It was a perfect day in Malibu Creek State Park for the Basic Skills Clinic. This month there were 10 participants. The clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our November photo gallery.
Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category
Our friends at the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council are in the running for a considerable donation towards maintenance of the Backbone Trail. Anheuser-Busch is giving away up to $200,000 for trail maintenance around the country through the Michelob Ultra Go The Extra Mile Fund.
Here’s the catch: the public decides how much of that pie each nominated trail will receive. Twelve trails have been nominated, including the recently completed Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. The funds will be divided between the twelve nominated trails, based on the percentage of votes each trail receives.
Votes must be cast by November 30th, and you must be at least 21 years of age to visit the site and vote. Every vote makes a difference!
In March 2011, we reported on the Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon. A mega-mansion developer, Mohamed Hadid, had purchased a parcel of land traversed by the Hastain Trail in 2002. In 2011, he began development of the site, putting up a fence to block the trail without any public notice.
Immediately, local hiker Ellen Scott formed the Friends of Hastain Trail. They fought the developer in court, with the backing of the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority. The previous owner had never prohibited public entry to the land via the Hastain Trail for at least five years prior to 1972. Witnesses testified hiking the trail as far back as 1965. Hadid did not close the trail for nearly ten years that he owned it.
In October 2012, we reported that Friends of Hastain Trail won the lawsuit, and the trail was reopened to the public. The decision was based on state laws regarding prescriptive easements.
Hadid, who has since been charged with criminal misdemeanor offences relating to another property he is developing, and was named one of L.A.s “ten worst neighbors of 2015,” appealed the decision. The appeals court recently overturned the ruling, once again closing the trail to the public.
The battle for the trail is not over. Though Hadid has offered to provide an alternative route through his property, the route he proposes doesn’t have the views afforded by the existing trail, and is not an equitable replacement.
Efforts are now underway to appeal the decision to a higher court, which the MRCA and CORBA are supporting. Stay tuned for updates.
Update, October 21, 2016: We just learned that the Supreme Court has declined to take on the case. This means a loss for trail users and a win for the mega-mansion developer, who will now get to close the historic trail to build five mega-mansions.
The city of Malibu is asking the public what type of facility we want at Trancas Field. They are conducting an online survey. If you live in or near Malibu, we need your votes! If you don’t live in Malibu, but would visit a bike park there, we need your votes too.
Please help convince the City of Malibu to include a “skate park” and “bicycle pump track” in Malibu by voting in this public survey:
In question #1 fill out your Contact Information.
and for #2 choose the “Hard surface athletic facilities”
and for # 11 choose the “Skate Park” and ALSO “Bike Pump Track”.
You don’t have to fill out anything else unless you see something you like.
There will be a series of public meetings where every voice can make a difference. The deciding factor in Thousand Oaks was that over 100 cyclists came to the first meeting and asked for a bike park. If you can make one of these, please save the dates, but at least fill out the online survey:
|October 12 to
|Trancas Field Questionnaire||Online||N/A|
|October 17||Teen & Youth Community Workshop||Malibu City Hall||7:00 PM|
|November 2||Community Workshop||Malibu West Beach Club||6:30 PM|
|November 30||Community Workshop||Malibu City Hall||6:30 PM|
We recently had a bike park approved in Thousand Oaks, and next week we’re hoping the LA County Board of Supervisors will approve the proposed bike park at Puente Hills Landfill. Let’s keep this train rolling!
Graham took over the photographer duties again for Steve, who was out of town, in Malibu Creek State Park this month at the Basic Skills Clinic. There was a smallish group with nine participants this Labor Day Weekend. The clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our September photo gallery.
The largest trailwork event in the Santa Monica Mountains is held every year at the end of April in Pt. Mugu State Park. This past weekend, volunteers from CORBA, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council (who organize the event every year), the Sierra Club and others converged on the Danielson campground to help out. Besides trailwork on Saturday and Sunday, the festivities included a barbecue dinner, a huge prize give-away and optional overnight camping.
