Archive for the ‘Los Angeles’ Category

2018 Angeles National Forest Trail Stewardship Summit Report

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

This past weekend we had an amazing four days at the 2018 Angeles National Forest Trail Stewardship Summit. In the days prior to the summit, we showed some of our trails, our previous trailwork, and our current Gabrielino trail restoration project to Regional forest service staff, and trail construction experts.

The Angeles National Forest was selected as one of fifteen priority sites for trail maintenance under the National Forest Trail Stewardship Act of 2016. As a priority site, the goal is to double the number of trail miles maintained on the Angeles.

We held a series of discussions with Forest Service Region 5 about our trail system and Station Fire recovery efforts. CORBA has received $35,000 in grants from REI and Southern California Edison, for the Gabrielino Trail restoration. CORBA and MWBA’s awesome volunteers have contributed over 2500 hours of volunteer labor at a value of over $56,000.

Some great news has come out of the summit. Using the above contributions as a match, the regional office of the Forest Service has allocated $100,000 to restore and improve the Gabrielino National Recreation Trail. We’re in the process of writing up a formal cost-share partnership agreement with the Forest Service to manage that investment into our local trails.

At the summit, partners, volunteers and Forest Service staff brainstormed on how to remove bottlenecks to getting things done. We discussed how to make it easier for volunteers to do the necessary paperwork by moving to an online system, minimizing shuffling paper and lengthy email chains. We talked about how to get better information on trails and their conditions for the public, as well as how to better coordinate efforts between volunteer groups. Good things are in the works and potential solutions to both of these shortfalls are being explored right now.

CORBA President Steve Messer spoke about the San Gabriel Mountains Community Collaborative (video here), and on how volunteers and NGO’s like  CORBA and MWBA, and the partnerships we have with the Forest Service are a vital component of sustainability of our trails (video here).  Other presentations from LA County, Equestrian trail patroller, Jim Lesh, IMBA Trail Solutions, MWBA, and regional Forest Service Trails Coordinator Garrett Villanueva helped guide the breakout sessions exploring how to achieve some of these goals.

We then spent two days learning about and refining our trail maintenance skills on Sunset Ridge Trail, where volunteers and trail crew leaders learned updated techniques to managing water on trails, minimizing erosion, and decreasing future maintenance needs. We learned from some of the most knowledgeable trailbuilders from IMBA Trail Solutions and the Forest Service. Sunset Ridge trail received some treatments to help improve water control.

It was an extremely positive summit with lots of productive exchange and a path to move forward. We thank the Forest Service and their Regional staff, IMBA Trail Solutions, MWBA, the National Forest Foundation, and all the other volunteers and partners from around the region who participated.

 

Girlz Gone Riding on October 29th holds their 7th Rocktober Festival and CORBA membership Drive!

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

The 7th annual Rocktober Restival will be held on October 29th from 8am-3pm at Castaic Lake, Castaic, CA. This is a FREE event for all participants and is a ladies only cross country event and CORBA Membership drive. The day consists of guided, no drop rides for ALL levels! Beginner/Greenie riders are welcomed with opened arms!

  • Kids ride!
  • Skills Clinics
  • Raffles
  • Demo Bikes
  • Exhibitors
  • Awards

For the full event schedule, go to the GGR website here: http://www.girlzgoneriding.com/event-schedule.html

You MUST register for this event! Registration will go live Thursday, August 31st on Event Brite:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rocktober-festival-corba-membership-drive-2017-tickets-36671733141

Look for news on these upcoming events:

  • November: CORBA Pancake breakfast at Michael’s Bicycles presented by GGR (date to be determined)
  • November 11th: Trail work day on Crags Road in MCSP. Online registration requested!
  • December: GGR’s annual XMAS party: CO ED

Physician convicted in bicycle crash case

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

November 3, 2009
from the Los Angeles Times

A physician accused of deliberately injuring two cyclists by slamming on his car’s brakes on a narrow Brentwood road was convicted Monday of mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon and other serious criminal charges.


Dr. Christopher Thompson is handcuffed by L.A. County Sheriffs after being found guilty on all 7 counts. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / November 2, 2009)

Dr. Christopher Thompson, 60, slumped forward and held his face in his hands after the verdicts were announced in a courtroom packed mostly with supporters and cyclists.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Mary Stone, who prosecuted the case, asked for Thompson to be jailed immediately, calling him a flight risk and a safety threat to cyclists.

