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.
Tonight, October 10, 2016, the City of Thousand Oaks held a hearing on the Sapwi Trails Community Park master plan and environmental documents.
The hearing took nearly 2 1/2 hours, with fifteen people commenting on the project. There was a report by the City Planner summarizing the plan, as well as supporting testimony from Tom Hare, director of the Conejo Rec and Parks District (CRPD). Commissioners were given the opportunity to tour the site over the past few days.
Several commenters were there in support of the non-motorized model aircraft area. Thousand Oaks High School cross country club spoke in support of the trails. Newbury Park High School mountain bike coach Dorothy Sullivan, and Steve from CORBA spoke in support of the plan.
Steve Messer speaks before the commission
Only two local residents expressed opposition to the plan citing a “loss of nature” as a concern, even though of the 142 acre park, only about 17 acres will be developed, and the habitat along Lang Creek will be restored. A few locals expressed support for the plan, but wanted assurance that their concerns about parking. safety and privacy were addressed.
Next steps will be a planning process for the bike skills park. The master plan only identifies the approximate location of the bike park, and is not a bike park design. The bike park will be planned through a series of public meetings sometime in mid-2017.
One of the Commissioners noted that she felt the City had enough traditional parks to accommodate more mainstream stick and ball sports, and welcomed this plan incorporating several alternative recreation opportunities including mountain biking, cross country running, model glider flying, and frisbee golf. The Plan can be found here, and CORBA’s testimony can be found here.
We commend the CRPD for their extensive outreach to the community, for listening to us, and for producing this forward-thinking plan. We look forward to actively engaging in the continued planning and construction of the Sapwi Trails bike park.
In 2012, CORBA put out the call for the public to come to Thousand Oaks to show support for a new Bike Park facility at what was then called Lang Ranch. You responded in droves, and the Conejo Rec and Parks District heard. Now renamed the Sapwi Trails Community Park, the re-envisioned park includes many items the mountain biking community asked for.
In our last bike park update we had little news other than the environmental process was moving forward. The project’s environmental review is now complete.
The most recent iteration of the park’s master plan includes a beginner pump track at one end of park as a component of a smaller, local neighborhood park. The neighborhood park at the corner of Erbes Road and Scenicpark Street also includes restrooms, a boulder garden, picnic areas, a practice disc golf basket, parking areas, and trail connections to the rest of the larger Community Park.
The larger Community Park includes disc golf, a multi-use trails network, bicycle skills features along some of those trails, interpretive exhibits, additional parking, and a non-motorized model glider port among other things. It also features a dedicated area for a bike skills park. The plan shows two pump tracks and skills features, but is there only as a placeholder. The Bike Park will undergo a separate design process, based on input from the bicycling community. The master plan is available at the CRPD web site, and archived here.
Note this is a “conceptual” placeholder design for the bike park area.
The plans will be presented to the City of Thousand Oaks Planning Commission for approval on October 10 at 6 pm. We urge anyone, especially those local to the Conejo Valley, to attend the Commission hearing, fill out a speaker card, and express your support for the plan, including the trails and bike skills park components (and any other components you’d like to support).
Join CORBA, SMMTC, COSCA and other volunteer groups to work on the Conejo Open Space trails in Thousand Oaks.
This year we’ll be building a new trail, about 0.7 miles long, that leads from the top of the steep ‘Baxter Road’ in Newbury Park around and down to near the south end of the Hawk Canyon Trail in the Western Plateau / Conejo Canyons.
There will be a thank you lunch and prize drawings at noon after the work. This is a great event with lots of like-minded folks to help out. If you use the trails in Thousand Oaks, come out and help build and maintain them! No prior experience is necessary and all volunteers work at their own pace, taking plenty of time to rest and chat with other trail enthusiasts!
This annual Conejo Valley event always helps to put some very sweet trails into good shape. Be sure to stay afterwards for the free lunch and raffle.
Although we didn’t have to repair humongous El Nino rain damage that we were expecting, we still had ruts to fix that had been growing for years.
Filling in the big rut in the middle of the trail and re-establishing the gentle slope so water will run off the trail, rather than down it and making a rut.
