We have learned that in a couple of weeks, California Conservation Corps Crews under the direction of California State Parks will start brushing the East Topanga Fire Road in Topanga State Park as the first phase of road maintenance this fiscal year. The second phase of project will be re-grading the road to “out slope” the road for more natural drainage of the road. The notice below will be posted on the East Topanga Fire Road to inform the public of the maintenance project. This project is part of large scale project to “out slope” all State Park Fire Roads in the Santa Monica Mountains to reduce sedimentation in the Santa Monica Bay. If you have any questions, please contact Dale Skinner at 310/699-1717.
Archive for the ‘Rides and Events’ Category
Earlier this year, CORBA used a generous grant from REI to help fund the restoration of the Gabrielino trail to Oakwilde Campground and the Ken Burton trail junction. Pooling resources with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, CORBA helped fund a private contractor, Bellfree Contractors, to oversee volunteers and Conservation Corps crews, taking the lead on the project. The trailwork needed was so extensive it required the review and approval of Forest Service staff engineers. Much of the trail was completely gone, having been swept away in a massive landslide, or gouged into a ten-foot-deep, twelve-foot wide gully where once you could step over a trickle of water as it crossed the trail. That work was begun last spring, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps continue to work on the Gabrielino in the area. The Trail remains closed to the public beyond Paul Little campground/Brown Mountain Dam while restoration efforts continue.
Meanwhile, we were given permission to begin work on the Ken Burton trail earlier in summer. Work began in October with the trail being inspected, and in many cases searched for using older GPS tracks, by CORBA volunteers. On Saturday, November 7th six volunteers came out to begin work on the trail. Just getting to the work site requires a 2000′ climb over 7 miles, with several steep, loose sections that are difficult without carrying tools. In one day’s work, we were able to clear brush from about a quarter mile of trail, and restore tread on just over half of that. The tread, once cleared of brush, is generally filled with loose slough that’s easy to clear, but is otherwise intact. A few retaining wall structures near the top have failed and will require digging out the old materials–iron posts, steel mesh, wire and screen–and replacing them.
On Sunday, November 8, we worked with the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association’s and had a crew of about 18 come out to begin work. Several volunteers stepped up to haul bob trailers full of tools, no easy feat with over 2000′ of climbing. With hedge clippers doing the initial clearing, followed by a rake or Mcleod to clear the cut brush, followed by a loppers and pick-mattocks to pull roots, and finished off with a nice outsloping by Mcleod, we had it down to a system. The brush on day two was much thicker than the day before, but we were able to clear about another quarter mile of trail, and with the extra hands, do another quarter mile of basic treadwork.
After both days of trailwork the crews enjoyed a great meal and some local hospitality. Many thanks to everyone who came out for the work. This trail is special to many people, having been built by mountain bikers, the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, in the early 90’s. Special kudos to Brad, Burt, Mike, Robin, and Steve who came out both days!
We’ll be back out on the trail this Sunday, November 22, again with Mount Wilson Bicycling Association. And if there’s enough interest (and the weather/fire danger cooperates), another crew could head up on Saturday instead (or in addition!). At the moment, we’re approaching capacity on Mount Wilson Bicycling Association’s Facebook Event. For that reason this weekend’s trailwork isn’t being added to CORBA’s meetup calendar. However, a tentative third weekend on Sunday, December 13 is in the works. Stay tuned for details. The Forest Service requires our volunteers to wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves and hard hats which we supply (and with the thick brush, all that gear is a good idea). These can be carried up in backpacks for the ride up and changed into before we start work.
Ken Burton trail is closed to the public. Although we’ve started on it, it’s still dead-end with miles of hike-a-bike through heavy unrideable brush and poison oak once you get beyond our short restored section. People have gotten lost trying to find the trail. We’ll continue working on Ken Burton through the winter and coming Spring, with the goal of having it, and the Gabrielino back to Paul Little and JPL, ready to open by the end of Spring 2016. The more involved you stay, the more likely the Forest Service will open the Brown/Burton/Gab loop, an old favorite of many long-time mountain bikers.
This year’s Girlz Gone Riding Rocktober festival & CORBA Membership Drive was by far the largest to date! With 37 exhibitors and over 300 in attendance, our expectations were far exceeded!