On Saturday morning, 140 volunteers split up into crews of about 10 and dispersed to various trails. The crew that included most of CORBA’s volunteers shuttled to the top of the Sin Nombre Trail and started the day by cutting back mustard that was crowding the trail. When that was finished, we worked our way south, spending our time fixing deep ruts. That involved cutting down the berm that forms on the outside of the trail and dragging the dirt back into the rut, and also building up the inside of the trail to restore a gentle outslope. The outslope allows water to run off the outside of the trail, rather than running down it and eroding a new rut.
The north end of the Sin Nombre trail is very rocky in sections, so it took a considerable amount of work to restore the trail to it’s original condition.
While the CORBA crew was working southward, two other crews were working north from the bottom of the trail. They also were fixing ruts.
After lunch on the trail, a few from the other crews came up to help the CORBA crew. The extra hands allowed us to finish our work an hour early – the help was very much appreciated! With three crews working, we were able to repair all of the ruts along the length of Sin Nombre that were repairable.
A crew consisting of mostly MBU members and led by Steve Messer, CORBA’s president, worked their way up the Wood Canyon Vista Trail. They started by rebuilding the first very tight switchback which had become rocky and difficult to navigate in recent years. When that was done, they headed up the hill to generally clean out old drains and build new ones where needed.
A journalist from the Ventura County Star accompanied the MBU crew. You can view his photos and video on their website.
Other crews worked on Sage Trail, rebuilding walls and drainages, Old Boney Trail near Sorreno Valley in the Boney Mountain Wilderness Area, and a group of youngsters and their parents cleared brush from the side of the Blue Canyon Trail. Building Bridges to the Outdoors Sierra Club worked on Coyote Trail.
There hasn’t been any rain recently so the dirt was bone-dry and turns to dust when we dig into it. Because of this, it’s not possible to pack it down firmly despite our best efforts. Be careful when riding these newly worked trails – parts of them are pretty loose still!
Saturday afternoon was spent relaxing around camp, chatting with friends and rehydrating, often with light- to dark-brown beverages. Some people went hiking or riding and youngsters helped decorate the desert cakes with colored icing and sprinkles.
The barbecue dinner, cooked and served by Park staff, was fabulous as always – barbecued tri-tip, chicken and veggie burgers along with salad, garlic toast and baked beans. During dinner, Tony Hoffman from State Parks, along with a pair of young volunteers, called ticket numbers for the prize give-away. The very best prizes (tents, sleeping bags and such) were gone by the time this correspondent’s number was called; even so I got a gift certificate to a nice restaurant in Thousand Oaks that I like.
David Szymanski, superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and Craig Sap, superintendent of State Parks Angeles District dropped in during the afternoon and dinner to chat and thank the volunteers for all their help.
After it got dark, slide shows were given by State Park scientists on the archeology of the area, especially with respect to mudslides over hundreds of years and their effect on native inhabitants, and the ecology of recovery after the Springs Fire two years ago.
The number of volunteers for Sunday’s trailwork was much smaller, as happens every year. Two dozen people broke into three crews; one worked on “Toe-stubber” a second continued clearing overgrowth from the Blue Canyon Trail, and the kids did some easy trail smoothing nearby with their parents.
CORBA would like to thank all the volunteers and Park staff who made this year’s event a rousing success!
You can view many more photos of the event in CORBA’s 2016 Trail Days photo gallery.
We had an unusually poor turnout for our trail restoration project along the Backbone Trail between Kanan and Latigo Canyon Roads. Even so, our small group of five (4 mountain bikers and one trail runner) got a lot done, and along with the dozen or so volunteers from our partners with the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, we worked about a mile of trail, starting on the top of the tunnel just past the first steep hill out of the parking area. The poor turnout of mountain bikers was a real disappointment, especially because this is such a great and popular trail for mountain biking. This is the first leg of the ride between Kanan Road and the Corral Canyon trailhead.
There were three major problems that we needed to address – lack of drains, poorly constructed drains and overgrowing brush that included a lot of poison oak (PO).
