Archive for the ‘Santa Monica Mountains’ Category

Public Lands Update

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

This year we have seen legislation introduced to further protect and enhance our local open spaces and public lands.

HR3039, the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Act. Judy Chu introduced this bill in June. The bill would establish two new units of Wilderness within the Angeles National Forest. CORBA worked for two years with wilderness advocates to ensure these newly-proposed designations would not impact trails used by mountain bikers. The bill establishes the Condor Peak Wilderness and Yerba Buena Wilderness units, separated by the Condor Peak Trail. Condor Peak trail and Trail Canyon trail to the waterfall and campground would remain open to bicycles under this new designation.

Rim of the Valley

Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, S1993/HR4086.

This bill by Adam Schiff/Diane Feinstein would expand the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to include open spaces around the Conejo, Simi, San Fernando, La Crescenta and Verdugo valleys. It does not change any land ownership or management but allows the National Park Service to partner with current land managers to improve habitat, wildlife corridors, and recreational opportunities. It puts into action the findings of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study. It does not impact bicycle access to trails and could improve recreational opportunities.

H.R. 2323: San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act. This act introduced by Judy Chu would establish the San Gabriel National Recreation Area as a unit of the National Park System. The NRA would cover river corridors and open spaces from the Angeles National Forest border through the San Gabriel Valley. It does not create any new federally-managed public land. It would allow the National Park Service to partner with existing land managers to improve habitat, biodiversity, and recreational access. It would also expand the boundary of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to include areas of the Angeles Front Country that are currently outside the Monument.

While these bills have been introduced, it remains to be seen whether they will make it out of their respective committees.

CORBA’s mission includes the protection of the places we play. Nationally, as the current administration proposes major changes to environmental regulations, national monument boundaries (our San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is not expected to be a target of boundary reductions), forest management practices, permitted uses, we stand ready to speak up for our local public lands and the recreational opportunities they provide and we all cherish.

E-MTBs Prohibited from Malibu Creek, Point Mugu and Will Rogers State Parks

Friday, September 15th, 2017

On September 13, 2017, California State Parks Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap issued order 915-17-02, closing all trails in the Angeles District to electric bicycles. This includes multi-use trails in Malibu Creek State Park, Topanga State Park, Will Rogers State Park, and Point Mugu State Park.

E-MTB’s such as this Specialized Turbo Levo are prohibited from Santa Monica Mountains trails

Electric mountain bikes are already prohibited from Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and National Park Service trails.

Some trails and many popular bike routes in the Santa Monicas cross more than one of these jurisdictions. This had led to confusion as to where e-MTBs were allowed. Sap’s order states that consistency with neighboring jurisdictions is part of the justification used.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation current policy regarding e-MTBs leaves the decision at the District level, until such time as a formal state-wide policy is adopted. The order goes into effect on October 1st, 2017.

Enforcement is expected to begin then too, but we do not yet have information on how it will be enforced. As one can see in photo above, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish some e-MTbs from their non-electric brethren.

Sap’s order does appear to allow for exemptions. Law enforcement and emergency personnel may still use e-MTBs in the performance of their official duties without a prior written exemption.

Currently, Conejo Open Space trails are generally open to e-MTBs, as well as roads and trails appearing on the Angeles National Forest MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map).  Check the People for Bikes e-MTB Map for more information on where to legally ride electric mountain bikes.

2017-09-15 – Angeles District State Parks E-Bike Order


September Skills Clinic photos posted September 5th

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

This month we had 8 riders including two little tikes on a very hot day in the park. Because of the heat, around 100 F, we skipped some skills and quit about an hour earlier than normal.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our September photo gallery.

‘Creek of Doom’ trail restoration in MCSP on November 11

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Last winter’s rains damaged the surface of Crags Rd Trail in Malibu Creek State Park and have encouraged brush to grow up along its steep upslope bank. The CORBA and Santa Monica Mountain Trails Council trail crews will be fixing these problems on the section of the trail that goes along the creek as it approaches the M*A*S*H site. It’s fondly known as “The Rock Garden” or “The Creek of Doom.”

After the trailwork is finished, CORBA will treat you to lunch afterwards.

No experience is necessary to help out with trailwork. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided.

Parents/guardians are responsible for minors at all times, and they must constantly and directly supervise children under 14. Children must be over 7-years old to attend. Please leave your four-legged friends at home!

Be sure to wear protective clothing (sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, hat, golves) and bring snacks, sunscreen and water. CORBA will provide the tools and training.

We request that you pre-register online at so that we’ll know how many tools to provide. Remember, by registering here, CORBA will treat you to lunch afterwards!

