Archive for the ‘Rides and Events’ Category

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.

May 2017 eTerraTimes Newsletter Published May 5th

Friday, May 5th, 2017

The May 2017 edition of CORBA’s bimonthly newsletter, the eTerraTimes, was published today, March 3rd. If you don’t get it by email, you can view it online.

As always, the eTerraTimes has all the latest news for mountain bikers in the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounding areas.

Vetter Mountain Trail to Open May 5, 2017

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

After more than two years of dedicated volunteer work by CORBA and MWBA volunteer sawyers, we’re happy to announce that the Vetter Mountain Trail, near Charlton Flat in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, will be open to the public this weekend.

Our volunteer sawyer crew has been cutting downed trees off the trail, clearing brush, and working to reopen the heavily-damaged trail. It is in one of the most badly burned areas of the 2009 Station Fire, and thousands of trees killed in the fire have been falling since then.

Vetter Mountain Trail, May 2010

We surveyed the trail for the Forest Service in 2010, the year after the Station Fire. The area had barely begun recovering and would need several more years before work could begin. Vegetation had to grow back, hillsides stabilize, and standing dead trees would fall to the ground. Intense poodle dog settled in not long after, increasing the hazards.

October 2015 we began volunteer work, needing to first clear the trail corridor as best we could, and in many cases, locate the trail. CORBA and MWBA Chainsaw crews began the heavy work. Sawyers have cut well over 100 trees that fell across the trail, and dozens more on the roads to access the trail, in ten days of chainsaw work over the last year. We cut back brush that was choking off the trail, and reopened the corridor. Three times over the past year we cleared the entire trail of downed trees, only to return months later to start again.

Volunteer Sawyers begin work on Vetter in 2015

Earlier this year, hot shots fire crews were able to fell most of the largest standing hazard trees, reducing hazards along the trail corridor. The rate of trees falling is slowing down, especially since the big windstorms of this past winter. Numerous dead trees are still standing, and will continue to pose a hazard for some time, much like many other trails in the recovering areas. Be especially aware if you’re on the trails in a burn zone during high winds or bad weather, as dead trees are especially prone to falling in these conditions.

Volunteers on National Trails Day

Last Saturday, at our urging, the Forest Service scheduled the annual National Trails Day volunteer project on the Vetter Mountain trail. Volunteer Crews from Coca Cola, MWBA, CORBA, JPL Trail Builders, Angeles National Forest Fire Lookout Association, National Forest Foundation and many other groups and individuals proceeded to re-establish tread and cut back brush. Sawyer crews chainsawed a dozen or more trees from the trail. Sunday, CORBA volunteer sawyers returned to continue cutting the remaining downed trees from the trail.

Today, Thursday May 4, the CORBA team will return to put some final touches on the trail, remove the last remaining obstructions, and officially remove the “trail closed” signs in preparation for the trail’s opening this weekend.

The Vetter Mountain trail has been closed for 8 years. It is part of the classic and much-loved Chilao Figure 8, a popular mountain bike loop that includes the Charlton Connector Trail, Vetter Mountain Trail, Mount Hillyer Trail, connecting fire roads, and the Silver Mocassin trail. It has been missed, and will be enjoyed once again!

Once lush with majestic conifers, and known for a series of switchbacks, followed by a flowy descent along a drainage, the trail looks much less apocalyptic than it did on our first survey in 2010. The area is recovering, but it is still within the burn zone, and will look very different from it’s pre-fire state. We’re just happy to have it back!

The Vetter Mountain trail has been closed for 8 years. It was part of the classic and much-loved Chilao Figure 8, a route that includes the Charlton Connector Trail, Vetter Mountain Trail, Mount Hillyer Trail, connecting fire roads, and the Silver Mocassin trail. It has been missed, and will be enjoyed once again!

California Trails and Greenways Conference – Ken Burton Trail Restoration Project Wins Award

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

The 2017 California Trails and Greenways Conference (CT&G) was an extra special conference for CORBA. CORBA has been involved with the conference for more than 25 years. The CT&G Conference brings together trail advocates, nonprofits, and land managers. California State Park employees are able to earn continuing education credits, and district trail coordinators from around the state meet here annually.

