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Archive for the ‘Santa Susana Mountains’ Category

2016: A Busy, Productive Year

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

2016 is behind us, and what a year it was for CORBA and mountain bikers! We were extremely busy last year, cutting trails, cutting trees, and working on behalf of the mountain bike community to ensure continued and improved access to mountain biking in the greater Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura County areas.

Jim Burton cuts the ceremonial ribbon, as Steve Messer, Matt Lay and Jenny Johnson of MWBA, and Ken's daughters Heather and Tania look on.

Opening of Ken Burton Trail

In 2016, the Gabrielino Trail Restoration project, with REI, Bellfree Contractors, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps, was completed.  Ken Burton Trail restoration with MWBA was completed, opening the Ken Burton trail and a popular loop after seven years of closure, thousands of volunteer hours, and nearly three years of planning.

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Rim of the Valley Final Study Recommendations Released

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016
Final Study Recommendations

Final Study Recommendations

The National Park Service today released the Final Study Recommendations for the Rim of the Valley Corridor Special Resources Study. CORBA has been involved in the Rim of the Valley process since congress authorized the study in 2008, and even before that when the concept was only for a Rim of the Valley trail. We are pleased to see the final recommendation includes most of what we–and many other groups and individuals–suggested in our comments. The recommendation is a hybrid of Alternatives C and D of the draft released last June.

The Secretary of the Interior transmitted the final study to Congress on February 16, 2016.   The final study recommends a 170,000-acre addition to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.The selected alternative would add portions of the Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco corridors, the Verdugo Mountains-San Rafael Hills, the San Gabriel Mountains foothills, the Simi Hills, the Santa Susana Mountains, and the Conejo Mountain area to the national recreation area. Within the expanded area are: habitat types that contribute to the high biodiversity of the Santa Monica Mountains; functioning wildlife corridors; highly scenic landscapes; historic and archeological sites; geologic and paleontological resources; thousands of acres of open space and recreation areas; and miles of trails, all of which provide exceptional public enjoyment opportunities. Expanding Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area would provide new recreational opportunities for one of the most densely populated areas in the United States.

No lands currently managed by the Forest Service (Angeles National Forest and Los Padres National Forest) are included in the proposed boundary expansion of the SMMNRA. However, the National Park Service could partner with the Forest Service on projects, as needed, and as permitted under their current “service first authority.”  Existing land managers would continue to manage their lands, but the inclusion of those lands within the expanded boundary of the SMMNRA would allow the NPS to work with them to acquire land from willing sellers, or invest in capitol improvements for recreation or habitat improvements.

The study at this point is just a recommendation from the Secretary of the Interior to Congress. It will be up to congress to take those recommendations and act on them. Or they may not. It many be many years, if ever, before the boundaries of the SMMNRA are adjusted as recommended in the Study.

The final study report, errata from the draft study and an analysis of public comments submitted can be found at http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/

El Nino Watch: Trail Damage and Riding after it Rains

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

We are having a severe El Nino event this winter; as a result the weather forecast is for many heavy rainstorms in the early months of 2016. That will help our drought situation, but will have seriously bad impacts on our trails. As well as muddy conditions that interfere with their use, described  below, the rains could be severe enough to erode some trails into huge ruts, and even wash them away in some cases. There may be more mudslides in Pt Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon) like we had last year. Furthermore, the rain will spur the chaparral to overgrow the trails, a condition we haven’t had to deal with much over the past couple of years because of the drought. The combination of waterlogged soil and high winds could blow trees over. We’re expecting to have special trailwork days to repair these damaged trails and hope many mountain bikers will want to help us get them back into shape!

Most trails in our local riding area don’t respond well to rain. They have a high content of clay that turns into sticky, slippery muck that binds to everything it touches. It builds up on the tires, like a snowball rolling downhill, until it jams on the frame and the wheels won’t budge. Some models of clipless pedals won’t let go when full of this mud, resulting in the bike and the attached rider lying sideways in a puddle, or worse.