CORBA’s thank-you lunch will be after trailwork ends at 2:30 pm, so bring some snacks to tide you over.

The online registration page also contains details about where and when to meet.

August Skills Clinic photos posted August 5

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

This month we had 8 riders and one little girl who mostly watched on a nearly perfect day to be in the park. The stream is dry again so we practiced riding through the rocks, which were considerably more uneven than before the winter storms strew them all over.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our August photo gallery.

Grasslands Trail Reroute in Malibu Creek State Park Now Open

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

In 2010, a steep and unsustainable spur of the Grasslands Trail in Malibu Creek State Park was closed for plant rehabilitation. The spur was a shortcut from Grasslands to High Road. Fences were erected at both ends and “Closed” signs were posted. These signs were torn down by trail users and the fences cut. Parallel trails that skirted the end of the fence appeared beside the original spur. Eventually the bedraggled fences were removed completely.

The new trail has a great view!

The plan from the beginning was to rebuild the trail along a much less steep and much more sustainable route. Under-funding of State Parks, bureaucracy and distracting emergencies such as wildfires and mudslides in Pt Mugu State Park being what they are, rebuilding of the trail has experienced years of delays.

But it is finally open! (Even if it’s not quite complete.)

The new trail starts near the top of the old spur and connects to High Road a little further west (closer to the MASH site) than the spur.


Volunteers are finishing the first part on the new trail on Earth Day.

The reroute was built in two parts. The first was constructed by volunteers on Earth Day, April 22. The route had been previously cleared of grass and low chaparral by State Park workers and the volunteers finished it by digging it out to have an appropriate width and slope. This segment ended at a small seasonal drainage that was dry at the time.

State Park workers finished the second half and the trail is now open for use. The seasonal drainage will have a bridge built across it so that the trail can be used year-round, and that bridge is expected to be compete by the end of the summer.

The CORBA Hill Climb contest on the Grasslands spur during the Fat Tire Fest in 2007

The new trail is longer than the original spur and therefore much less steep. The old spur was so steep that it was a real challenge to climb. In fact, CORBA used that section for the hill-climbing contest when the Fat Tire Fest was held in Malibu Creek State Park. The best part is that that new trail has a fantastic view of the trees, meadow and mountains in the background. The gentler slope now allows you the time to look around and enjoy the surroundings, both on the way down and up.

Kudos to State Parks for building a great new trail! The old spur and parallel trails are closed so please use the new trail when riding Grasslands Trail in Malibu Creek State Park to allow the native vegetation to recover on the steep hillside!

What’s up with the new bridge in Point Mugu State Park?

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Recently a sturdy bridge was built across a short gully on the Sin Nombre Trail in Point Mugu State Park. This bridge bypasses a sharp corner that has been the location of many serious mountain biking accidents. Here’s the story of the corner and the bridge.

Climbing away from the corner. You can see the rocks on the edge that were placed to widen the trail, and how steep the drop is.

The corner in question is about 0.1 miles from the top of the trail at Ranch Center Road, where a small, usually dry stream crosses it. From Ranch Center Road, Sin Nombre Trail crosses the edge of a meadow and enters a grove of oak trees. It bends right and downhill for about 20′, rounds the corner in question to the left, turning over 90-degrees, then climbs out of the stream crossing and narrows.  On the left side of the trail is a steep drop into the rocky stream bed about 5′ below. The corner looks really easy to negotiate and that’s the deception that has caused so many crashes and injuries. The natural tendency is to brake to slow on the downhill side to negotiate the sharp corner. The climb out of the corner is unexpectedly steep, so riders who haven’t downshifted can stall and put their foot down. They always put their left foot down because they’re already leaning that way after going around the sharp left corner. Unfortunately the trail is very narrow on the climb out, so unless the bike is on the very inside edge of the trail, the foot goes off the edge of the trail, followed by rider and bike, ending in a pile on the rocks of the stream bed. The seriousness of the injury is dependent on how lucky the rider is on landing on the rocks several feet below. Some of the injuries have been very serious, resulting in broken bones and nerve damage. One rider was paralyzed and unable to feel anything below his neck. Fortunately he’d just sprained his neck, not broken it, and feelings and movement returned after about 10 minutes. In addition there have been lots of regular scrapes, gouges and sprains.

There are other ways to crash on that corner, but putting the left foot down off the edge of the trail is very common.

The new bridge on the Sin Nombre Trail in Point Mugu State Park.