Steve Messer and Matt Baffert accept the Merit Award for Development

CORBA was nominated and received the Merit Award for Development for the Ken Burton Trail Restoration Project, which saw 100 volunteers put in over 1600 hours into the restoration of the trail last year. Accepting the award for CORBA were Steve Messer, who led the project, and Matt Baffert of the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association who contributed significantly to the project, and who were also the original builders of the trail in the early nineties.

 

Kurt Loheit, one of CORBA’s founders who led IMBA’s early involvement in trail design and construction, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for more than 25 years of volunteerism and trail advocacy.  Kurt was instrumental in developing the trail design principles that have put IMBA at the forefront of sustainable trail design.

Also receiving a lifetime achievement award was Ron Webster, a Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and Sierra Club trailbuilder who constructed over 35 miles of the Backbone Trail. The National Park Service received an award in the Acquisition category, for the acquisition of the last private property segments of the backbone trail just in time for the trail to be completed and designated a National Recreation Trail last year.

Steve Messer, CORBA’s President and trail crew leader, gave a presentation on the Teen Trail Corps with Austin McInerney, Executive Director of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, and Laurel Harkness, IMBA’s California-Hawaii Regional Director. The presentation was streamed live on Facebook, and is archived there. The Teen Trail Corps is a joint project between IMBA and NICA, supported by REI, which encourages youth engagement in IMBA’s four tenets of mountain biking: Ride, Respect, Build, and Speak. It is based upon much of the work of CORBA with local high school teams.

Many California IMBA Chapters were represented at the Conference, which gave us a great opportunity to meet and discuss statewide matters of importance to the Mountain Biking community. The Chapters were also able to meet with Dave Wiens, IMBA’s new Executive Director, and discuss IMBA’s future, the Chapter program’s future, and the apparent disconnect between issues of importance to California mountain bikers and those of IMBA. Chapter leaders came away from the meeting encouraged and appreciative of Dave’s willingness to work with the Chapters.

Electric Mountain Bikes were a hot topic of discussion, with E-MTB manufacturers offering test rides during the conference and at Sea Otter. Currently State Parks allow Class I e-mtbs on any trails where bicycles are allowed. However, that policy is under review and may change. Federal land managers all consider e-MTBs as motorized, and restrict them to OHV approved routes also used by motorcycles, 4x4s and side-by-sides or quads. Local land managers policies vary across the state.

It was not coincidence that the conference was timed to allow conference attendees to then attend Sea Otter, which began the day after the conference. It made for a great week of advocacy, bike riding, and trail talk.

Report on the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days, April 28-30, 2017

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

On Thursday, in preparation for the annual Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days held every year in Pt Mugu State Park, I drove my now very dusty car down the main Sycamore Canyon trail and parked at the bottom of the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, a segment of the Backbone Trail. I hiked up the trail and flagged 59 spots where drains were needed – mostly to clean out existing drains that had become clogged with silt from the winter rains, but also some new drains about 2/3 of the way up the trail.

Saturday, CORBA volunteers and few others install drains and repair ruts on the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, a segment of the backbone trail.

Saturday morning, the State and National park services drove 17 of us, including 2 youngsters, and our work tools to the bottom of the trail. After grabbing our tools, we hiked 1.5 miles up to the work area, about 2/3 of the way to the top, and proceeded to work down. Altogether, we put installed or cleaned 26 drains.

The area of greatest concern was at the start of our work area where the trail passes through a grassy area and is solid clay. Most of the rest of the trail is very rocky. This clay section is pliable, quickly becomes depressed in the middle where a rut erodes when it rains. This section of the trail was completely restored during trailwork in February 2015, yet it was as rutted as ever after just two years. A narrow but deep rut had developed in the middle of the trail, just wide enough for a mountain bike tire to slip in and get jammed.