Most wet trails don’t respond well to use until they’ve had time to dry out. Hikers and horses make holes and ridges in the trail that become as hard as concrete when the trail dries. These holes and ridges are good for twisting ankles.

As a rule of thumb, if your foot, tire or hoof makes an impression more than about 1/8 inch deep in the dirt, the trail is still too soft to use. Give it another day or two to dry out before using it!

On wet trails, bikes make grooves along the trail. The next time it rains, the water runs down these grooves and turns them into little ruts, then large ruts that destroy the trail.

The mud is particularly hard to remove. It sticks to the bike and shoes, no matter the efforts to remove it, rubbing off on the bike rack, car carpet and gas/brake pedals, making them slippery. Once home, it takes the careful use of a garden hose to remove the mud but not force water into the sensitive parts of the bike.

For these reasons, riders are well advised to stay off the trails after a rain until they have dried. How long to stay off? That depends on a number of factors including the particular trail, how much rain it received, how much sun it gets after the rain (is it in the shade or face south?), how warm and windy the weather is, and so on. After an isolated light rain you can probably ride the next day. After a heavy rain, you should wait several days. This is something where common sense and experience will help. Remember, tracks deeper than 1/8″ mean the trail is still too soft to use!

All is not lost when the trails are soaking! There are a few trails that hold up well when wet because they have more sand and rock that doesn’t hold the water. Here are a few you should know about:

Space Mountain (Los Robles Trail West) to the picnic table is almost always rideable, even right after a big storm. However, it can be pretty mucky from the picnic table to Potrero Road.
Rosewood Trail is pretty good, but not quite as resilient as Space Mountain.
Zuma Ridge Motorway from Encinal (the bottom in Malibu is muddy)
Dirt Mulholland around Topanga State Park.
-Brown Mountain Fireroad
-Most San Gabriel Mountains trails made up of decomposed granite
-Beaudry Fireroad
-Hostetter Fireroad
-Mt. Lukens

Horse/Bike Desensitization Pilot Program

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

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With all the equestrians and mountain bikers now sharing many of the multi use trails, we thought it was well over due to get a program going so all are able to share the trails safely and even ride together. In order to accomplish this, there must be protocal and trail etiquette set for both equestrians and mountain bikers.

On Sunday, October 11th, we decided to give the program a try with the help of a few of the local equestrians at The Davis Ranch in Chatsworth. I brought 2 other GGR girlz and myself with our mountain bikes to give this a go. We wanted to keep the 1st time very small and more of a pilot program since this was the 1st time I had put this plan into action. We started out in the riding ring which was enclosed, then took it outside of the ring.

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Our equestrians for the day were Dana on Auggie and Jan on Ozzie. We started by lining our bikes up against the fence and Dana and Jan walked their horses dismounted back and forth around the bikes and let Auggie and Ozzie smell the bikes and really get a good look at them. Then all of us cyclists got ON the bikes and they did the same thing. Now it was time for the horses to be mounted.

We started riding very slow along side the horses. Then behind the horses, towards the horses, constantly passing them on both sides. Then we picked up speed on the bikes and the horses went from a walk to a trot to a fast trot. The key here was constantly communicating with the equestrians. We asked if it was OK to pass. We said “bikers coming”, we said “passing on the left”, all these things were very loud. We also made sure we told them to have a great ride and a good day!

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This was going very well and the horses had no problems with the bikes. Now came the real test. Blind corners! We all left the riding ring for this exercise. Both Auggie and Ozzie were to trot up on a trailer in their parking lot while the cyclists hid behind the trailer and came out across the horses path without being initially seen.

Jan and Ozzie went 1st with Lynn being the cyclist. Sure enough, Ozzie did not like this and shied away quickly and suddenly. We asked Jan what she wants the cyclist to do in this instance. She wants us to just stop and stand still while she gets her horse under control. The slowly approach her horse and talk to them both. Again, the communication.