“There’s not a cyclist in Los Angeles who would feel comfortable with this defendant out on the road after this verdict,” Stone told the court.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott T. Millington ordered that Thompson be taken into custody. Thompson, wearing a dark blue suit, grimaced and shook his head as a bailiff cuffed his hands behind his back.

The veteran emergency room doctor, who spent more than two decades working at Beverly Hospital in Montebello, was also convicted of battery with serious injury and reckless driving causing injury. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 3.

The three-week trial in the Superior Court’s airport branch was watched closely by bicycle riders around the country, many of whom viewed the case as a test of the justice system’s commitment to protecting cyclists. The July 4, 2008, crash also highlighted simmering tensions between cyclists and motorists on Mandeville Canyon Road, the winding five-mile residential street where the crash took place.

Prosecutors alleged that Thompson stopped his car after passing the two cyclists and shouting at them to ride single file. The cyclists testified that they began maneuvering to ride one after the other when they noticed Thompson’s car approaching fast behind them but that the driver passed dangerously close before abruptly stopping.

Ron Peterson, a coach for USC’s and UCLA’s cycling team, was flung face-first into the rear windshield of the doctor’s red Infiniti, breaking his front teeth and nose and lacerating his face. Christian Stoehr, the other cyclist, hurtled to the sidewalk and suffered a separated shoulder.

A police officer testified that Thompson told him soon after the accident that the cyclists had cursed at him and flipped him off, so he slammed on his brakes “to teach them a lesson.”

Thompson testified that he never meant to hurt the riders. He said he and other residents were upset at unsafe cycling along the road, which has become an increasingly popular route for bicycle riders in recent years. But they had struggled to identify problem cyclists.

Thompson told jurors that the riders cursed at him and flipped him off when he yelled at them to ride single file. He stopped his car so that he could take a photo of the cyclists and believed he had left enough room for them.

But prosecutors alleged Thompson had a history of run-ins with bike riders, including a similar episode four months before the 2008 incident, when two cyclists told police that the doctor tried to run them off the road and braked hard in front of them. Neither of the riders was injured.

Outside court, the cyclists in the case said they were relieved at the outcome.

“Our hope is that this brings to light how vulnerable cyclists are out there,” Peterson, 41, told reporters. His face was permanently scarred from the crash and he underwent reconstructive surgery on his nose, which he said remains numb.

Stoehr, 30, said the crash left him unable to work for months and that he rarely rides his bike anymore. Nevertheless, Stoehr said he felt some sympathy for Thompson as he watched the physician being led away in handcuffs.

“It’s sad for both sides,” Stoehr said. “I lost a lot of my time and my life, and he’s losing a lot of his.”

Dirt Rag Magazine Credits CORBA with first volunteer mountain bike patrol group

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

September 1, 2009

In an article on the history of IMBA‘s National Mountain Bike Patrol (NMBP), Dirt Rag magazine reviews the role CORBA had in spearheading volunteer mountain bike patrols. To quote:

“Although the NMBP was officially ‘started’ in 1994, volunteer mountain bike patrol’s roots run deep, back to the early days of mountain biking, when trails were rife with user conflict, and blanket mountain bike bans threatened great riding locations from coast to coast. The Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) was arguably the first organization to begin volunteer patrol activities with their Mountain Bike Unit (MBU), formed in 1988.

“Based in the Santa Monica Mountains, near Los Angeles, CORBA was at risk of losing many great riding venues. ‘Due to frequent complaints about user conflict, land managers were throwing their hands up,’ explains Blumenthal. ‘The [mountain bike advocacy] toolkit had to be developed quickly.’ So, with support from the National Park Service and the California State Department of Parks and Recreation, the patrol was formed, and became an overnight success, being nominated for the ‘Take Pride in California Award’ in 1991.”

Read the entire article, 15 Years of Service: A Look Back at IMBA’s National Mountain Bike Patrol.

Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club works to keep mountain bikes off trails in Los Angeles

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Chapter activists working to keep city parks hiker-friendly and mountain-bike free

By Carol Henning, Co-Chair, Southern Sierran Editorial Board. The following article appears in the June 2009 edition of the Southern Sierran, Vol 65 No6.

