Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category

January 22nd Update on the Pt Mugu State Park Trails

Monday, January 26th, 2015

On Thursday January 22nd, we got an update of the status and future of Pt Mugu State Park by Dale Skinner. Dale manages trail maintenance for the State Parks for the SMMtns.

By way of background… The Springs Fire of May 2013 burned all the chaparral and some of the large trees throughout the park and the plant roots that normally hold the soil together were destroyed. Without this support, the heavy rains in December resulted in large mudslides in the park, burying or washing away some of the trails and impacting almost all of them. The photo below shows what remains of the main Sycamore Canyon Fireroad.

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You can see more photos of the damage in this Pt Mugu State Park mudslide gallery.

Since the mudslides, the park has been closed while bulldozers and other heavy equipment are used to restore the trails.

State Parks superintendent for the SMMtns, Craig Sap, is considering opening the north half of the park before repairs are completed on the south (ocean) side. The boundary would be the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, both at the bottom on the main Sycamore Canyon Trail and at the top on Overlook. That is, the trails would be closed south of the Wood Canyon Vista Trail.

It’s not yet know if this would happen, and if it does, when it would take effect. We may not know until the end of the month, when the current closure order expires and a new one would be posted.

It seems certain that at least the south half of the park will be closed past Jan 31. That’s because the damage to Sycamore Fireroad was extensive. Dale mentioned some ruts that are 4′ deep. Basically the stream overflowed its banks and decided that the road would be the new streambed. State Parks is trucking in tons of dirt to replace what was washed away. The dirt is coming from the PCH and other areas where stuff was washed down from the hillsides. It sounds like they’re going to elevate the road a little, I guess so future floods won’t go down the road.

The parking area for Chumash Trail was filled with several feet of dirt and the bottom of the trail was washed away. The dirt has been removed and it sounds like the bottom of the trail has been rebuilt (I’m not certain about this, but I do know that the Chumash Trail is one of the most popular trails in the SMMs).

Other trails didn’t fare so well. The La Jolla Canyon Trail was completely eliminated at the waterfall, not too far from the bottom. It’s just moved itself to the bottom of the ocean. Dale figures that trail will be closed for a year while they rebuild it. If you’ve every hiked up that trail, you’ll understand why it will be a huge effort to rebuilt it. To get past the waterfalls, they essentially had to carve steps into the rock cliff.

The Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail is also washed away in at least one spot, but Dale hopes that can be re-opened in a month or two.

Regarding the PCH, Dale thinks CalTrans is optimistic in their assessment of when it will re-open. There are two washouts where the road, at least in part, has collapsed all the way down to beach level.

I hope this has been somewhat illuminating about what’s going on. For now, it looks like we’ll have to wait until the end of the month to see when the upper part of the park will be opened.

As we wait for the park to re-open, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, with support from CORBA and other groups, has organized a number of work days for volunteers to help restore the trails. Because of many years of budget cutbacks, State Parks is not able afford to fix the park by themselves and they rely on volunteers to help.

Our Meetup group is having a work day on Feb 21st to help with restoration work on the Wood Canyon Vista Trail segment of the Backbone Trail. Everyone would be grateful if you’re able to volunteer to help out! No experience is necessary, and we’ll provide the tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively.

You can sign up for the restoration event here: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/219897835/

We’re hoping to get 15 volunteers but currently we are far short of that goal (Thanks to those who have signed up already!).

The Trails Council trail crew has a number of other work days set up for February on various trails. Below is the schedule and contact information if you’d like to help out. The meeting time is 8:30 am and return to the cars by 2:30 pm.

Saturday, January 31: Wood Canyon Vista Trail (multiuse segment of the Backbone Trail), contact John Kross/Jerry Mitcham (805) 587-0721

Wednesday, February 4: Serrano Canyon Trail, contact Barry Dydyk 805-499-5627.

Saturday, February 7: Chumash Trail, contact Dave Edwards 805-985-3728 h 805-279-3029 c

Wednesday, February 11: Chumash Trail, contact George Sherman/Dave Edwards (805) 490-0381

Saturday, February 14: Blue Canyon Trail (segment of the Backbone Trail), contact Jerry Mitcham 818-406-1269

Wednesday, February 18: Hidden Pond Trail, contact Norm Simmonds (805) 523- 7250

Saturday, February 21: Wood Canyon Vista Trail (multiuse segment of the Backbone Trail), contact the CORBA Meetup Event.

Wednesday, February 25: Wood Canyon Vista Trail (multiuse segment of the Backbone Trail), contact Norm Simmonds (805) 523-7250.

Saturday, February 28: Fossil Trail, contact John Kross/Jerry Mitcham (805) 587-0721.