We did the same scenario again. This time Ozzie wasn’t as scared. By the 3rd time, we didn’t even think twice about it. When we had Auggie do it, no problems at all. Auggie raised his ears and was alert, and that was about it.

The cool thing about The Davis Ranch is that they have hallways/corridors that simulate a single track and double track on their farm. So off we went for some more situations to create!

We started off riding behind the horses with them trotting. We constantly talked to them. Then we practiced the blind corners. Part of the barn did not allow us to see the horses, so this was perfect practice for blind corners. When we as cyclists approached the blind corner and could not see around it, we yelled “BIKERS COMING”. The equestrians immediately stopped before they were even close to the corner because they heard us announcing ourselves. Therefor preventing a run in.

We did this both ways a few times around the corners. Every time constantly communicating when the corner came up. The equestrians were able to react in plenty of time because they heard our voices. Also, they wanted to make it VERY clear to us that it is NOT always safe to pass. If the trail is too narrow, please do NOT pass. Be patient and wait until there is a safe place to pass for both cyclists and equestrians, but let the equestrian decide. They know their animals and what is safe for them.

We initially wanted to call this the Carrot Ride program. But Dana brought up some very good points and had an awesome idea as well! Cyclists who don’t have any experience with horses, will most likely not know to keep their hands flat when feeding a horse a carrot so they don’t loose their fingers. So she thought cyclists feeding carrots to horses on the trails for this reason could open up a whole nother can of worms. We all agreed. Also, its not easy for horses to eat carrots when they have bits in their mouths. Horse cookies are much easier. So, what Dana suggest was that we carry a few horse cookies in a ziplock bag with our business card and just hand it to the rider. Oh and Jan thought it would be a nice touch if we included a mint for the horseback rider as well! I love it! Outstanding input from our horseback riders!

I will have some of these cute little horsey bags available at the CORBA booth at this Sunday’s Rocktober event.

The biggest outtake we took from this pilot program was how critical communication is. Just talk to the equestrians, smile and speak up and slow down when you hit a corner and/or you see horses coming by. Horses have the right of way…not us.

We will have a larger program at the Davis Ranch November 22nd at 8am. We will take 6 mountain bikers and 6 equestrians and their horses and run the same program. The Davis Ranch is in Chatsworth, CA. If you want to participate in this, please email me at: wendy@girlzgoneriding.com or Wendy@corbamtb.com.

I’m so thrilled that after posting our fun pictures of the morning program, we have a program in the works for January for the Altadena area as well.

If you want information on this new CORBA program for a future hosting in your area, please contact me to discuss: email me.

Please remember to smile, slow down, and use your voice and bike bells to alert others you are coming.

Wendy Engelberg
Director, GGR: Girlz Gone Riding
Proud CORBA board member

Bike Thefts On The Rise–Again

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Evidently there has been a rash of bicycle thefts that have hit several CORBA members within the last month. While it is not known if the perpetrators are part of an organized ring, LAPD officer John “Rusty” Redican thinks it sounds a lot like a gang that was operating out of South Los Angels a few years ago. Click here for the link to MTBR to view his post and see photos of the thieves that were arrested a few years back. Below is the text of his post:

Hello All, My name is John (Rusty) Redican, I’m a fellow cyclist and LAPDOfficer. This reminder is not an official LAPD news blast, but me as a fellow cyclist and community member arming you with a little information to keep you and your property safe. Due to another salient event, where a fellow cyclist had his bicycles stolen out of his garage.

I need to advise you all about a ring of high end bicycle thieves that we (LAPDWest LA Division) arrested a couple years back, who may or may not be at it again. That arrest was only made possible due to cooperation between the cycling community and the police. First off, be very cautious on what you post on social media, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Strava and similar forms of tracking and communication we all use for our shared love of cycling.

