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!
Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category
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.
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.
One 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.
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!
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!
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.
CORBA 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.
This past weekend the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area hosted their first Recreation Festival. The National Park Service promoted the event widely in park-poor communities around Los Angeles. Paramount Ranch, with it’s historic movie set buildings and idyllic location in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains was a perfect place to introduce so many to the wonders of the great outdoors.
Visitors from underserved communities were bused in from Compton, South Los Angeles, Wilmington and other areas. While there was a definite contingent of locals and experienced park visitors, it was wonderful to see so many people visiting the mountains for the first time. For many visitors, Spanish was the preferred language, often with the kids translating for their parents. Over 1700 people visited the Rec Fest and had the opportunity to experience a number of outdoor activities.
Kids were able to try climbing on one of two climbing walls, ride a horse on a trail ride, try fly-casting and learn about fishing. The local Audubon Society chapter talked about birding, and many of the birds that could be seen right from their booth. Everyone who completed the 1-mile trail running foot race were awarded a medal. A self-guided hiking route was marked for families to follow. CORBA’s Youth Adventures program offered kids a chance to ride a mountain bike on a guided trail ride. There was no shortage of things to do.
CORBA was there in a big way to promote mountain biking. Girlz Gone Riding were also there encouraging lots of young women to try mountain biking. We had our CORBA booth, giving out information on trail etiquette and promoting our youth programs: CORBA Kids Club and CORBA Youth Adventures. But mostly we were answering “where can we ride bikes?” Fortunately, the answer was “right over there.”
Mountain Bike Unit volunteers were on hand with CORBA’s Youth Adventures fleet of over 40 bikes, along with smaller kid’s bikes on loan from Walk N’ Rollers, a nonprofit in Culver City that promotes healthy transportation alternatives, such as walking and biking, for children. The MBU runs the Youth Adventures program on behalf of CORBA.
Well over 200 kids went out for either a short trail ride, or to ride a short course with some small wooden bike park features. For much of the day there was a 30-minute wait to get on a bike, and at times it was hard to get the kids off the bikes as they just wanted to keep doing laps. The kids’ ear-to-ear grins were their own reward. (more…)