You’re hiking down a steep trail, enjoying the view, trying to remember the name of a trailside wildflower when, whoosh! Inches from your left arm a mountain bike comes careening down the trail. Most close encounters with mountain bikes leave all parties unharmed – most, but not all.

“We have seen conflicts,” reports Kevin Regan of the Department of Recreation and Parks. There have been “close calls and accidents.” A Los Angeles City Ordinance prohibits bicycles on unpaved trails in all City parks. This ordinance was reaffirmed unanimously by the City Council in 2000. Moreover, this April, the Angeles Chapter passed a resolution supporting efforts to uphold the existing ordinance.

The backstory has been documented by Sierra Club hike leader, AI Moggia. 1995 saw the Concerned Off Road Bicycle Association (CORBA) requesting access to dirt trails in city parks from the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRAP), whereupon a Mountain Bike Task Force was formed including CORBA, DRAP, the L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT and the L.A. Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC). The L.A. City Planning Department spooned up this alphabet soup and other entities to formulate a Bicycle Plan Element. In 1996, the DRAP Commission denied requests for a mountain bike event in Griffith Park, citing the municipal ordinance and an opinion by the City Attorney. Also in 1996, the City Council adopted the Bicycle Master Plan as part of the Transportation Plan Element of the General Plan of L.A. City.

DRAP, CORBA, DOT and BAC studied the feasibility of opening City parks to mountain biking.

In 1998, LADOT City Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery and BAC member Alex Baum made a special presentation to DRAP. There was minimal public notice of three community meetings in 1999, but over 400 residents attended. 95 percent of the attendees expressed their opposition to biking on city parks’ dirt trails. Despite the apparent dearth of public support, Elysian Park was selected in January 2000 for a mountain bike pilot program. Word of mouth and work by the Citizens’ Committee to Save Elysian Park brought out more members of the public to a meeting at Grace Simons Lodge, where they opposed the mountain bike pilot program. A subsequent meeting brought out more community members, a vast majority of whom opposed the program. Elysian Park was spared, and the City Council passed the motion rejecting changes to the ordinance prohibiting mechanized use of City park trails.

Mountain bike advocates tightened the straps on their helmets and soldiered on. Perhaps feeling jilted by Recreation and Parks, they decided to hop onto the handlebars of the Department of Transportation. But is this not an issue of recreation rather than transportation? The DOT’s Bicycle Master Plan is about cycling in the City. The focus is presumably on the transportation aspects of the bicycle plan, not on the thrills of jouncing down a narrow dirt trail, dodging (one hopes) hikers, runners and equestrians.

A September, 2008, memo by Jordann Turner, Bike Plan Project Manager, wondered “why and how the meetings in the past between cyclists/equestrians/etc. have been contentious.” Might it have been those accounts of clobbered hikers, frightened horses and thrown riders? To avoid this sort of testimony, DOT decided to use a consultant who has experience with this subject matter to conduct small mediated working-group meetings. Attendance at these meetings was by invitation only, with no notice to the public. The Los Angeles Bike Plan Stakeholder Advisory Group consists of nine invited participants – three hikers, three mountain bikers and three equestrians. Where are the runners? Where are the dog-walkers? Where are the homeowners associations’ representatives? They were not invited to the table.

It seems clear that the question is not whether mountain bikes should be permitted in City parks but which parks should allow them and how should access be designed. Two Sierra Club members represented hikers’ interests at the first meeting. Neither was an official representative of the Angeles Chapter. After the show, the distinction between being a Sierra Club member and a designated Sierra Club spokesperson was explained to the facilitators. supposedly neutral consultants with ties to to the Osprey Group of Boulder, Colorado, whose website documents its experience securing trail access for mountain biking.)

Webmaster’s note: Michelle Mowery, Bicycle Coordinator for the LA City Dept of Transportation (LADOT) testified recently that “The Needs Assessment … identified bicycling and walking trails as the number one need. … It identifies equestrian use as last on that list. So it’s clear that there is a need and a desire for bicycle facilities within the parks.”

For more on this issue, including video clips of outrageous claims during testimony, visit our LA City Parks web page.