A few years back, this ring of bike thieves, based out of south Los Angeles, were responsible for millions of dollars of bicycle thefts, from San Diego County to Ventura County. They would follow cyclists home from group rides, scour FaceBook and other social media for intel on cyclists and their homes, so they could conduct surveillance on you and break into your garage or storage areas to steal your bicycles. They would do this during the day mostly when no one was home, but also at night while you slept. At times they would cause damage to the garage, but most times they were very surreptitious about it and the only evidence left, was the absence of your property. The majority of the bikes they targeted were well worth (as you all know) the chance for them to get caught by the home owner. At the time, they used a very clean and newer model silver, 4 door Audi sedan with bike racks on it. The suspects in the cases I’m referring too were all male hispanics in their mid to lat 20’s – early thirties, between 5’6” and 5’9”, 175 lbs to 220 lbs, not climbers. Again, I’m not saying this is definitely them, but the MO used in the theft of bikes from one of our fellow cyclists in Torrence, last week is very similar.

So be advised and be cautious of what you put on social media, NEVER have the starting point to your ride be your residence, and be cautious on who you share your photos and information with. Also, you don’t have to be paranoid, but be aware of your surroundings and if you notice a vehicle following you, or the same vehicle in 3 different locations, that may be a clue, and take not of the lic plate number, or any other distinguishing characteristics of the vehicle and occupant(s). Criminals are not dumb, and have evolved with the technology, so a little operational security will help you keep your property that you love, and work hard to obtain. If you see anything suspicious please be a good witness, don’t physically get involved, as you never know what these criminals are armed with, but immediately call your local police department.

Anyway, I put this info out not to alarm, but to inform, for-warned is for-armed. Please share with your cycling teams and groups, or any cycling friends who may benefit from this information.

These are the suspects from 2012. This photo is from CBS Los Angeles. They were apparently seen today in Corona at Corona High checking out the mountain bike teams bikes and asking questions… They are now driving a black newer model Honda Accord….FYI…

 

Rim of the Valley Corridor Study

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

ROTValternativeDCORBA has been involved in the Rim of the Valley Corridor since our inception. In fact, we’re so ingrained in the process that the Rim of the Valley Corridor is mentioned in our mission statement as our primary territory of concern. We were excited to see the draft study released, and have submitted comments on the plan.

The study sought to answer the following:

1. Does the area possess nationally significant natural or cultural resources?
2. Is it a suitable and unique addition to the National Park System?
3. Can it be feasibly added to the Park System?
4. Does it require direct NPS management, instead of stewardship from other groups or a public-private combination?

The answer to all of the above questions was a “yes.” The National Park Service presented four alternatives based on the study findings. The first NEPA-required “no action” alternatives serves as a baseline against which we can compare the alternatives. Alternative B allows the NPS to offer “technical assistance” to existing land managers within the study area, but falls short of allowing the NPS to make any direct capitol investments.

Alternatives C and D expand the authorized boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. What the boundary expansions really mean is that the National Park Service will be authorized to offer technical assistance to existing land managers for any project that enhances recreation, or restores habitat and connectivity. Under Alternative C or D, the NPS is also authorized to spend money on capitol projects within the expanded boundaries.

We believe that the largest operational boundary proposed under Alternative D would have the greatest long-term benefit for recreation, bio-connectivity, wildlife and the communities adjacent to the study area. It also includes the wildlife corridors linking the two areas of the Angeles National Forest separated by Highway 14, as well as between the Santa Susana Mountains and Los Padres National Forests.

The boundary expansion does not come without concern. The NPS, like most public land agencies, is currently under-funded. We would hope that any boundary expansion would come with an increase in funding sufficient to at least maintain the current level of service across the expanded NRA.

During the course of the public meetings we heard a lot of misinformation and a misunderstanding of what the boundary expansions mean. The Federal government will not be taking anyone’s property against their will. Existing land ownership rights and management authority is respected and maintained.

