Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category
Evidently there has been a rash of bicycle thefts that have hit several CORBA members within the last month. While it is not known if the perpetrators are part of an organized ring, LAPD officer John “Rusty” Redican thinks it sounds a lot like a gang that was operating out of South Los Angels a few years ago. Click here for the link to MTBR to view his post and see photos of the thieves that were arrested a few years back. Below is the text of his post:
Hello All, My name is John (Rusty) Redican, I’m a fellow cyclist and LAPDOfficer. This reminder is not an official LAPD news blast, but me as a fellow cyclist and community member arming you with a little information to keep you and your property safe. Due to another salient event, where a fellow cyclist had his bicycles stolen out of his garage.
I need to advise you all about a ring of high end bicycle thieves that we (LAPDWest LA Division) arrested a couple years back, who may or may not be at it again. That arrest was only made possible due to cooperation between the cycling community and the police. First off, be very cautious on what you post on social media, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Strava and similar forms of tracking and communication we all use for our shared love of cycling.
A few years back, this ring of bike thieves, based out of south Los Angeles, were responsible for millions of dollars of bicycle thefts, from San Diego County to Ventura County. They would follow cyclists home from group rides, scour FaceBook and other social media for intel on cyclists and their homes, so they could conduct surveillance on you and break into your garage or storage areas to steal your bicycles. They would do this during the day mostly when no one was home, but also at night while you slept. At times they would cause damage to the garage, but most times they were very surreptitious about it and the only evidence left, was the absence of your property. The majority of the bikes they targeted were well worth (as you all know) the chance for them to get caught by the home owner. At the time, they used a very clean and newer model silver, 4 door Audi sedan with bike racks on it. The suspects in the cases I’m referring too were all male hispanics in their mid to lat 20’s – early thirties, between 5’6” and 5’9”, 175 lbs to 220 lbs, not climbers. Again, I’m not saying this is definitely them, but the MO used in the theft of bikes from one of our fellow cyclists in Torrence, last week is very similar.
So be advised and be cautious of what you put on social media, NEVER have the starting point to your ride be your residence, and be cautious on who you share your photos and information with. Also, you don’t have to be paranoid, but be aware of your surroundings and if you notice a vehicle following you, or the same vehicle in 3 different locations, that may be a clue, and take not of the lic plate number, or any other distinguishing characteristics of the vehicle and occupant(s). Criminals are not dumb, and have evolved with the technology, so a little operational security will help you keep your property that you love, and work hard to obtain. If you see anything suspicious please be a good witness, don’t physically get involved, as you never know what these criminals are armed with, but immediately call your local police department.
Anyway, I put this info out not to alarm, but to inform, for-warned is for-armed. Please share with your cycling teams and groups, or any cycling friends who may benefit from this information.
These are the suspects from 2012. This photo is from CBS Los Angeles. They were apparently seen today in Corona at Corona High checking out the mountain bike teams bikes and asking questions… They are now driving a black newer model Honda Accord….FYI…
An evenhanded account of the issues surrounding conflict and etiquette on the trails was published on the front page of the July 25th issue of the Thousand Oaks Acorn.
The article starts with an account by an equestrian in Ahmanson Ranch who felt threatened by mountain bikers who sped by and shouted expletives when asked to slow down. The equestrian also has been charged by unleashed dogs on other outings.
Mark Langton, CORBA board member and past president, is quoted extensively on the need for mountain bikers to show speed restraint when passing other people on the trail.
Another cyclists is critical of people who take poorly trained horses on trails where they can expect to encounter mountain bikers.
An equestrian from Agoura Hills says the vast majority of mountain bikers show appropriate courtesy. “This is pretty much a nonissue with all but a tiny handful of jerks on bicycles and nervous equestrians who are afraid of their horses and probably should not be on the trails in the first place.”
Finally, there are some quotes from representatives of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, including Superintendent David Szymanski.
You can read the full article here.
