Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category

2014 Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days Trailwork Report and Photo Galleries

Monday, April 28th, 2014
Rangers serve the barbecue on Saturday night. As well as hot dogs, there was chicken, tri-tip beef and veggie-burgers.

Rangers serve the barbecue on Saturday night. As well as hot dogs, there was chicken, tri-tip beef and veggie-burgers.

This past weekend, a large number of volunteers from CORBA, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, the Sierra Club and other organizations, and individuals gathered for the 33rd annual Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days at the Danielson campground in Pt Mugu State Park. Folks could arrive Friday evening, camp overnight, help with the trails on Saturday, enjoy the barbecue dinner prepared by park staff, win some cool swag in the prize give-away during dinner, camp overnight, help with the trails on Sunday, have lunch back at the campground, then depart for home. Of course only a few people stayed for the whole weekend, but many camped for at least one night, and most stayed for the Saturday BBQ and prize give-away.

On Saturday, there were about 110 volunteers who split into five groups. The largest groups worked on Old Boney Trail in the State Wilderness Area and Sage Trail. Others went to the top of Hidden Pond Trail and youngsters under 10 cleared small rockfalls off the Sin Nombre and Two Foxes Trails. A dozen hardy souls (with hardy soles) hiked almost three miles (and up about 1400′) carrying tools to work on the Chamberlain Trail, also in the wilderness area.

The group of about 30 volunteers who worked on Sage consisted of CORBA folks, a few geocachers, and others. The trail had just been SWECO’d (plowed by a small trail-sized bulldozer) to level the trail, smooth out the ruts, and narrow it. The trail is narrower now because it used to be the full width of a fire road, and now the travel surface is about half as wide. The SWECO is only able to get so close to the edge, so the work consisted of pulling down the berm (pile of dirt) the machine left at the outside edge of the trail, sloping the trail about 5-degrees to the outside so rainwater will run off, rather than down the middle, and removing the larger rocks.

Putting the finishing touches on the Sage Trail on Saturday after it was leveled, smoothed and narrowed by the SWECO trail bulldozer.

Putting the finishing touches on the Sage Trail on Saturday after it was leveled, smoothed and narrowed by the SWECO trail bulldozer.

There were also a few spots of severe erosion and rutting on the side of the trail where rain water had run off, taking some of the trail with it. In one case, the erosion extended about half-way into the trail. To prevent future rain from extending these ruts and eventually washing the trail away completely, we built rock walls down the ruts to reinforce the side next to the trail. The idea is that the water will run off the trail and down the rock wall, protecting the dirt underneath from being washed away. The rocks will also slow and disperse the water, so it doesn’t wash away the dirt below the wall and undermine it.

Overall we worked about 2300 feet of trail, from the bottom to where the now-closed Art’s Trail joins it.

We headed back to the campground at about 2:00 pm, although crew leader Virginia from the Trails Council stayed about a half hour longer, and CORBA’s Steve Messer stayed even longer. Some people just won’t quit until the job is finished!

We always have a much smaller group for the Sunday work day, so all 30 of us returned to Sage Trail to finish off the top 1700′. It only took until about noon to get this shorter section completed.

Sage Trail is a little loose after our trailwork, but it’s not too loose to ride. It should be packed down in two or three weeks, as Guadalasca Trail was after we did the same work there last spring. The trail will also regain its single-track width after enough people have ridden it to define a preferred course.

CORBA, the Trails Council, local chapters of the Sierra Club, California State Park, the National Park Service and other would like to give a tremendous Thank-You to all the volunteers who helped over the weekend, both working on the trails to keep them in top shape, and organizing and coordinating in the camping and registration area!

You can view more photos of the trailwork in the Saturday photo gallery and the Sunday photo gallery.

Join the Danusia Taber Memorial Ride May 31st

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Please join us for the 1st annual Danusia Taber Memorial ride at MCSP (Malibu Creek State Park) at 9AM on May 31st. This ride will be to honor Danusia Taber who passed away in May of 2013 of Leimyosarcoma, a rare cancer. This is also a fund raiser ride for the Sarcoma Alliance the non profit that helped Danusia in her time of need. Please donate prior to the ride in Danusia’s Memory here: http://sarcomaalliance.org/donate/donate-now/

You can also bring cash or a check made out to The Sarcoma Alliance and turn it into me at the Memorial site at 9am.

Danusia was instrumental in getting GGR off the ground. She was there from the beginning with direction, motivation and helping with partnerships such as CORBA. She was a CORBA board member, an MBU patroller, a mentor and great friend to many. Before she passed, she approved the Danusia Bell program. These are small bells to place on your bike or pack alerting other trail users you are there. 100% of these profits also go to the Sarcoma Alliance per Danusia. You can purchase your Danusia bells here: http://www.girlzgoneriding.com/ggr_products/
or here: http://corbamtb.com/store/store.shtml.

