On a beautiful warm day for riding in Malibu Creek State Park, there was a surprisingly small group of only 10 at the free Basic Skills Clinic, which is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our May photo gallery.
Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category
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.
The National Park Service (NPS) today released the findings of the Rim of the Valley (ROTV) study, including a draft Environmental Impact Report and Proposed Alternatives. The study has been underway since 2010. CORBA has commented on previous phases of the study and has also encouraged our members and the mountain biking community to do so.
The NPS has developed five alternatives for the public to comment upon. Their preferred alternative expands the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) to include much of the study area, which would allow the NPS to provide technical assistance to other land managers within the NRA. Other alternatives include a “no action” alternative, meaning that nothing will change, a Conservation Partnership alternative, and a boundary expansion plus conservation partnership alternative. A fifth alternative, which would have only provided planning assistance for a Rim of the Valley trail, was rejected as it didn’t meet the objectives of the study.
None of the proposed alternatives would affect or include any Angeles National Forest or San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which would remain under the management of the Forest Service. All alternatives (except the “no action” alternative) include the conceptual Rim of the Valley Trail, as originally envisioned by Marge Feinberg in her 1976 Masters thesis.
CORBA will be analyzing the study’s findings and will report back. Comments must be submitted before June 30, 2015. An executive summary can be found here. The comprehensive set of related documents and maps, and a comment submission form can be found on the NPS Park Planning web site, while a more user-friendly overview of the process can be found at http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/index.htm
The NPS is hosting six public meetings between April 21, 2015 and June 2, 2015 to discuss the findings and alternatives presented in the draft study report. We invite and encourage all CORBA members and supporters to attend one of the public meetings. For those unable to attend, we’ll post a full report after the first meeting.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 12:30 p.m.(PDT)/ 3:30 p.m.(EDT) (WebEx Connect Time)
Please check-in early as there could be some software downloads that you may need to install to participate. The meeting presentation will start promptly at 1:00 pm PDT/4:00 pm EDT.
Click here for instructions on how to participate in the online meeting.
Local Public Meetings Schedule:
Monday, May 4, 2015, 7–9 pm
La Crescenta Public Library, Community Room
2809 Foothill Blvd.
La Crescenta, CA 91214
Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 7–9 pm
William S. Hart Regional Park, Hart Hall
24151 Newhall Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321
Wednesday, May 6,2015, 7–9 pm
Conejo Recreation and Parks District
403 West Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Thursday, May 21, 2015, 7–9 pm
Mason Recreation Center
10500 Mason Ave.
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 3-5 pm*
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
130 Paseo de la Plaza
Los Angeles CA 90012
The second annual memorial ride honoring the memory of our friend Danusia Bennett Taber will be held on Sunday May 31st.
This ride is a FUND RAISER ride! To make a donation in Danusia’s name to the Sarcoma Alliance which is tax deductible, please go to this Sarcoma Alliance web page. Then, in the drop down menu for the EVENT name, please choose Danusia Taber Memorial Ride. Thank you so very much in advance! This is what Danusia wanted to help others that are alive today battling cancer; I am carrying on her wishes.
If you never had the pleasure of meeting Danusia, read the blog article on her memorial and her legacy.
There will be three guided rides, all no drop rides: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. For exact routes, please check the CORBA Facebook or Meetup event as it gets closer. Beginner will ride approximately 10 miles, Intermediate under 20 and Advanced about 30 miles. Both fire road and single track.
The event will take place at Sycamore Canyon from Newbury Park.
Contributed by Wendy Engelberg
On Friday, April 3, representatives of CORBA and Girls Gone Riding joined a plethora of politicians and other members of the public to rededicate Marvin Braude Gateway Park at the top of Reseda Boulevard in Tarzana. Honored guests included LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, California Senator Fran Pavley, former LA City Councilwoman Cindi Miscikowski and Marvin Braude’s daughter Liza Braude-Glidden.
In the 60’s, there was a plan to build a Reseda to the Sea Freeway and a cross mountain freeway along Mulholland. Speakers recounted Braude’s commitment to preventing this and his 1964 plan to have the City of LA save the Santa Monica Mountains by creating a park district and buying the undeveloped land. When he was rebuffed by the City Council, he ran for office, won and began his distinguished career as an advocate for the Santa Monica Mountains and other health and environmental issues.
The park, one of the main trailheads for mountain bicyclists and hikers coming from the San Fernando Valley was built 20 years ago when advocates and land mangers worked to stop plans to connect Reseda Boulevard and pave sections of Dirt Mulholland. Braude Park has recently been refurbished by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. ADA facilities have been improved, there’s a new bathroom and drinking fountain, and interpretive panels have been installed. Joe Edmiston , Executive Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and chief Operating Officer of the MRCA hosted the event and specifically thanked CORBA for its contributions to the park and trails community in his remarks.
