Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category

Join Danusia Taber’s annual Memorial Ride May 31st

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

The second annual memorial ride honoring the memory of our friend Danusia Bennett Taber​ will be held on Sunday May 31st.

CORBA supporter Danusia with husband Don.

CORBA supporter Danusia with husband Don.

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.

Please sign up on the CORBA Facebook or Meetup event page here where you can locate more information.

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

CORBA Helps Celebrate Marvin Braude Park

Monday, April 6th, 2015
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Sheila Kuehl, Jerry Daniels, Liza Braude-Glidden, Joe Edmiston, Fran Pavley, George Lange, and Cindy Miscikowski cut the ribbon at the re-dedication of Marvin Braude Gateway Park.

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.

April 2015 Skills Clinic Photos Posted April 4th

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

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.

Topanga State Park Fire Road Maintenance

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

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.

Eagle Springs Loop now undergoing road maintenance

Eagle Springs Loop now undergoing road maintenance

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.

 

 

March 2015 Skills Clinic Photos Posted March 9th

Monday, March 9th, 2015

On a beautiful day for riding in Malibu Creek State Park, there was a surprisingly small group of only 11 at the free Basic Skills Clinic, which is always held the first Saturday of the month. You can see the photos in our March photo gallery.

Report on Feb 28 Bark Park Trail Restoration, and Photos

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

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.

Young sailors working on an upslope switchback drainage

Young sailors working on an upslope switchback drainage

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!

Chautauqua Talks: Mountain Biking in the Santa Monica Mountains

Monday, March 2nd, 2015
Victor Vincente is a pioneer of the sport

Victor Vincente is a local pioneer of the sport

You’re invited to a free presentation by one of CORBA’s and IMBA’s founders, Jim Hasenauer. The presentation is called “Mountain Biking in the Santa Monicas” and is a part of the MRCA Chautuaqua Talk Series. The talk will be held at 7:3o p.m. on March 17, 2015.

An appreciation of off-road bicycling in the Santa Monica Mountains with a focus on its history, its growth, bike advocacy, and relations with other trail users. Once called the “new kids on the block”, mountain bicyclists have now been riding the trails and contributing to the trails community for more than thirty years. Come learn about the evolution of the sport, public policy, and sustainable trail design. Learn where to ride, what to ride and how to ride. What does the future hold for mountain bicyclists in the Santa Monica Mountains NRA?

The talk will be held in Woodland Hall at the Temescal Gateway Park, 15601 W. Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades (Map).

Report on Feb 21 Wood Canyon Vista Trail Restoration, and Photos

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

As part of the restoration process of the trails in Pt Mugu State Park after the heavy rains and mudslides in December 2014, twelve volunteers from CORBA, along with about two dozen hikers, trail runners and navy personnel, spent this past Saturday working on the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, a segment of the Backbone Trail. Trail crew leaders from CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council led the volunteers, showing them how to properly, safely and effectively fix the trails using hand tools.

We had three tasks: repairing the ruts caused by water flowing down the middle of the trail, creating and repairing drains to direct water off of it, and leveling the tread where mud had flowed across it, making it uneven.

About two weeks previously, a smaller crew had worked on the bottom one-third mile of this 1.8-mile long trail. The remaining 1.4 miles was split into three; CORBA was assigned the lowest third. The trail runners worked on the top third after most of them ran to their work area from the parking on Potrero Road. The rest of us carpooled from Potrero to the bottom of the trail on the main Sycamore Canyon Trail in as few cars as possible.

Fields of wildflowers surrounded us as we worked to restore the trail.

Fields of wildflowers surrounded us as we worked to restore the trail.

On the hike to the work area and during the frequent rest breaks, we took in and talked about the carpets of green and fields of wildflowers next to the trails – lupines, California poppies, wild hyacinths (blue dicks), shooting stars and more. I’ve never seen so many wildflowers there before, and never more than a few California poppies. On Saturday, we saw thousand of them, if not tens of thousands, with every indication that there would be more to come! The last time we were here was after the Springs Fire when the ground was barren and charred. What a difference a little rain can make!

When we were finished, long stretches of the trail were leveled to remove the center rut, and many drainage nicks were cleared of debris or built anew. In some places, the old ones were so full and covered by grass that we couldn’t tell where they used to be.

All in all, a great group of volunteers contributed to another successful trail restoration project!

You can view more photos in our photo gallery for this project.