We learned that leveling the trail doesn’t last here, so instead we cut a drain in about every 50 feet. That involved cutting through the berm (the dirt that builds up on the outside edge of the trail and keeps the water from running off), the first few inches was as hard as concrete, despite having been rain-soaked a few weeks earlier. The drains were 3 to 5 feet wide. We used the dirt we dug out of the drains to fill in the rut on the trail. Now we have a section with frequent drains to keep the water from running all the way down the trail, and the rut is filled with dirt. Hopefully this restoration will last longer than two years!

Overall, we dug out 26 drains over 2100′ of trail and filled in about 500′ of rut! Well done, everyone!

Saturday restoration on the Upper Sycamore Trail.

While the CORBA crew was working on the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, the other volunteers (about 60 of them) worked to restore the Upper Sycamore Trail where Sycamore Creek crosses it a number of times. By all accounts, this trail was decimated by the stream. This is a very shaded trail in a deep canyon and popular with hikers, but it’s in the Wilderness Area and so closed to mountain biking.

Everyone was back to the staging area by about 2:30 so we spent the afternoon relaxing and chatting with friends until the barbecue dinner. As usual, we had chicken, hot dogs, veggie burgers, baked beans (regular and veggie), salad and garlic toast. It was up to us to bring our own beverages. As dinner was winding down, the prize give-away started. There were so many prizes that everyone must have gotten one.

Saturday barbecue dinner.

The work continued on Sunday morning with a much smaller force of about 30 total. We all shuttled up to Upper Sycamore Trail, then split into two crews. One hiked up to the top of the trail to work on tread issues while the other worked on clearing overgrowing brush from the bottom. Sunday is always a smaller and shorter event; we were back to the staging area by noon to enjoy left-overs from Saturday’s barbecue.

CORBA would like to thank all the volunteers who came out to help fix up our trails in Pt Mugu State Park. Everyone did a great job! And a special thanks goes to the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council that organizes this event every year.

You can see all the photos from this weekend in CORBA’s photo gallery, or photos from Steve Messer and Xander Tenai . Take a look to see what we accomplished.

 

Report on Earth Day trail building in Malibu Creek State Park April 22, 2017

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

A few dozen volunteers gathered at Malibu Creek State Park on Saturday Morning, Earth Day, to help spruce it up. There were three main projects: to pick litter out of the creek, to paint over graffiti, and to build an extension to the Grasslands Trail. CORBA and other mountain bikers worked on the new trail.

A number of years ago, a steep fall-line trail that connected the Grasslands Trail to High Road was closed because it was not sustainable. At the time, it was planned that a new, contour trail would replace it. After many delays caused by, among other things, fires and floods in other parks, the first phase of the new trail was completed this past Saturday!

This trail is going to have a great view!

The trail had been roughed in by a SWECO trail bulldozer in the past couple of weeks, so the job of the volunteers was to put on the finishing touches – removing rocks, smoothing out bumps, ensuring an even outslope so next winter’s rainwater will run off the edge rather than down the middle, and completing the uphill edge.

There were enough volunteers that we got the work completed well before the expected time of noon, meaning that we had a bit of a wait until the Subway sandwiches were delivered for lunch. That gave us more time to sit and chat.

The second phase will be to build a 16′ bridge across an intermittent stream. Once that’s done, the remainder of the trail can be built to finish the connection to the High Road trail that leads to Crags Road, Century Lake and the MASH site.

Thanks to all the volunteers who dedicated their Saturday morning to help with one of their local parks!

You can see some of the activities in our photo gallery of the Grasslands Trail extension.

SCV Trail Users Affiliate with CORBA

Friday, April 14th, 2017

SCV Trail Users volunteer at Placerita Canyon, 2016

Santa Clarita, California – April 14, 2017 – The Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users Committee (SCVTU) is pleased to announce their restructuring to become a standing committee of the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA), an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

In recent years, SCVTU has worked closely with CORBA on trail advocacy and planning in the Santa Clarita Valley and northern Los Angeles area. A committee charter was adopted by SCVTU, and approved by the CORBA Board at the March monthly meeting.

“This is a logical next step to strengthen the relationship between SCVTU and CORBA to increase our effectiveness as a bicycle advocacy organization,” said Steve Messer, CORBA President. “Together we’ll be better prepared to improve mountain biking opportunities in and around the Santa Clarita Valley.”

Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users has developed strong relationships with local land managers over the past several years including City, County, State, and Federal officials. SCVTU recently led a volunteer effort in the Placerita Nature Center to build check dams after the Sand Fire to protect the sensitive canyon from further environmental damage. SCVTU was also instrumental in working with the Los Angeles County to reopen the Canyon Trail to bicycles.

“CORBA has been a valuable resource to SCV Trail Users for many years. Santa Clarita is uniquely surrounded by open space affording local residents a unique opportunity for outdoor recreation on a beautiful trail network.  Our vision is to work with local land managers to improve connectivity between trail areas and to increase and improve multi-use trail opportunities for public use in the Santa Clarita area,” said Ken Raleigh, SCVTU Chairman.

The timing couldn’t be better. With a new trail master planning process for the Santa Susana Mountains about to begin, and approved City and County trail master plans that include bike parks and new trails, there is a lot happening in the Santa Clarita Valley. There are also some challenges including the Sand Fire recovery efforts now underway. The SCVTU committee is hitting the ground running.

Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users Facebook page has over 400 members. The Committee is comprised of 10 members with founding member, Ken Raleigh, serving as Chair.

April Skills Clinic photos posted April 1

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

There was a baker’s dozen at this month’s Skills Clinic, an appropriate number for April Fools 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 April photo gallery.

May 4th Mtn Bikers Meeting for the Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan – Phase II

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Los Angeles County has begun planning outreach for the Santa Susana Mountains. In 2012, CORBA gave significant input to the Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan (phase I). In 2015 CORBA then spoke in support of the plan before the County Board of Supervisors.

Now they’re about to start on Phase II, which includes the northeastern portions of the Santa Susana Mountains including Stevenson Ranch (Phase II.A), as well as a portion of the west San Fernando Valley foothills (Phase II.B).

We’re encouraged that Supervisor Kathryn Barger is continuing the fifth district’s support for trail planning and outdoor recreation.

An overview public meeting is scheduled for April 18. A meeting for the mountain bike community will be held on May 4th. Unfortunately, that conflicts with the first event of the Race Pedalfest series. However, mountain bikers are welcome to attend the other user group meetings, but the focus may not be on mountain biking needs. Anyone can provide comments at any time through the project website; site-specific comments can be captured through the wikimap tool (to be launched soon on the project website), or trail users can email the project lead, Zachary Likins, directly.

A full meeting schedule and more details are available on the project web site at http://www.santasusanatrailsplan.org/

 

 

We fixed a lot of ruts during the Conejo Spring Trailwork Day on March 18th!

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

We weren’t able to fix this huge rut because we didn’t have enough volunteers. The COSCA rangers will figure out how to fix it when they have some time.

From the beginning, the plan had been to build a reroute of the ridgeline Peninsula Trail in the Western Plateau. The new route would have a better view, be more rolling, and be easier to maintain. However, the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) rangers changed that plan a couple of weeks ago because many of the trails had developed severe ruts from all the rain we’ve had. And did we fill in a lot of ruts! Also we built some new drains to help prevent future ruts from forming.

Sixty-Five volunteers signed in on Saturday morning to help, almost half of them from various Meetup groups, including CORBA’s. We had planned to split into 5 crews, each of which was to tackle a different section of the trail, mostly on the Hawk Canyon Trail. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough volunteers so we only had four crews, and one severly rutted area when unrepaired.

Crew 5 widens the trail on the Baxter Singletrack.

My crew tackled the new Baxter Singletrack Trail that was built last October during the Conejo Annual Trailwork Day. We filled in lots of ruts, built at least four new drains and cleaned out a couple of old ones. Despite all the drenching we’ve had, overgrown brush wasn’t a significant problem.

You can see the gallery from today’s work at this thumbnail gallery.

We headed back up the trail to get back to the registration area by noon to take part in the thank-you barbecue. The COSCA ranger always cook up the best post-trailwork grub!

Thanks to all the CORBA volunteers and other who came out to help! Everyone did a great job and as a result the trails are in much better shape.