CORBA with lots of help from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council worked to improve this section of the trail in 2012. Volunteers widened the hazardous section of the trail a few inches by embedding large flat rocks at the edge. Unfortunately the trail can’t be widened further by cutting into the inside edge because of oak trees and their roots at the edge of the trail.

Widening the trail be even a few inches certainly kept some people from tumbling down into the rocks below, but still people were having serious injuries there.

A few years ago, the father of a young Boy Scout fell and sustained very serious injuries. Many falls have resulted in broken bones, including at least one broken pelvis.

Now an Eagle Scout candidate, the young man embarked on a project after consulting with State Park officials to fix this issue once and for all. The result is the new bridge and the old hazardous section has been closed off.

Some people will probably be upset that the thrill of rounding this one corner has been removed from the trail, but I hope that when they understand why, they will happy to give up one turn to save less-experienced mountain bikers from falling on the rocks and seriously injuring themselves. So far as I know, nobody has been killed on this corner, but it was just a matter of time.

Many thanks to the young Eagle Scout who completed this project and the many scouts and friends who volunteered to help him!

June Skills Clinic photos posted June 4

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

This month we had a huge group of 32, possibly an all-time record, to make up for the 3 we had last month! Graham again filled in taking pictures for Steve who had a prior commitment to help celebrate National Trails Day.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our June photo gallery.

May Skills Clinic photos posted May 6

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

There was a very small group of only three at this month’s Skills Clinic, on a very gray day in May.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our May photo gallery.

Schwarzenegger proposal to help narrow Calif.’s huge deficit would close 220 state parks

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

By SAMANTHA YOUNG , Associated Press (reported in the Minneapolis – St. Paul Star Tribune)

Local parks slated for closure include

The California State Parks Foundation has compiled a complete list of parks proposed to be closed.

What you can do to help prevent closure of our parks


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts could mean the closing of up to 220 state parks, among them the home of the world’s tallest tree and other attractions that draw millions of visitors. Schwarzenegger this week recommended eliminating $70 million in parks spending through June 30, 2010. An additional $143.4 million would be saved in the following fiscal year by keeping the parks closed.

“This is a worst-case scenario,” said Roy Sterns, a spokesman at the state parks department. “If we can do less than this, we will try. But under the present proposal, this is it.”

Among the parks that could be closed, the parks department said Thursday, are Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay, Will Rogers’ Southern California ranch and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which boasts the world’s tallest tree, a giant that tops 370 feet. Even the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento is on the list.

The Legislature last year rejected the governor’s proposal to close 48 state parks. But lawmakers said that with California’s budget deficit now at $24.3 billion, the situation is so dire that it is likely some parks will close.

“Things that were previously dead on arrival are a lot more viable in a crisis like this,” said Democrat Jared Huffman, chairman of the Assembly’s parks and wildlife committee. “I think some cuts are coming to the parks, and they’ll be cuts I won’t like and the public won’t like.”

The state parks department said a $70 million cut would leave it with enough money to run just 59 of California’s 279 state parks.

The state’s famed park system attracts nearly 80 million visitors a year. William Randolph Hearst’s Castle on the Central Coast and a dozen other so-called moneymakers would remain open, as would many Southern California beaches that attract millions of visitors year round.

But others that could close include: Fort Ross State Historic Park, the southernmost Russian settlement in North America; Bodie State Historic Park, one of the best-preserved Old West ghost towns; and Big Basin Redwoods, the oldest state park.

The proposal has angered conservationists and some Democrats in the Legislature, who say California’s parks are treasured spots that help the state and local economy.

“State parks draw tourism to California,” State Parks Foundation president Elizabeth Goldstein said. “This proposal makes the budget situation worse.”

The foundation estimates the state gets a $2.35 return for every dollar it spends on parks.

California spends roughly $400 million a year running 279 state parks and beaches, with roughly a third of the money coming from the state general fund. The rest comes from user fees, which account for slightly more than a quarter of the revenue; bond funds; gasoline taxes; federal money; and other sources.

Assembly Minority Leader Mike Villines said the state cannot afford to subsidize state parks when lawmakers are being asked to make severe cuts in even more vital areas.

“Parks are just not going to be a priority over public safety and education, as much as we hate to see them close,” Villines said.

At least 2,000 park rangers, biologists, lifeguards, interpreters, architects and maintenance workers would be laid off if the proposal is adopted, said Sterns, the parks spokesman.

The layoffs would be in addition to 5,000 state positions the governor has already recommended cutting.

“When you cut that much, you have to let go highly trained teams of biologists that you can’t get back in a year or two,” Huffman said. “It’s a myth to think you can mothball the entire system. These cuts will cripple the park system for a decade or more.”