There’s always a lot going on here in Southern California. We have recently submitted comments on the Rim of the Valley study. We’re expecting the Santa Monica Mountains NRA Interagency Trail Management Plan early next year. A new National Monument management plan development process just began, though CORBA has been involved in the Community Collaborative Group since last November. We’ve successfully alerted L.A. County of the need for another trail master plan, to be announced soon. We have pending Bike Park proposals, and a recently-opened Bike Park in Fillmore. We have a growing high school and middle school racing contingent. We have a new Forest Supervisor. There are wilderness proposals, missing links in trails, fire-damaged trails still in need of restoration, access issues on Etz Meloy (Backbone Trail). There’s no shortage of issues, threats to our public lands, our trails and access to them.
And it takes time to figure things out and try to get things right. These studies and plans seem to disappear from the radar, only to re-emerge six months to a decade later. Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint, and CORBA is still at it after 28 years. Government is slow to move but no matter how frustratingly slow it sometimes seems, there is progress being made.
CORBA is busily engaged in all of these processes on your behalf, in partnership with IMBA, to help make sure there is progress. We continue to work to make sure the landscapes we ride and the trails we love are protected, improved, and remain open to our community.
We need each and every one of you to be engaged as well. After all, we’re all ambassadors of the sport when we’re on multi-use trails. This means ride an appropriate speed for your sightline (slow down!) and be courteous. Be safe. Follow trail etiquette best practices. Be an example for others. Leave no trace. Support CORBA. Sign a petition. There are lots of ways to have a positive impact.
Riding trails to explore our public lands is a passion we all share, and want to continue to enjoy. Enjoy your summer and keep on riding!
CORBA has been involved in the Rim of the Valley Corridor since our inception. In fact, we’re so ingrained in the process that the Rim of the Valley Corridor is mentioned in our mission statement as our primary territory of concern. We were excited to see the draft study released, and have submitted comments on the plan.
The study sought to answer the following:
1. Does the area possess nationally significant natural or cultural resources?
2. Is it a suitable and unique addition to the National Park System?
3. Can it be feasibly added to the Park System?
4. Does it require direct NPS management, instead of stewardship from other groups or a public-private combination?
The answer to all of the above questions was a “yes.” The National Park Service presented four alternatives based on the study findings. The first NEPA-required “no action” alternatives serves as a baseline against which we can compare the alternatives. Alternative B allows the NPS to offer “technical assistance” to existing land managers within the study area, but falls short of allowing the NPS to make any direct capitol investments.
Alternatives C and D expand the authorized boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. What the boundary expansions really mean is that the National Park Service will be authorized to offer technical assistance to existing land managers for any project that enhances recreation, or restores habitat and connectivity. Under Alternative C or D, the NPS is also authorized to spend money on capitol projects within the expanded boundaries.
We believe that the largest operational boundary proposed under Alternative D would have the greatest long-term benefit for recreation, bio-connectivity, wildlife and the communities adjacent to the study area. It also includes the wildlife corridors linking the two areas of the Angeles National Forest separated by Highway 14, as well as between the Santa Susana Mountains and Los Padres National Forests.
The boundary expansion does not come without concern. The NPS, like most public land agencies, is currently under-funded. We would hope that any boundary expansion would come with an increase in funding sufficient to at least maintain the current level of service across the expanded NRA.
During the course of the public meetings we heard a lot of misinformation and a misunderstanding of what the boundary expansions mean. The Federal government will not be taking anyone’s property against their will. Existing land ownership rights and management authority is respected and maintained.
One thing that would change is the permitting of landfills. In our comments, we asked for the existing landfills to be excluded from the proposed NRA expansion to eliminate the need for additional permitting. We also feel that the recently completed San Gabriel Watershed and Special Resource Study which proposed a San Gabriel Unit of the NRA, must be considered and its findings also addressed by any congressional action to the effect of either.
The Rim of the Valley trail system is also important to us. It’s a proposed multi-use trail network that will encircle the San Fernando Valley, and perhaps Simi and Conejo Valleys. We feel the National Park Service will be in a good position to help facilitate its completion under Alternatives C or D.
It will probably be another year before we see a final recommendation from the study. From there it will be up to Congress to decide what to do with the recommendations.
On a beautiful warm day for riding in Malibu Creek State Park, there was about a dozen at the free Basic Skills Clinic, which is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our June photo gallery. Neither Steve nor Graham was available, so Ezra did double duty as Mark’s assistant and photographer, too.