Club policy on mountain bikes opposes their use in officially designated wilderness areas unless determined to be appropriate by analysis, review and implementation. The Park City Agreement (1994) between the Sierra Club and the International Mountain Bicycling Association called for site-specific analyses and stated that not all non-wilderness trails should be opened to bicycle use. Of concern are the effects of off-road biking on soil erosion, the impacts on plants and animals, and the displacement of other trail users. When considering the introduction of off-pavement bikes to a park, Sierra Club guidelines mandate consideration of these issues: whether the safety and enjoyment of all users can be protected, and whether there has been a public review and comment procedure for all interested parties. In this case, the response is no.

A late 2008 DRAP Citywide Parks Needs Assessment demonstrated virtually no demand for mountain biking [Webmaster’s note: See the inset at right to evaluate the accuracy of this claim]; yet, a small advocacy group seems to be trying to sneak its agenda past an unsuspecting public. Most of us have not been invited to join the discussion, but we can make our voices heard. Send letters and e-mails to LADOT, to DRAP and to your city councilmember.

Poop Predicament Has Los Angeles Horse Owners Raising a Stink

Friday, April 25th, 2008

April 25, 2008 (Bloomberg) — The poop hit the fan when the last manure mulcher in Los Angeles closed shop.


Fritz Bronner, a local horse owner and activist, feeds two of his five Arabian geldings in the corral behind his house in the Lake View Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles on April 8, 2008. Los Angeles is home to some 1,500 legally registered horses, but the actual count is more like 10,000, according to Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. Photographer: Nadja Brandt/Bloomberg News

The price of poop disposal is breaking the budgets of Los Angeles horse owners, as stable owners pass along the expense of taking horse droppings to landfills.

“The cost to get rid of this stuff has just skyrocketed,” said Royan Herman, 65, who runs the Peacock Hill and J-Bar Ranch stables in the San Fernando Valley with her husband, Mark. “A lot of young families aren’t able to afford a horse anymore.”

Los Angeles, the city of Hollywood stars, is also home to about 10,000 horses, said City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. Some estimates of the horse population run as high as 20,000 within city limits and 45,000 in all of Los Angeles County, which has 9.9 million residents.

The waste produced by horses living in a big city wasn’t a problem for decades, as plant nurseries and compost yards accepted manure and turned it into fertilizer. When zoning officials allowed developers to build homes close to those sites, new residents complained of the stench and nurseries began turning away the dung. The owner of the last compost yard, Dickran Sarkisian, said he closed in October because he wasn’t able to renew the lease.

Depositing manure at a landfill costs as much as $47 a ton, five times what the mulchers charged, said Mark Herman of Peacock Hill and J-Bar. Stable owners can’t afford to stay in business unless they pass that expense to boarders, he said.

“In the last four to five years, the cost for individual horse owners has doubled,” said Herman, 85. He said the 120 horses at his stables produce as much as 5 tons (4.5 metric tons) of manure a day.

Equine Surrender

Some Angelenos said the rising stable fees are forcing them to give up their beloved horses.

“The prices for boarding a horse are crazy,” said Rachel Rosenberg, 24, an aspiring actress who keeps her mustang, Indie, at Ravensview Ranch. “If I don’t get enough hours together at work, I won’t be able to afford him.”

Jack Quigley, a retired oil field production technician, already had to sell his mare, Fancy.

“I loved her to death,” said Quigley, 67. “But I couldn’t afford to keep her.”

Barbara Underwood, 65, who owns Ravensview, a 27-horse stable near Burbank, said she lost eight boarders when she raised prices. She charges $300 a month for a small corral and $400 for a box stall, following the $15 increase in December. She expects to boost rates again soon, by $20.

At Peacock Hill and J-Bar, Royan Herman said she may have to raise fees by $100 from the current $300 to $450 a month.

Riding Territory

Los Angeles offers plenty of space and varied terrain for riding. The county encompasses 4,000 square miles (10,000 square kilometers), including a 70-mile (110-kilometer) Pacific Ocean coastline, mountains, forest and desert.

Some horse-friendly enclaves cater to riders. In Lake View Terrace, a dry cleaner has a hitching post, and street-crossing buttons at some intersections are at a height where they can be reached from horseback.

“It’s this incredible feeling of being in a different world,” said Fritz Bronner, 49, riding Faz, one of his five Arabian geldings, on one of Lake View Terrace’s bridal paths. “All along my street, there are horses and chickens and dogs. It’s a little country feel on a half acre.”