It was a perfect day for riding in Malibu Creek State Park, and 28 smart riders came out for the free Basic Skills Clinic, which is always held the first Saturday of the month. This was by far the largest group we’ve had in over a year! The park was also full of hikers, and we even saw a couple of equestrians. You can see the photos in our April photo gallery.
California State Parks will be performing maintenance on all fire roads throughout the park. The project is underway and will take several weeks. This is considered routine maintenance, to restore the fire roads to their intended purpose, as well as to prevent further degradation of the roads and impacts to the environment.
Every time maintenance of this type is done, we know that there are many experienced mountain bikers who don’t like the changes. Having our favorite “challenging sections” smoothed over often comes as a surprise. On the other hand, some riders welcome the improvements. But regardless, the fire roads will change.
Why is this being done? Fire roads are primarily transportation corridors for fire fighting, emergency vehicle access, administrative work within the parks, and for recreation. Over time, all dirt fire roads degrade and begin to develop ruts and water channels form. Once the ruts begin to form, rain will then extend and deepen those ruts. This creates additional challenge for cyclists, but it also makes it more difficult for the State Parks administration to do their job of managing the park. Their primary mission is to preserve the park and it’s natural resources for us and our future generations.
Currently fire road maintenance work is being done on the Eagle Springs loop to repair existing damage, reduce future maintenance needs, and to provide additional protection of the environment. The Regional Water Quality Control Board mandates State Parks and other land managers to reduce sediments washed into the creeks and streams. Studies have demonstrated that fire roads are major contributors to this problem. State Parks had to determine which fire roads were causing the most erosion and sediment runoff in both Malibu Creek State Park and Topanga State Park. They have identified Eagle Springs loop as a priority project.
State Parks are currently outsloping as many areas of the roads as possible. We always try to outslope trails when we do trail maintenance. Outsloping helps shed water off the trail or road. Insloped roads carry and channel water and the more water carried causes more erosion. In some particularly bad areas in Topanga State Park, roads have lost about five feet of material across the whole eighteen feet of width of the road.
The sediment washed off these roads heavily impacts streams and creeks in the parks as it makes its way to Santa Monica Bay. On a state-wide basis State Parks has turned to outsloping all back country roads and trails. This has shown to reduce erosion and be a more sustainable maintenance practice. In the long run sediment runoff will be greatly reduced, further protecting the streams, creeks and the environment as a whole.
Eagle Rock Fire Road was given the highest priority in Topanga since it showed the heaviest erosion. It was no longer accessible by vehicles. It was also causing damage and erosion on Musch Trail, which joins the road.
State Parks appreciates your understanding, and CORBA, supports their efforts to reduce impacts to the environment. We all want to protect the places we play and ride. If that means grading over a section of road to make it more sustainable, we’re fine with that. The alternative is to decommission the road and close it to all users, something none of want to see.
During and for some time after construction, the roads will not be very pretty, and may be soft and loose until the tread gets packed down. In time, they’ll return to a more natural looking state. Most mountain bike injuries occur on fire roads, due to the ease with which we can gain speed. So as we ride these newly graded roads, remember to be safe, and that there is a 15mph speed limit on all trails and fire roads within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
The New Millennium Loop trail system in Calabasas is very popular among mountain bikers and others, but it has very little if any maintenance since the trails were built a number of years ago as part of The Oaks gated community. In general, they have held up pretty well, but nature is taking its relentless toll.
Recently, high-schoolers with the SoCal High School Cycling League, with help from CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, have been helping to restore these trails. On January 31, they helped complete a new trail along the Historic Loop segment that bypasses the swamp. This past Saturday, February 28th, ten kids from Calabasas and Newbury Park mountain bike clubs and 5 young sailors from Naval Base Ventura County, with guidance from CORBA and Trails Council trail crew leaders, repaired about 0.8 miles of the Bark Park Trail.
With the heavy rains in December, ruts started to develop along the trail and a sinkhole about 6′ long and 3-4′ deep appeared. We were going to fix that and address the drainage issues on the trail above it that caused it to appear. Sometime in the couple of weeks before our trailwork day, someone filled in the sinkhole, saving us some time, but we still needed to widen and level the trail around where it had been. Also, the tread had to be repaired so the water would run off it, rather than down it and enlarging the ruts.
Over the next few hours, about 15-20 drainage nicks were built and parts of the trail were restored to their original flat but slightly out-sloped state, to enable rainwater to run straight off the outside edge. Three switchback drains were also cleared of vegetation and silt to restore them to their original condition.
When we were finished, we moved to nearby Sharky’s for a hearty lunch of Mexican food.
You can see more photos of the event in our Bark Park trailwork photo gallery. Thanks to the high-schoolers and sailors who came out to help – everyone did a great job!