For the most extensive trailwork weekend of the year, 150 volunteers signed up on Saturday, the first day of the 34th annual SMM Trail Days, to help restore trails in Point Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon). Another fifty signed up for the following Sunday. The theme for the weekend was to restore trails damaged by the December floods.
On Saturday, the workers split into about 10 crews. Most of them worked on trails in the State Wilderness, east of the main Sycamore Canyon Trail. The CORBA crew of 17 shuttled to the bottom of Guadalasca and hiked to their work area. We were to build rideable paths in three locations where stream crossings had been destroyed. At the first location, the stream had left a culvert half exposed. Some rocks had been piled against it, making a bit of a ramp to help ride across, but it was still quite a hazard. We left some of our crew there to build up more rocks over the exposed culvert to smooth the crossing. When we hiked back down, were we ever surprised to find that they had completely covered the culvert, filling up the bottom of the stream bed to a few inches above the top of the pipe, and the width of the culvert, about 15 feet! You would never have known that the culvert was almost washed away in that flood!
Before we got to the second work site, we encountered a tree that had fallen across the trail. It had burned in the Springs Fire (May 2013) and had just fallen a few days earlier. We spent about 20 minutes pushing it to the side of the trail.
At the second site, the water had eroded the banks, leaving a vertical drop of about four feet down to the stream bed on both sides, with a gap of about 10′ between. Here, another group was to build a ramp down to the level of the stream bed, then another ramp up the other side. This work took special care because environmental regulations do not allow us to move dirt from the bank into the course of the stream, even though it’s completely dry. (This is to keep dirt from clouding the stream and ocean, interfering with the ability of fish to migrate and reproduce.) When building the ramps, the team carefully dug into the dirt, dragged it away from the bank and put it into buckets. The buckets were carried up the trail where the dirt was used to fill in ruts.
The remainder of the CORBA crew continued hiking up the trail almost another mile to the third work site. Here the flood had again destroyed the crossing, leaving a drop of about four feet at the edge of the trail. We were to realign the trail to move it a few feet away from this drop. Again, we had to carefully remove the dirt from the edge of the stream, relocating it into ruts up the trail by way of buckets.
The first and third team finished before the end of the work day, so they went to the aid of the second team. They had the biggest project by far; however, there was only so much that could be done at once due to the confined area of the work.
At about 2:00 pm, everyone hiked back down the trail to catch the shuttles back to the staging/camping/bath/eating area at the Danielson Multiuse camp. We spent the afternoon relaxing and chatting. Meanwhile, the State Park Staff volunteers were stoking the wood-fired grill and making other preparations for the barbecue dinner, consisting of tri-tip, chicken, veggie burgers, baked beans, salad and garlic toast.
Dinner was followed by the raffle, where almost everyone (and perhaps everyone) won an outdoor recreational objet de swag of some sort. The people whose tickets were drawn first won some really, really good prizes!
View the photos of Saturday trailwork, the R&R area and barbecue dinner in CORBA’s photo gallery.
The work day on Sunday is always a lot smaller than Saturday, so we broke up into just three crews. The CORBA crew of 10 returned to Guadalasca to finish off the middle stream crossing. It was a bit of a race to get it finished by 11:40, as the shuttle was to pick us up at noon at the bottom of the trail, but we did it, just scraping by! We moved a huge amount of dirt, digging out those two ramps, and filled in a lot of ruts on the nearby trail.
Both days, dozens of mountain bikers passed through our work area. Most of them thanked us for our work as they went by, recognizing that they wouldn’t have to carry their bikes across the streams when we were finished. A few stopped to ask how they could find out about future trailwork events so they could help out too.
View the photos of Sunday trailwork on Guadalasca in CORBA’s photo gallery.
Back at the staging area, we had a lunch of leftovers, followed by another raffle drawing for Sunday’s volunteers. We departed the park about 1:30 – time for a shower!
Thanks to the CORBA volunteers and the many others who put on and attended this event, helping to keep these popular State Park trails in great condition!
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 24 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.
Saturday April 25 – Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.
Sunday April 26 – 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 – 7:30 am and 4:30 pm Sunday – 7:30 am
DEPART: Saturday – 4 pm and about 9 pm. Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm
Full details and camping/dining details are also provided on the registration pages.