Much of the Los Angeles horse population is off the books. Only about 1,500 are registered, which is required by law, according to city officials.

Registration Drives

That doesn’t help the equine community’s cause, said Greuel, the councilwoman. She’s pushing for a Horse Advisory Task Force to get more owners to comply, so they’ll have a bigger voice in municipal affairs.

Some residents including formed “poop councils” and staged registration drives to educate owners and encourage them to sign up their animals for $14 a year.

“I’ve never even heard of registering your horse,” said Sari Sarlund, 41, who boards her Frido at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Horses generate an estimated $900 million in ancillary revenues a year, Bronner said, sustaining riding teachers, veterinarians, blacksmiths, and feed and tack stores. Bronner, an actor, runs a non-profit service that provides Arabian horses for military re-enactments, parades, films and television.

“It’s an underground economy,” said Bronner, who serves on the Foothill Trails Neighborhood Council. “We never get credit for it. It’s never properly accounted for.”

Poop could add even more cash to city coffers. Councilman Richard Alarcon started a pilot program to recycle some of the manure into compost.

“We are looking at every option available to us, including the generation of electricity,” Greuel said.

Bronner said he’s worried that the poop-disposal crisis and lack of political clout may spell an end to the intangible benefits of sharing Los Angeles with horses.

“The clip-clop on the streets is soothing,” Bronner said. “Horses just slow everything down a bit. Traffic slows down, you slow down.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at nbrandt@bloomberg.net

City of Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan Meetings

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

March 3, 2008

In late February-early March, the City of LA held a series of meetings to discuss the 2008 Bicycle Master Plan update.

The meetings were very informative and it appears that the City of L.A. is doing things the right way.  One great thing we learned is that the new plan will include off-road bicycling and two meetings in June and August (dates TBA) will be held for feedback on off-road access and issues on City properties.

A brief introduction was followed by a fairly thorough Powerpoint presentation outlining some of the challenges and options the City is facing/considering. Alta Design is the group doing the plan. Their staff includes riders and bike commuters, cyclocross racers, and urban planners, with some big city planning projects already under their belt.

The room was lined with easels outlining the major goals of the plan, along with excerpts from other successful city bicycling plans from around the world that are being considered for inclusion.  There was also a map outlining the current draft proposals, which looked promising. Many of the existing bike paths to nowhere are shown as being linked to other arterial routes and bike paths, along with many new class II (bike lane) routes, and class I (bike path) routes.

The maps and all the information are available at http://www.labikeplan.org. Please take the Bicycle survey to provide input ASAP.  They also link through to bikely.com and suggest people create routes and submit them with comments and suggestions for improvements. If there’s a route you ride or would like to ride, go ahead and get it considered.  They’re taking feedback for the next six weeks or so, and will then be out in the field taking measurements and doing traffic studies.

The plan is due for completion early next year, but of course, then it all comes down to funding.  So if you live in, ride in, or commute in L.A., it’s worth seeing the proposals and making sure your needs are covered.

We’ll definitely be attending the off-road meetings in June and August where we’ll likely face a barrage of opposition from Griffith Park equestrians…so a show of numbers is going to be helfpul.

2016: A Busy, Productive Year

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

2016 is behind us, and what a year it was for CORBA and mountain bikers! We were extremely busy last year, cutting trails, cutting trees, and working on behalf of the mountain bike community to ensure continued and improved access to mountain biking in the greater Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura County areas.

Jim Burton cuts the ceremonial ribbon, as Steve Messer, Matt Lay and Jenny Johnson of MWBA, and Ken's daughters Heather and Tania look on.

Opening of Ken Burton Trail

In 2016, the Gabrielino Trail Restoration project, with REI, Bellfree Contractors, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps, was completed.  Ken Burton Trail restoration with MWBA was completed, opening the Ken Burton trail and a popular loop after seven years of closure, thousands of volunteer hours, and nearly three years of planning.

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San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Comments

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Community Collaborative

The Community Collaborative hands comments to the Forest Service

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.

The Collaborative’s Comments

CORBA and MWBA Comments

 

Castaic Trails and Puente Hills Park Plans Approved

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016
Park and Rec Staff give their report

Park and Rec Staff give their report

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.

2016-10-25-11-18-24a

Kevin from SCV Trail Users speaks to support the Castaic plan.

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.

2016-10-25-12-22-14

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.