Danusia riding on the Wood Canyon Trail in Pt Mugu State Park

We will have 3 levels of rides:

• Beginner & Advanced Beginner: Riding to the dam and back: about 8 miles

• Intermediate: Short Bull dog loop & Grasslands: about 15 miles with 1500 feet of climbing

• Advanced: New Millennium Loop & Grasslands: about 19 miles with 3400 feet of climbing.

All riders will meet at the Memorial spot at 9am to have a brief revisit of Danusia’s life and why we are there for her and the fund raising efforts. If you have a story to tell about Danusia, I will open up the area to anyone who does. We would love to hear it! She was a character and we all have many great stories!

Please meet at the SOUTH end of Mott Motorway where the memorial service was held last year:  http://www.venturacountytrails.org/TrailMaps/MalibuCreek/AreaTrails.htm#Map. Mott is #7 on the Map.

You can further show your support by signing up for this event on our Meetup group here http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/153915552/ and encouraging all your friends to come along!

If you have any questions on the event or ride, please contact Wendy Engelberg: wendy@girlzgoneriding.com

I thank you so very much in advance for supporting this event. GGR Girl and Proud CORBA member Wendy E

April Skills Clinic photos published Saturday, April 5

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

The April 2014 Skills Clinic Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park, on a sunny but cool day, was made up of 25 riders. There was a small amount of water in the stream crossing this month, but we didn’t ride across because of the large number of hikers wandering back and forth. Maybe they were looking for tadpoles. So we didn’t get a chance to ride through the stream yet again. You can see the April photos in the April 2014 photo gallery.

Niner Bike Frame is Grand Prize for Trailwork Volunteers

Friday, March 28th, 2014
Could it be YOU who wins a frame like this Niner?

Could it be YOU who wins a frame like this Niner?

As part of the thank-you for volunteers who help with maintaining our trails in good riding order, CORBA has been giving away mountain biking swag at the end of each event. To speed things up on trailwork days, and to allow some really great  (ie, expensive!) prizes to be given away, we will instead have a drawing at the end of the year for all the volunteers who come out during that year.

We have a Niner frame waiting for some lucky volunteer, plus other great prizes including grips and saddles from Ergon!

In order to be eligible for the drawing, volunteers must register for events in advance on our Meetup group, show up at the event and sign the standard waiver form. At the end of the year, we’ll go back through all the Meetup events and count the number of times each volunteer helped out. Everyone will get one chance in the drawing for each time they participated.

Now by helping to keep our trails in good shape, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re giving back to the trails community, of contributing to the enjoyment that others have in our open spaces, and also having a chance at scoring a sweet ride from CORBA and Niner!

Good luck and thanks for helping out!

Santa Monica Mtns Trail Days at Sycamore Canyon Apr 25-27

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

SMM Trail DaysOnce 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 25 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 26Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 27Trailwork, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch.

You can volunteer to help out on Saturday, Sunday, or both.

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!

Saturday Registration: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/173599122/
Sunday Registration: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/154204972/

TRAILWORK: Saturday and/or Sunday. Help out with one or both! There are also opportunities to help out in the camp instead of trailwork.

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 – 8 am and 4:30 pm Sunday – 8:30 am

DEPART: Saturday – 4 pm and after campfire Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm

Full details and camping/dining details are also provided on the registration pages.

Sullivan Canyon Officially Re-opens

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

image001By Mike Harriel, Southern California Gas Company

So Cal Gas has completed mandated maintenance work on the pipelines in Sullivan Canyon. The canyon is now open for use.

As I have mentioned before. There is another maintenance project occurring in the canyon in early May 2014. I will inform you about the impact to the canyon as well as timeline once I have all the information.

Please be aware; at the end of the Sullivan Fire Road north of Mulholland Drive, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) will soon be working in the area to perform a pressure test on one of our natural gas pipelines. You will see SoCalGas and its Contractor’s trucks, water tanks, and heavy equipment.

I know a lot of you use this road for hiking and biking. My understanding is the road will not be completely blocked so you will be able to pass through. Work will begin late March 2014, and last until approximately early in May 2014, although weather and other factors affecting safe working conditions could change the schedule.

Thank you for your patience regarding Sullivan Canyon closures. Please understand Sullivan Canyon is private property, owned solely by the southern California gas company. Its primary function is a corridor for two high pressure gas lines. Because of its natural beauty, we make it available for public use. Periodically, we must complete state and federally mandated maintenance on this pipeline to insure its integrity and public safety. This maintenance may require partial or complete shutdown of the canyon, depending on the nature of the work. We try to keep the public informed of this work, scheduling and user impact.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Happy hiking and biking!