About 40 people volunteered to help work on trails today for the annual COSCA Spring Trailwork Day. We split into two groups, about 15 working on the bottom of ‘Space Mountain‘ (the singletrack section of the Los Robles Trail West) while the rest went to the ‘Lily Tomlin Trail’ which connects the East and West halves of the Los Robles Trail. Both trails had major ruts, not having had any restoration work done on them for years. The work consisted of filling in ruts, restoring the trail outslope so water would run off it rather than down it, and building drainage nicks. On Space Mountain, we restored most of the first 1500′ of trail. Naturally, if we’d had more people and time, we could have done a lot more. The soil was perfect – moist and easy to dig and pack, and there was a low cloud cover to keep the temperatures cool.
Space Mountain is CORBA’s adopted trail and we’ve worked it a number of times in the past, but then we started at the top, or half way down, and worked our way to the bottom. This is the first time we’ve started at the bottom and had enough time to properly fix the ruts.
The group working on Space Mountain consisted of 6 from CORBA, 6 from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council (SMMTC) Meetup hiking group, and the rest from the Weekday Trailblazers Meetup hiking group. A few other Weekday Trailblazers were working on the Lily Tomlin Trail along with a number of SMMTC and other community volunteers.
After about 3 1/2 hours, we all headed back to the parking area where Rangers were preparing a barbecue lunch for the volunteers. Ranger burgers, hot dogs, chili and vegi-burgers always taste great! Chatting over our food, it was clear that everybody was happy with and proud of the work they’d accomplished to improve the trails for everyone. CORBA and the COSCA Rangers thank everyone for coming out to help and really appreciate their effort!
Come out and join the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), CORBA, the Santa Monica Trails Council and other volunteers for the Annual COSCA Spring Trailwork Day. We will be working to restore part of Space Mountain (Los Robles West) and other nearby multiuse trails.
At noon, following the morning of trail-building, workers will be treated to hamburgers / vegi-burgers, chips, fruit and drinks while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow trail enthusiasts!
Wear protective clothing (long-legged pants, long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses), sturdy shoes, gloves, hat and sunscreen.
No experience is necessary and you work at a pace that is comfortable for you. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided. Must be 18+ years of age or accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult. Beware of poison oak, ticks & rattlesnakes.
Follow directions of park rangers and trail crew leaders at all times.
Pre-registration is required so that COSCA will have enough tools, crew leaders and food!
The National Park Service today released the Final Study Recommendations for the Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resources Study. CORBA has been involved in the Rim of the Valley process since congress authorized the study in 2008, and even before that when the concept was only for a Rim of the Valley trail. We are pleased to see the final recommendation includes most of what we–and many other groups and individuals–suggested in our comments. The recommendation is a hybrid of Alternatives C and D of the draft released last June.
The Secretary of the Interior transmitted the final study to Congress on February 16, 2016. The final study recommends a 170,000-acre addition to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.The selected alternative would add portions of the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco corridors, the Verdugo Mountains-San Rafael Hills, the San Gabriel Mountains foothills, the Simi Hills, the Santa Susana Mountains, and the Conejo Mountain area to the national recreation area. Within the expanded area are: habitat types that contribute to the high biodiversity of the Santa Monica Mountains; functioning wildlife corridors; highly scenic landscapes; historic and archeological sites; geologic and paleontological resources; thousands of acres of open space and recreation areas; and miles of trails, all of which provide exceptional public enjoyment opportunities. Expanding Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area would provide new recreational opportunities for one of the most densely populated areas in the United States.
No lands currently managed by the Forest Service (Angeles National Forest and Los Padres National Forest) are included in the proposed boundary expansion of the SMMNRA. However, the National Park Service could partner with the Forest Service on projects, as needed, and as permitted under their current “service first authority.” Existing land managers would continue to manage their lands, but the inclusion of those lands within the expanded boundary of the SMMNRA would allow the NPS to work with them to acquire land from willing sellers, or invest in capitol improvements for recreation or habitat improvements.
