Plan were also presented to the Commission, who held the matter over until their next meeting in April. We are confident the Planning Commission will approve the plan, which will then go before the Board Of Supervisors later in the year.
This past Sunday, 12 CORBA volunteers and two COSCA rangers headed up the “Space Mountain” section of the Los Robles Trail in Thousand Oaks to fix up the 1.7-miles long switchbacks part of this singletrack trail before the winter rains worsen the ruts.
By all standards, the work was a tremendous success! We cleared slough from 230 yards of trail, installed about a dozen new drainage nicks, cleaned debris out of about a dozen existing drainages, and whacked out about 20 stumps.
From the top of the switchbacks, we continued another a short distance to fix the falling slough on 230 yards of trail. Slough is rocks, dirt and other debris that falls on the trail from above. So much had fallen that half to 2/3 of the trail was covered, forcing people to the very outside of the trail. We could see many tracks where people had ridden off the edge and possibly taken a tumble. With the trail now returned to it’s full width, that hazard is much reduced.
Next, we headed back down to the bottom, installing new drainage nicks as we went, and hacking out stumps that had become hazards in or near the edge of the trail. Finally, as we got to the lower half where we had installed drainages in previous years, we cleaned out those that were becoming clogged with silt so they would continue to be effective in diverting rainwater off the trail.
You can see the volunteers working in the photo gallery of Sunday’s trailwork day.
After the traditional prize give-away to thank the volunteers, CORBA treated everyone to lunch at Baja Fresh.
Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help, and the COSCA Staff who joined in to support us!
In 2012, CORBA attended public meetings to give input on L.A. County’s Santa Susana Mountains trails master plan. The County has taken the input we and many others gave, and will present their draft Trail Master Plan at a public meeting on March 6 in Granada Hills. They will also seek additional feedback from the trail user community.
The area under consideration for this trails master plan included the unincorporated open space north of Chatsworth, up to the crest of the Santa Susana Mountains. In our comments, and many others submitted by the public, we urged that the project area be expanded north to the LA County border, and east to incorporate the entire northern range of the San Fernando Valley.
The County will present the draft trail master plan at:Thursday, March 6, 2014, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Knollwood Country Club, Granada Room 12024 Balboa Blvd, Granada Hills, CA 91344 Parking is free.
The February 2014 Skills Clinic Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park on a sunny but very cool day. The group was made up of 13 riders. As has been the case for the past year, there was no water in the stream crossing. Hopefully we’ll have some rain before next month’s class so people will get to ride across a stream. You can see the February photos in the February 2014 photo gallery.