Pt. Mugu SP Closure Update

Monday, January 12th, 2015

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAs reported earlier this month, Point Mugu State Park has been closed to the public while the damage to the trails is being assessed and repaired. Heavy equipment has been working to reestablish Sycamore Canyon and the public is still being asked to stay out of the park until such time as it is safe. Trucks will be bringing in dirt from the slides that covered Pacific Coast Highway to aid in repair. State Parks’ Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap stated that the closure will extend until February 1, but that all attempts will be made to lift the closure sooner if possible.

Click here to see additional photos by Craig Sap of the mud slides effecting PCH and Point Mugu State Park.

Below is current trail damage assessment of the condition of the trails in Point Mugu State Park:

Blue Canyon Trail: Fair

Chumash Trail: Good

Chamberlain Trail: Excellent

Coastal Trail: Gone

Coyote Trail: Lower portion covered with debris

Fire Line Trail: Unknown

Fossil Trail: Poor condition

Great Dune View Trail: Good

Guadalasca Trail: Fair

Hidden Pond Connector Trail: Good

Hidden Pond Trail: 25% of repairs Complete

La Jolla Canyon Trail: Devastated

La Jolla Valley Loop Trail:  75% of repairs complete

La Jolla Valley Connector Trail: Fair

La Jolla Pond Trail: Cleared

Mugu Peak Loop Trail: Debris across trail needs to be smoothed out

Mugu Peak Spur Trail: Good

Old Boney Trail: Fair from Sycamore to Blue Canyon

Old Cabin Trail: Poor

Ray Miller Trail: 25% of repairs complete

 Sage Trail: Excellent

Scenic Trail: Fair

Serrano Canyon Trail: Good

Serrano Valley Loop Trail: Minor erosion

Serrano Valley Trail: Old Roadbed from gate has several large washouts, all stream crossings need rebuilding

Sin Nombre Trail: Fair

Sycamore Creek Trail: Heavy Damage to Stairs and Gabions                                 

Tri Peaks Trail: Unknown

Two Foxes Trail: Debris flows across the trail at the drainage crossings

Upper Sycamore Trail: Devastated

 Waterfall Trail: Good

Wood Canyon Vista Trail: Good

 

January 2015 Skills Clinic Photos Published January 3rd

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

As always, the free Basic Skills Clinic was conducted on the first Saturday of the month in Malibu Creek State Park. This month we had nine riders on a beautiful sunny, but cool, day. You can see the photos in our January photo gallery, the first one for 2015!

Opening of Pt Mugu State Park Delayed

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
Mud has buried the main Sycamore Canyon Trail. Photo by Dave Edwards.

Mud and rocks have buried the main Sycamore Canyon Trail. Photo by Dave Edwards.

When we first posted this blog in mid-December, State Parks anticipated that they would have Pt Mugu State Park open around January 12th. However, Caltrans has determined that it will take at least until the end of January before the Pacific Coast Highway can be re-opened, so the park closure will be extended.

We’ll update this information when we have more to share.

The original article follows…

The rainstorm that swept through the area late last week resulted in several large mudslides in Point Mugu State Park (AKA Sycamore Canyon). As a result, the park has been closed at least until January 12th, 2015. During this time, State Parks staff will be assessing the damage, cleaning up the mess and coordinating volunteers to help with the cleanup.

The mudslides are the direct result of the hillsides being denuded by the Springs Fire in 2013 and over 3″ of rain that fell in one night.

More photos of the damage can be seen in this photo gallery.

You can find the status of the park at the Pt Mugu State Park website home page.

Please stay out of the park until it reopens, for your safety, to prevent further damage to the trails, and to enable a more speedy cleanup.

CORBA’s Trail Safety and Etiquette Education Campaign

Monday, December 15th, 2014

During the past year, CORBA met with the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and State Parks representatives with the goal of improving safety on the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains. CORBA and the Trails Council both recognize the need for better education and outreach to the trail community. There has been a large increase in the numbers of visitors to the Santa Monica Mountains over the past decade. This increase in use has led to an increase in the potential for conflict and incidents on the trails.

Trail Etiquette Tri-fold Brochure_01One of the biggest factors in safety on trails is the speed differential between mountain bikes–especially going downhill–and other trail users. It’s the reason there’s a 15mph speed limit on all trails and fire roads in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. There has been a commitment to increase enforcement of these rules by State Parks and the NPS, but we believe that education is vital to reducing incidents or accidents on trails.