The study at this point is just a recommendation from the Secretary of the Interior to Congress. It will be up to congress to take those recommendations and act on them. Or they may not. It many be many years, if ever, before the boundaries of the SMMNRA are adjusted as recommended in the Study.
The final study report, errata from the draft study and an analysis of public comments submitted can be found at http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/
For the second year in a row, staff from Giant Bikes’ US Headquarters in Newbury Park volunteered to spend a morning fixing up a local trail yesterday. COSCA (Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency) Head Ranger Bruce Pace suggested that the switchback section of the Potrero Ridge Trail from the Reino Road trailhead would be a suitable location – it’s very popular among cyclists and the tread hasn’t been repaired for years. This trail was first built in 2005 during a visit from the Suburu/IMBA Trail Care Crew.
The Giant staff gathered at the trailhead by 9:00 am. Most of the work was on the tread – cleaning drainage nicks and installing new ones, widening one of the tight switchbacks and restoring a flat and slightly outsloped surface so the water would run off the trail instead of creating a rut by running down the middle. One of the two COSCA rangers who were overseeing the work used a gas-powered hedge trimmer to cut back the light chaparral that was starting to overgrow the trail, with help from one or two Giant volunteers to remove the cuttings. Finally, two shortcuts that some hikers were using instead of the switchbacks (‘trail cuts’) were armored by covering with small rocks to keep them from turning into big ruts.
CORBA volunteer trail crew leader Steve Clark coordinated the event between Giant Bikes and the COSCA rangers, and helped guide the volunteers in how to use the tools to fix up the trail.
A combination of very enthusiastic volunteers and soft dirt, the result of last week’s rains, meant the work went very quickly. Shortly after noon, everybody headed back to the trailhead, and then on to a local restaurant and sports bar where Giant treated staff and crew leaders to lunch.
Everyone did a great job and now the trail is in much better condition through the switchbacks! This is the second year that Giant has helped restore the local trails (last year they built a bypass around a steep and loose section on the Los Robles Trail West). CORBA and COSCA thank Giant for their willingness to give their time to help the local trails and community of hikers, bikers and equestrians. We’re looking forward to this becoming a perhaps official annual event!
2015 has been one of the most active in CORBA’s history. There has been so much happening in our local mountains, in our sport, in our public lands, in the political landscape, and in bicycle advocacy in general. As always, CORBA has done its best to stay on top of the issues, to be leaders in the trail community, and to have a positive impact on our trails, our public lands, our community and our sport. Here’s a quick recap of what’s been happening this year, showing how your membership dollars and donations are being used to benefit all mountain bikers in the Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura Counties.
Puente Hills Landfill Meeting
Much has happened this year on the mountain bike advocacy front. One of the biggest issues has been the start of the process to develop a Management Plan for our year-old San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The National Forest Foundation convened a Community Collaborative group to develop a broad base of support from a diverse range of stakeholders to help guide the Forest Service in its management of the Angeles National Forest and the SGMNM. CORBA has been involved from the start, in 2014 on the committee to establish the Collaborative, and this year as an active participant in the Collaborative. Forty-five diverse interests are represented, some of whom have traditionally found themselves at odds with our community. This has truly expanded our outreach and strengthened our place in the community.
We’re closely monitoring the development of the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Master Plan, which is expected to come out in draft form in 2016. We saw the Rim of the Valley Study completed. Legislation was introduced to create a new National Recreation Area, and expand our new National Monument. We’ve worked with legislators on a pending Wilderness bill, to ensure that it has minimum impact on mountain biking. We’re continuing to work with the Sierra Club and Wilderness Society to ensure that their efforts to protect our public lands do not impact our ability to enjoy them.
This year new e-bike legislation was introduced. Early drafts could have been interpreted to allow electric mountain bikes on non-motorized trails. We worked to clarify that this does not makes e-bike legal on trails. We’ll be watching the e-bike debate closely as they become more popular.
Outside the area, we’re keeping an eye on wilderness proposals in the Sierra Nevada mountains and BLM land swap proposals in the San Jacinto Mountains, both with the potential to close trails to bikes.