We originally scouted this trail about six weeks ago, but we had to scrub that work day because we learned only a couple of days beforehand that there would be a major event that morning, with hundreds of trail runners passing through the work area, and the parking area would be used by support crew.
We scouted the area again last week to flag the spots where we could be working. In just six weeks the amount of growth of the brush, and especially the PO, amazed us!
For dealing with most of the overgrowth, we left that to the Trails Council crew and their gas hedge trimmer. That’s an effective way to quickly deal with overgrowing chaparral and PO. Unlike most brush cuttings that we pick up and dispose of off the trail and out of sight, clippings that contain poison oak are carefully pulled to the side of the trail with a MacLeod (has a 4′ handle) and then shoved over the edge. We try not to touch any part of the handles of our tools to the PO leaves or stems.
The CORBA crew hiked about 1.4 miles to the end of the work area to tackle a corner where there have been mountain bike spills. It turns out that the brush had overgrown the inside of the turn so that the trail had become very narrow and people were riding beyond the outside edge where the dirt was soft. Mixed in with the overgrowing brush were some very vigorous PO bushes. Lacking the gas hedge trimmer, we chopped and hacked the brush around the PO, exposing as much of it as possible, then carefully chopped, hacked and lopped those branches. Where the brush had been removed was about a foot deep of leaf litter, including PO leaves, so we scraped all that away, revealing the original trail tread. Finally, we worked the dirt to give the tread a bit of an outslope (to shed water) and to make it even with the old trail.
That effort took the five of us about an hour and a half. After that, we worked our way back to the beginning, rebuilding blocked drains, filling a few very nasty but short ruts, and building new drains.
Some of the drains we worked turned out to be old drains that were completely filled with dirt. Even thought the trail was on a steep cross-slope, the dirt had piled us several feet off the edge of the trail, like the Mississippi River delta. To make an effective drain, we had to cut down the brush that was growing up around these ‘deltas’ and then push a couple of cubic yards of dirt down the hill. That was before we could even start to construct our typical drainage nicks!
There was a major problem on the first half mile of trail beyond the top of the tunnel. Some person or group had dug poorly designed drains into the trail. They were too narrow and not sloped properly to drain water off the side. The biggest problem was that the outlet at the outside edge of the trail was narrow, so all the water was focused on one spot, eroding a deep rut. With just a few rainfalls, these ruts would start to encroach into the trail and would eventually destroy it. The Trails Council took care of these by widening them out, and also worked on some deeply rutted sections.
Overall we fixed up about a mile of trail, including brushing back the overgrowth. But be careful when riding this trail – the brush and poison oak is growing so quickly that it’s likely to continue to be a problem for some time.
Ten CORBA and 17 other volunteers helped to restore 3/4 miles of the Backbone Trail (Yerba Buena segment) this past Saturday February 27.
This trail was built about 12 years ago and has had very little, if any maintenance work done on it since. Overall it has held up very well, which shows how well it was designed and constructed, but the lack of rainfall over the past several years has certainly contributed to its longevity.
Nevertheless, most of the original drainages were completely filled with silt and had become ineffective, allowing water to run down the middle of the trail, developing and enlarging ruts. As such, most of our work was spent fixing ruts, and repairing drainages or building new ones, to keep ruts from re-forming or enlarging. One long-time volunteer used a gas-powered hedge trimmer to cut back the brush that was starting to impinge on the trail while two people followed along behind to dispose of the cuttings.
This CORBA crew embarked on a task that was new to us by completely rebuilding a section of the trail about 100′ long. The berm on the outside of the trail that keeps the water on it was chopped up. The dirt was then dragged back over the trail, filling in the center rut and used to re-establish the normal outslope that allows water to flow straight across and off the outside edge of the trail, rather then down the middle to make a rut. This took about three hours. For the rest of the day we joined in the other volunteers in clearing and building drainages.
We packed up about 2 pm, a littler earlier than usual, then some CORBA volunteers drove into Thousand Oaks for thank-you lunch on CORBA at the Stonefire Grill.
Thanks to all the CORBA and other volunteers who came out to help restore this trail! There are many more photos in our Feb 27th photo gallery for you to view.