The outcome of those meetings was the development of a new Trail Etiquette brochure (pictured to the right). The brochure is being widely distributed in the area. We hope to educate all trail users on trail etiquette best practices. As a CORBA supporter you already know to slow down, yield to other trail users and be courteous. But many hikers don’t know that bikes are supposed to yield, many cyclists don’t know what to do when they come across equestrian trail users. The brochure attempts to explain what it means, in the most practical sense, to yield the trail. It also explains the responsibilities of all trail users in clear and simple terms.

As we developed the brochure it became clear that this information needs to be more widely distributed. It’s applicable to all non-motorized trails and trail users anywhere. CORBA applied for a grant from the California Trails and Greenways Foundation to put trail etiquette information on the web. We’re excited to announce that the grant was approved earlier in December, and we’ve begun working on a new web site entirely devoted to trail etiquette. Look for an announcement in the coming months when we launch the new web site.

 

 

Report on December 6th Backbone Trailwork and Photos

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

IMG_0461[1]On Saturday, December 6th, a dozen CORBA volunteers and about half as many from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council returned to the 2.5-mile long singletrack section of the Backbone Trail between Mulholland Hwy and Etz Meloy Motorway to continue the work we had started on November 8th. As before, the Trails Council crew hiked up to where they had previously worked down to, and continued down. CORBA volunteers worked up the trail from where we had left off last month.

We focused on clearing brush from the edge of the trail, but four volunteers took tread working tools to clear out old drains, and install new ones if needed. It had rained a few days earlier so we could clearly see where the water was running down the trail.

We’ll have to return in 2015 to finish off this section of the backbone trail.

Check out our photo gallery to see more dedicated volunteers at work!

December Skills Clinic photos published Tuesday, December 9

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

As always, the free basic Skills Clinic was conducted on the first Saturday of the month in Malibu Creek State Park. This month, Graham again took the photos because Steve was busy with trailwork on the Backbone Trail. You can see the photos in our December photo gallery.

Report on the November 8th Backbone Trailwork and Photos

Sunday, November 9th, 2014
Google Earth view of our work area, looking north-west. The CORBA crew worked the bottom (green) and the Trails Council crew worked the top (yellow) of this 2.5-mile long segment of the Backbone Trail. Mulholland Hwy (23-S) is at the bottom of the image. The trail ends at Etz Meloy Motorway.

Google Earth view of our work area, looking north-west. The CORBA crew worked the bottom (green) and the Trails Council crew worked the top (yellow) of this 2.5-mile long segment of the Backbone Trail. Mulholland Hwy (23-S) is at the bottom of the image. The trail ends at Etz Meloy Motorway.

On Saturday, November 8th, 13 CORBA volunteers and 6-8 from the Santa Monica Trails Council combined forces to fix up the 2.5-mile long singletrack section of the Backbone Trail between Mulholland Hwy and Etz Meloy Motorway. The gentle grade of this trail, combined with sweeping turns, easy switchbacks, great views and connections to the rest of the Backbone Trail make this a favorite for mountain bikers.

Being more used to working a distance from the trailhead, the Trails Council crew hiked to the top and worked their way down while the CORBA crew started near the bottom and worked up the trail. We skipped the first few hundred feet because of the presence of invasive weeds; we didn’t want to spread the seeds around by disturbing these aggressive plants. Both groups completed about a half-mile of trail.

We focused on removing brush at the side of the trail, but a few workers concentrated on removing silt and other debris from the drains. Our priority is generally to make sure the trails are well drained so rainwater doesn’t erode ruts down the middle. The drains on this trail were plentiful and well designed when the trail was built about seven years ago, so we didn’t need to build any new ones as we do on most trails.

Check out our photo gallery to see more dedicated volunteers at work!

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November Skills Clinic photos published Monday, November 3

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

After a brief downpour on Friday night, the weather on Saturday for the skills clinic was mostly sunny. Five riders took part, four of whom drove down from Palmdale! Graham took the photos again this month; you can view them in this photo gallery.

West End of Etz Meloy Gets Another Gate

Friday, October 31st, 2014

IMG_2132CORBA was alerted to the fact that a private property owner at the west end of Etz Meloy Motorway (a section of the Backbone Trail) at Yerba Buena Road has erected a second, new gate to deter the public from using the route. From the National Park Service:
The 1-mile stretch of Etz Meloy Mtwy. heading east from Yerba Buena Rd. is not open to the public.  The stretch of Etz Meloy Mtwy. across this area is not to be used by trail visitors. By using it, visitors will only aggravate the situation.

CORBA reminds everyone to respect private property and not go over/around the gate as this action is not only illegal, it can also jeopardize negotiations with the landowners and NPS moving toward some kind of easement agreement.

An earlier blog has more details, history and several comments on the gate that prevents access to the Etz Meloy Mtwy from the west end.

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