The event started out on Saturday with our pre-ride for our ride volunteers. We had 34 ride volunteers pre-riding all routes for the guided rides. We ran into the mounted patrol all day too! Great way to start the weekend of epicness!
Saturday evening was our traditional goodie bag stuffing party and raffle tagging. This year Cycle World Chatsworth hosted and in a few hours many volunteers got 250 goodie bags stuffed and over $20K of raffle items tagged! And of course we had pizza, cake and vino!
The morning of the Rocktober festival, the ranger at MCSP was kind enough to have the gate open at 6am this year!! This allowed our demo trucks to get there in plenty of time to set up and get the bikes ready to go for our lady shredders.
It was still dark in the morning AND it was raining a wee bit…so I was just a bit concerned that the rain would stick. The trails were mostly clay, so they don’t hold any rain well at all. Lucky for us, it cleared up for a beautiful day!
Since I had announced the gates were going to be open early, everyone seemed to take advantage of it and get there super early. Registration didn’t open until 8am, but at 6:30amish, we already had a ton of riders and the parking lot was half full. Lots of anxious ladies eager to start the festival!
Once everyone was signed in, got their goodie bags and demo bikes, it was time for the morning commencement. This is always the toughest part to prepare for since once a year I get this enormous audience and there are so many people to thank as well as announcements to make. Next year I promise it will be much shorter!
I introduced each chapter and the chapter leaders. I talked about the two C’S which I live by. Community and Club. All supporters and exhibitors at the event received a verbal mention and we went on to intro our 4 amazing volunteer coaches this year. Returning head coach Leigh Donovan, returning GGR coach Christine Hirst, new GGR coaches Kris Gross and Erica Phillips.
This year’s community award went to G2 Bikes and Girls Ride 2! This award is given to the shop that shows the most community involvement in women’s cycling, has a great women’s section and has shop rides. G2 and Girls Ride 2 earned this award hands down. I affectionately call them our “sister club” because we are all on the same page when it comes to community. There ride leaders spend the entire weekend with us volunteering too!
After the huge group photo, riders split up into their guided ride groups and skills clinics. We had guided rides for all levels and beginner skills clinics running all morning. Rides were all through the park including the famous MASH site, Grasslands and Little Bulldog. Many of these rides went through the super fun creek bed where we had photographers stationed to capture the excitement!
When riders came back after their guided rides, they enjoyed an afternoon of tons of exhibitors, more demo bikes, lunch, catching up and just enjoying the day. We ended the day with over $20K of raffle prizes including grand prizes from REI, Specialized, Sacred Rides and San Juan Huts. We thank all the bike companies that came out to Rocktober. We had over 100 demo bikes for ladies to demo! Huge shouts out and thank you’s to: Liv, Bulls Bikes USA, Specialized, Trek, Turner and Rocky Mountain. We also want to thank Clif who for the 2nd year sponsored the Clif Fuel station and provided the Rocktober event with all of our hydration and nutrition as well as plenty of goodies for the goodie bags!
The Rocktober festival is so much bigger than GGR. It’s truly a celebration of women’s mountain biking and bringing our community together.
For all pictures, please go to:
GGR Girl WE
For our occasional RAM ride, a few dozen CORBA supporters gathered at the trailhead to Pt Mugu State Park in Newbury Park on Sunday morning and organized into three groups for separate beginner, intermediate and advanced rides. Off we went into Sycamore Canyon shortly after 9:00 am for a few hours of riding before heading down to Michael’s Bicycles in Newbury Park for pancakes, coffee, juice, fruit and muffins. There was also a donation jar for CORBA to pay for the meal and to help with other CORBA programs. Many people contributed bills to this jar, and for that CORBA offers a hearty thanks! Michael sweetened the event by offering special deals to us on merchandise in his shop.
We have posted photos of the intermediate ride and from Michael’s. You can see photos of earlier RAM rides and fundraising events on our photo gallery.
On Hallowe’en day, 16 CORBA volunteers along with a half dozen from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council hiked up the Backbone Trail from Mulholland Hwy towards Etz Meloy for the third time in a year to cut back the overgrowing brush and improve the drainage.