One thing that would change is the permitting of landfills. In our comments, we asked for the existing landfills to be excluded from the proposed NRA expansion to eliminate the need for additional permitting. We also feel that the recently completed San Gabriel Watershed and Special Resource Study which proposed a San Gabriel Unit of the NRA, must be considered and its findings also addressed by any congressional action to the effect of either.

The Rim of the Valley trail system is also important to us. It’s a proposed multi-use trail network that will encircle the San Fernando Valley, and perhaps Simi and Conejo Valleys. We feel the National Park Service will be in a good position to help facilitate its completion under Alternatives C or D.

It will probably be another year before we see a final recommendation from the study. From there it will be up to Congress to decide what to do with the recommendations.

2015-06-24 – Rim of the Valley Draft Study Comments from CORBA

Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Released

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
The NPS Preferred Alternative
The NPS Preferred Alternative

The National Park Service (NPS) today released the findings of the Rim of the Valley (ROTV) study, including a draft Environmental Impact Report and Proposed Alternatives. The study has been underway since 2010. CORBA has commented on previous phases of the study and has also encouraged our members and the mountain biking community to do so.

The NPS has developed five alternatives for the public to comment upon. Their preferred alternative expands the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) to include much of the study area, which would allow the NPS to provide technical assistance to other land managers within the NRA.  Other alternatives include a “no action” alternative, meaning that nothing will change, a Conservation Partnership alternative, and a boundary expansion plus conservation partnership alternative.  A fifth alternative, which would have only provided planning assistance for a Rim of the Valley trail, was rejected as it didn’t meet the objectives of the study.

None of the proposed alternatives would affect or include any Angeles National Forest or San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which would remain under the management of the Forest Service. All alternatives (except the “no action” alternative) include the conceptual Rim of the Valley Trail, as originally envisioned by Marge Feinberg in her 1976 Masters thesis.

CORBA will be analyzing the study’s findings and will report back. Comments must be submitted before June 30, 2015.  An executive summary can be found here. The comprehensive set of related documents and maps, and a comment submission form can be found on the NPS Park Planning web site, while a more user-friendly overview of the process can be found at http://www.nps.gov/pwro/rimofthevalley/index.htm

The NPS is hosting six public meetings between April 21, 2015 and June 2, 2015 to discuss the findings and alternatives presented in the draft study report. We invite and encourage all CORBA members and supporters to attend one of the public meetings. For those unable to attend, we’ll post a full report after the first meeting.

Online/Virtual Public Meeting:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 12:30 p.m.(PDT)/ 3:30 p.m.(EDT) (WebEx Connect Time)

Please check-in early as there could be some software downloads that you may need to install to participate. The meeting presentation will start promptly at 1:00 pm PDT/4:00 pm EDT.

Click here for instructions on how to participate in the online meeting.

Local Public Meetings Schedule:

Monday, May 4, 2015, 7–9 pm
La Crescenta Public Library, Community Room
2809 Foothill Blvd.
La Crescenta, CA 91214

Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 7–9 pm
William S. Hart Regional Park, Hart Hall
24151 Newhall Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321

Wednesday, May 6,2015, 7–9 pm
Conejo Recreation and Parks District
Community Room
403 West Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Thursday, May 21, 2015, 7–9 pm
Mason Recreation Center
10500 Mason Ave.
Chatsworth, CA 91311

Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 3-5 pm*
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
Hellman-Quon Building
130 Paseo de la Plaza
Los Angeles CA 90012

LA County: Santa Susana Mountains Trails Master Plan Update

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan Meeting

Kathline King introduces the SSMTMP

At last weeks second public meeting on the Santa Susana Mountains Trails Master Plan, the County presented a comprehensive map showing their planned trails, the existing trails, and the relevant delineations of private, public and utility lands. While public comments were made, they weren’t being recorded.