February 2015 Skills Clinic Photos Published February 7th

Saturday, February 7th, 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 seventeen riders on a cool and cloudy but dry day. You can see the photos in our February photo gallery.

Scouting the trails of newly re-opened Pt Mugu State Park

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Here is what I found when I rode all the multi-use trails a few days after Pt Mugu State Park re-opened on January 30th. The park had been closed since mid-December when heavy rains brought mudslides to the fire-denuded park. During the closure, heavy equipment was used to clear up the extensive damage on the fire roads, and small groups of volunteers were fixing some bad spots on singletrack trails, using hand tools. In fact, volunteer groups will be converging on the park throughout February to help fix the trails. You can help! Here’s the schedule: 2015-01-22 PMSP Trailwork Schedule.

My first impression was that there were a lot of people in the park for a Tuesday morning. No doubt they were as curious about its condition as I was. (There are a number of photos below that show a typical condition, and a much larger photo gallery to show more trail problems, large and small.) One pleasant surprise was that the wildflowers are coming out, in abundance in some places. I’ve included pictures of some of them in the photo gallery.

I entered the park from the north end, through Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa. There are signs posted at the entrance to Pt Mugu State Park (PMSP) indicating that you can’t get through to the coast, and that there is no water in the park.

On the main Sycamore Canyon Fireroad, there were numerous shallow mudslides that had come down the hill and crossed the road. Some were narrow and others were quite wide. All of them had been cleaned up. The whole road was smooth and quite broad. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the campground because the road was closed south of the point where Overlook Fireroad comes into it.

Piles of dirt that were removed from the main Sycamore Canyon Fireroad.

Sin Nombre and Two Foxes Trails had had lots of tiny mudflows across them, leaving small ridges perpendicular to the trail. They make for a bit of a bumpy ride. There were several ruts in the hillside above and below the trail where a small stream crossed, but did very little or no damage to the trail. There were a few spots where larger streams did damage the trail, leaving ruts and/or rocks and dirt.

A small stream crossed Sin Nombre but did little damage to the trail.

On the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, a segment of the Backbone Trail, there were five notable kinds of features on the trail. Most noticeable was the lack of serviceable drainage dips. Of the 84 drains we installed after the Springs Fire in 2013, almost all were choked with debris, and many couldn’t even be distinguished from the rest of the trail. Large stretches of trail had mud and water flowing across it, leaving small ridges perpendicular to the trail. Other large stretches had water running down the trail, removing all the dirt and sand, leaving a very rocky surface. The clay stretch about 2/3 of the way up has become deeply trenched and rutted. Finally, some trailwork has already been done, and there the surface was generally smoother and outsloped, but slightly loose.

Water running down the Wood Canyon Vista Trail has removed most of the dirt, leaving a lot of exposed rocks.

Climbing the old ranch road section of Guadalasca, I saw a lot of damage. However, it was mostly easy to avoid because the trail there follows an old wide roadbed. The top 20% of the singletrack downhill, where we had worked after the Springs Fire, was in very good shape. However, it was a different story for the rest, where it had already been quite rutted. Most of it was only slightly worse, but the worst sections were much worse than they had been. You can avoid the ruts now by using the very edge of the trail, but that won’t be an option once the vegetation grows up again. In the two places where the trail crossed a small stream with a culvert under the trail, the culvert had become blocked and the upstream streambed was completely filled with silt, while below the trail, the streambed was scoured down to bare rocks. The trail crossing the stream had acted as a dam and held back the dirt and rocks that were washing downstream. Finally, the lower old ranch road section had also become much more rutted, and the culverts under the trail had become exposed.

A really bad section on Guadalasca

During the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Day in April 2014, a large group of volunteers essentially rebuilt the Sage Trail. After the December flooding, the trail remains mostly intact, but we were very lucky that it wasn’t annihilated. The trail runs near the outside edge of an old roadbed. For most of it’s length, water and mud streamed down between the trail and the hillside creating a wide trench, crossing the trail occasionally and flowing off the edge. Most of the armoring rock walls we built to protect previous washouts were intact, but the water flowed around them to enlarge the washouts, generally on the downhill side. Two of the armoring walls didn’t fare well at all.

The next heavy rain may obliterate sections of the Sage Trail if the rut gets much wider.

Finally, here’s what you can see in one spot at the side of the Wood Canyon Vista Trail.

California Poppies at the side of the Wood Canyon Vista Trail

Don’t forget, you can help restore the trails! Here’s the schedule for volunteer work days: 2015-01-22 PMSP Trailwork Schedule.