I had hoped that we would have enough people to complete the brushing along its entire length, and the word is we succeeded – almost! There is still one very small gap that hasn’t had the brush cleared, but that section of the trail isn’t badly overgrown.
The CORBA crew focused on cutting back the brush, but the SMMTC crew also worked on the tread – cleaning and fixing the drains and spreading the slough across the trail to level it out. (Slough is the dirt that falls onto the inside edge of the trail from the hillside directly above, resulting in a narrowed trail because people don’t ride or hike on the uneven and loose slough.)
The CORBA volunteers included five students from Calabasas area high schools mountain biking teams, and two of their parents. The teams like their members to give back to the trail community. These kids did a great job helping to restore the trail, as did all the volunteers. Thanks for your help; everybody who uses the trail will appreciate your work when they don’t get scratched up from the brush that used to grow into it!
You can view photos of the work at our trailwork day photo gallery.
We have been waiting for some time to begin work on the Ken Burton trail. This much-loved trail was built by the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association in the early 90s, creating a loopable route with Brown Mountain and the Gabrielino Trail. CORBA used a generous grant of $10,000 from REI to help fund the restoration of the Gabrielino Trail from Paul Little to Oakwilde Campground. We coordinated with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps who continue to work on the segment north of Oakwilde this fall.
CORBA and MWBA have been given permission to work on Ken Burton, and to connect it to the restored section of the Gabrielino. Once completed, we’ll be asking the Forest Service to open the Brown, Ken Burton, Gabrilieno loop route to the public.
We have scheduled a work weekend on the 7th/8th of November. Logistics require us to haul in tools and equipment by Bob Trailer. Most of the two days of work will entail cutting back brush. Surprisingly, much of the tread is in good condition, and most of the switchbacks appear to be generally intact. This says a lot about the quality of construction by the MWBA’s pioneers and their dedication to quality trail building. Only a few wire baskets have failed out of the many that were used.
Please RSVP for the trailwork on our meetup group at http://meetup.com/corbamtb or on the MWBA Facebook page.
When: Meet Saturday, November 7, 2015, 7:30.a.m. Windsor and Ventura parking lot. Ride up to
the top of upper Brown Mountain fire road starting at 8, and meet there at 9:15. We’ll work until about 1 p.m before riding back down.
Sunday, November 8, 2015, meet at 7:45 a.m. at Windsor and Ventura Parking lot. Ride up at 8 a.m..
You may come out for either or both days.
What to bring:
Eye protection (cycling style sunglasses are fine), work gloves (if you have them), sunscreen, water and trail food, sturdy shoes. You are required to wear long pants and long sleeves, though these can be packed for the ride up and changed into at the top. We’ll be supplying forest-service required hard-hats, gloves and tools. A GMRS radio could also be helpful.
What to expect:
Experienced trail crew members will be using power tools (hedge trimmers, etc) to clear brush; others will clear the cuttings from the trail and do minor tread work. You’ll need to sign a waiver for CORBA, and a Job Hazard Analysis for the Forest Service. If under 18, be accompanied by a parent or guardian, at least to sign the waiver before we start, and assign a guardian who will be with us. People should be familiar with the ride up and the location. Those hauling trailers are welcome to take off early, and they can be briefed on safety at the top.
The ride in will be about 7 miles with 2000′ of elevation gain on a mix of fire road, double track and singletrack. Expect to ride all the way up, though there’s a few possible hike-a-bikes. We expect everyone to be at the upper Ken Burton trailhead by 9:15 and ready to hike down the trail and begin work.
We’ll be clearing brush, removing vegetation growing on the tread or leaning over the trail corridor, approximately 4 – 5 feet either side of the center of the tread. There will be some tread repair in a few places where the trail bench cut has been filled with slough, and some light tread grooming over other areas. We’ll break at about 11, take an assessment of how everyone feels and see who wants to continue. We hope to finish work about 1, and be heading back to our bikes for the descent back to the bottom.
Afterwards, those who wish may join us for lunch at a location to be announced.
Those hauling bob trailers should understand what an extra 50 pounds feels like on a ride like this, and have something left over to do trailwork. If you’re interested in hauling a trailer (a smaller chainring is helpful) post in the comments or contact Steve [at] corbamtb.com.