CORBA would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to L.A. County Parks and Recreation Planning Division staff for moving this trail plan forward, and to Supervisor Antonovich for his support of the process. CORBA whole-heartedly supports project, the process, and the deliverables (maps) presented at the meeting last week.

In looking at the final draft map, we were pleased to see that the agency had listened to the prior comments asking to expand the study area so that true connectivity between disparate open spaces and existing trails could be explored more thoroughly and with a more regional view.

From our cursory review of the maps presented at the meeting, we can say that the work that has gone into this planning effort has been very much worthwhile. We feel the document is a great step towards achieving the stated goals of identifying missing links, providing connectivity between existing trails, open spaces and jurisdictions, and recognizing the value of some of the existing non-system trails. We feel the eventual implementation of the plan will increase both the quality, quantity, and variety of recreational experiences the community so badly needs.

We are also sensitive to the concerns of private property owners who expressed feelings that they hadn’t been heard. However, we also feel that many of their concerns arose from an incomplete understanding of the goals of this planning process. In some cases, it seemed their negative experiences with other neighboring public land managers have elevated their concerns about dealing with the County. We hope that as the plan is implemented and negotiations take place with private land owners (and the neighboring public land managers), their fears can be allayed and mutually beneficial compromises reached for the benefit of the entire trail user community and the public-at-large.

The County’s policy favoring shared-use trails including bicycles is very important to us as a trail advocacy group comprised of bicyclists. We know that there are several places where proposed County trails will connect to trails in City of Los Angeles parks such as O’Melveny and Limekiln Canyon. On these City trails bicycles are presently prohibited. It is our hope that the County and City can come to a compromise that would allow bicycles to connect legally to the proposed County trails/trailheads that are only accessible through City property and trails.

Since this Trail Master Plan will be incorporated into the County General Plan, we feel it would also be worth coordinating proposed trailheads with the 2012 L.A. County Bicycle Master Plan. Having trailheads accessible by bicycle-friendly infrastructure such as Class II Bike lanes is good for encouragement, makes them more accessible to non-drivers, and helps reduce vehicular traffic to trailheads.

CORBA is at present in full support of the plan. It will be presented to the County Rec and Parks Commission later in the year, and subsequently to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for adoption.

Update March 16, 2014: The plan will be presented to the Planning Commission on March 26, 2014. Meeting starts at 9 am at the Hall of Records Room 150, 320 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, California 90012. The Parks and Recreation element is agenda item #6.i.

The Trail Master Plan map and powerpoint presentation are available on the County’s web site.

Update, March 26, 2014: The LA County Regional Planning Commission held their hearing on the draft plan today. Steve Messer, Jim Hasenauer, Ken Raleigh and Tony Arnold all testified in support of the plan. One private landowner, and five equestrian representatives also testified in support of the plan, all of them mentioning multi-use trails. Nobody spoke against the plan. Other elements of the County General Plan were also presented to the Commission, who held the matter over until their next meeting in April. We are confident the Planning Commission will approve the plan, which will then go before the Board Of Supervisors later in the year.

LA County’s Draft Santa Susana Mountains Trail Plan

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

2014-03-06-Santa-Susanna-meeting

In 2012, CORBA attended public meetings to give input on L.A. County’s Santa Susana Mountains trails master plan. The County has taken the input we and many others gave, and will present their draft Trail Master Plan at a public meeting on March 6 in Granada Hills. They will also seek additional feedback from the trail user community.

The area under consideration for this trails master plan included the unincorporated open space north of Chatsworth, up to the crest of the Santa Susana Mountains. In our comments, and many others submitted by the public, we urged that the project area be expanded north to the LA County border, and east to incorporate the entire northern range of the San Fernando Valley.

The County will present the draft trail master plan at:

Thursday, March 6, 2014, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 
Knollwood Country Club,
Granada Room
12024 Balboa Blvd, 
Granada Hills, CA 91344
Parking is free. 

 

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