 

February Skills Clinic photos published Sunday, Feb 2

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

The February 2014 Skills Clinic Skills Clinic at Malibu Creek State Park on a sunny but very cool day. The group was made up of 13 riders. As has been the case for the past year, there was no water in the stream crossing. Hopefully we’ll have some rain before next month’s class so people will get to ride across a stream. You can see the February photos in the February 2014 photo gallery.

Santa Monica Mountains Draft Trail Management Plan Released

Friday, January 31st, 2014

 

smmtmp-coverOn Friday, January 31, 2014, CORBA was notified that the long-awaited Santa Monica Mountains Draft Trail Management Plan (TMP) had been released in draft form for review. In developing the plan, NPS supposedly inventoried all existing trails, including “unofficial” or “volunteer” trails, and lays out a vision for how the entire trail system will be managed going forward. The plan has been in development for more than ten years, with several false starts and periods of uncertainty due to dwindling budgets, lack of staff and other limitations. The NPS last year received a grant to complete the plan.

Now that the draft has been released, we will be going over it in detail over the coming weeks  to see whether our concerns have been given due consideration. We’d encourage everyone familiar with the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains to see if there are any trails they know of that will be affected by the proposed plan.

CORBA has a long-standing request for bicycle access to particular trails that are currently closed to bikes. Our list goes back more than two decades, but our formal requests were, at least in part, the impetus for State Parks to develop their formal Change In Use (CIU) process. So far, two trails for which we requested a change in use have been evaluated using the CIU methodology. One of those, the Canyon trail in Placerita Canyon (a State Park unit managed by L.A. County) was reviewed and opened to bikes after trail modifications were made. The other trails that were approved for a change in use have been on hold due to a lack of funds, a need for major re-routes, and pending the final release of the TMP.

We’re hoping to see the trails for which CORBA has formally requested a Change In Use, a list that goes back more than a decade, have been given due consideration in the TMP. We’re also hoping to see plans for new trails to provide better through-connectivity, including a multi-use bypass trail around the Boney Mountain State Wilderness, among other things. We’d also like to see the Backbone trail opened in its entirety, or viable multi-use singletrack alternate routes for sections that can’t or won’t be opened to bikes.

The TMP document is complex. Since the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area includes land owned by multiple agencies, it was quite an undertaking to coordinate the effort between the affected agencies: State Parks, National Park Service, Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, LA County, private landowners and others.

The plans can be downloaded for viewing at:  http://www.nps.gov/samo/parkmgmt/tmp-index.htm.  The public comment period ends on April 1st. We aim to have reviewed the documents in detail and offer our assessment and comment suggestions by the end of February.

Two Public hearings are scheduled, and we encourage anyone with an interest in the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains to attend:

February 20, 2014, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 
King Gillette Ranch 
Dining Hall 
26800 Mulholland Highway 
Calabasas, CA 91302  
 
February 22, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Temescal Gateway Park 
Woodland Hall 
15601 Sunset Blvd. 
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 
 
 

Jan 25th Backbone Trailwork Report and Photos

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Sixteen CORBA volunteers and five from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council returned to the Backbone Trail between Latigo Canyon Road and Newton Motorway to continue with the work we started in November. Then, we mostly installed and cleaned drainage nicks on the steepest, rockiest, most eroded part of the trail, but also cleared some brush. This past Saturday, we installed 15 to 18 new drainage nicks on parts of the trail that were less susceptible to erosion but still at risk, armored a switchback with large stones where people had been  cutting the corner, and cleared encroaching brush from about 2/3 of its 1.4-mile length.

Back at the trailhead, CORBA volunteers show off the swag they won in the prize give-away.

When we brush the trail, we try to clear growth about 3-feet from the edge of the trail. This brings it back to the standard for a multi-use trail. It also means we won’t have to return for a few years to again clear the brush which grows back in at a rate of about one foot per year.

We were finished installing the drainage nicks about an hour before finishing time, so we made use of the time to clear slough. (Slough is the dirt and other debris that falls on the inside edge of the trail from the slope above. The piles at the edge of the trail narrow it.) By removing the slough and brush at the trail edge, the trail has a more open feeling, and people can use the whole width of it, not just the outside edge.

Afterwards, CORBA volunteers were treated to a prize drawing and lunch at the Urbane Cafe or adjacent Habit Hamburger Grill to thank them for their help. Great job, everybody!

To see all the volunteers and the work they did, you can view the photo gallery of this trailwork.

January Skills Clinic photos published Saturday, Jan 4

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

The first Skills Clinic Skills Clinic of 2014 took place today at Malibu Creek State Park under a sunny but slightly cool sky. The group was made up of 19 riders and one patient young woman who waited as her son completed the class on her bike. You can see the photos in the January 2014 photo gallery.