Severe weather cancels the event, including heavy rain, high fire danger and/or high wind, or other circumstances. Check CORBA’s pages on either Meetup or Facebook before you head out just to make sure that we’re still on. November 15 will be a backup day in case of weather cancellation.
We hope to see you there showing how much you love and miss our trails and that mountain bikers are one of the most active stewards of the trails.
The 2015 Rec Fest was held at Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains on October 24, 2015. The 2014 event was such a success we were delighted to hear that the event would be repeated again this year, thanks to grants and donations from the SAMOfund, Coke and others.
The Rec Fest is all about opening the doors to the many forms of recreation available in our local mountains to people who may not know what’s possible. Visitors to the event were able to try their hand at casting a fishing line, riding a covered wagon, pitching a tent, riding a horse, rock climbing, or doing a nature hike. The local audobon society chapter was there to tell kids – and show them – some of the abundant birdlife found in our mountains. An astronomy club was there to show them what there is to be discovered in our skies (they pointed at the moon, visible during the day). At noon was a one-mile fun run on the trails, where each participant received a medal for finishing. There were plenty of interpretive stations along a nature hike, and craft and hobby activies.
And of course, thanks to the tireless efforts of Mountain Bike Unit volunteers
Lance, Larry, Dan, Joyce, Dave and Regina, and Walk & Rollers’ Jim Shanman, more than 160 kids, and some of their anxious parents, were able to try mountain biking through CORBA’s Youth Adventures program.
CORBA’s Youth Adventures program takes out at-risk youth from areas all over Los Angeles County for a half-day mountain bike ride in Malibu Creek State Park, Paramount Ranch, and other locations. About twice a month, ten to fifteen students, some of whom have never visited a State Park or any form of mountains, are taken out for an interpretive mountain bike ride. The program is run on behalf of CORBA by the Mountain Bike Unit. They’re the great volunteers we see patrolling the Santa Monica Mountains in their signature yellow jerseys. CORBA is truly grateful to have the Youth Adventures programs administered by MBU volunteers, and today’s event was no exception.
Walk & Rollers also brought tot’s balance bikes and smaller bikes with training wheels for the younger set. Throughout the day we had parents putting their kids on tot bikes. It’s always a blessing to see the kids’ eyes light up when they roll down the wooden ramp we had set up, and remind us of why we all ride bikes.
One of the truly great aspects of the event are the attendees. Families are bused in to the event from park-poor communities such as East Los Angeles, South Central Los Angeles and other underprivileged areas. It’s sad to see how many of these kids had never been to a park, never ridden a bicycle, or have never really discovered the outdoors. But at the same time that sadness is reversed as this new world of opportunity is opened up to them. They come back from the mountain bike ride breathing hard, but with an ear-to-ear grin.
With a fleet of about 35 bikes in operation, plus ten or so smaller bikes from Walk & Rollers, we still ran out of bikes (and guides) three or four times during the day’s festivities. That puts our estimate over 160 people who rode a mountain bike, most for the first time.
CORBA’s Youth Adventures is a great place to retire your old bikes. We’re gratefully accept tax-deductible donations of complete bikes or bike parts. Youth Adventures depends on volunteers and donations to continue giving underprivileged kids a chance to experience the joys of riding a bike in the great outdoors. If you’d like to make a donation please contact us.
Thanks to the National Park Service for having the foresight to organize this special event, and to the many docents, volunteers and staff who help make it happen. By all measures, the event was a great success and we look forward to it becoming an annual event.
This Saturday, October 24, CORBA will be at the Santa Monica Mountains Rec Fest, in partnership with the National Park Service. The CORBA Youth Adventures program with the MBU will be there giving kids an opportunity to ride the trails of Paramount Ranch. If you’re headed that way, stop by and say Hi! There’s lots of ways to learn about recreational opportunities in the National Recreation Area and in the outdoors in general, and it’s geared to kids and families who don’t usually get these opportunities. It’s a great program and CORBA is happy to help get more kids into the outdoors!
Learn more at http://www.nps.gov/samo/recfest2015.htm