Archive for the ‘MBU’ Category

Danusia Memorial Ride

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
Danusia Memorial Ride

Danusia Memorial Ride


Last weekend, on the May 31st one-year anniversary of Danusia Bennett-Tabor’s passing, an informal memorial service/ride was held at Malibu Creek State Park. It was a solemn but cheerful event, organized by Wendy Engelberg and the Girlz Gone Riding volunteers, a group that started with Kim Cofield, Wendy and Danusia. Wendy also wrote a wonderful report about the memorial ride with photos by Jesse Ettinger and others. Read it on the GGR blog.

There were many cheerful moments, interspersed with a few tears, as friends told stories about their wonderful experiences with Danusia. Steve Messer made sure everyone appreciated how much she did for CORBA, and how her work continues to guide us.

Recently, CBS did a special report on the cancer and procedures that ultimately took Danusia’s life. Her husband Don told her story in the CBS report on Leiomyosarcoma. Almost $1000 in donations were accepted on behalf of the Sarcoma Alliance, followed by the real celebration: riding.

Thanks to everyone who came to Malibu Creek to remember Danusia.

MBU Training for 2014 Starts January 25

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

From Julian Serles of the Mountain Bike Unit

Calling all mountain bikers age 18 and over! The Mountain Bike Unit (MBU) is currently recruiting for its 2014 New Recruit Training Class. If you enjoy mountain biking and are interested in giving back to the community by volunteering some time to assist our understaffed Park Rangers in patrolling the parks, then the MBU may be just what you are looking for.  The MBU supports and are sponsored by the National Park Service (NPS), California State Parks (CSP), and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA).

Here’s what it’s all about. The MBU assists in providing park visitors with a quality outdoor experience and preserving natural resources while patrolling over 60,000 acres of public parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Beginning in late January 2014, training will include visitor contact skills, State and National park radio use, park rules and regulations, first aid and CPR training, and field training exercises.

Patrol areas and opportunities include the following:

-National Park Service parks:  Cheeseboro/Palo Comado, Zuma/Trancas Canyons, Rancho Sierra Vista, and Circle X Ranch
-California State Park locations: Malibu Creek, Will Rogers, Point Mugu, and Topanga
-We also patrol MRCA areas near metropolitan Los Angeles, such as Franklin Canyon and Upper Las Virgines Open Space Preserve
-In addition, we volunteer to patrol and support other events such as the LA and Malibu Marathons, Wheels to the Sea, the Ventura County Fair, and CORBA’s Fat Tire Festival
-The MBU also helps support CORBA’s Youth Adventure Program, which offers disadvantaged youth the opportunity to enjoy the mountain biking experience in our beautiful parks

All MBU patrols require at least two patrollers.  All rides are self scheduled on our website. We ask each of our volunteers for 100 patrol hours annually (roughly two four-hour patrols per month).

Would you like to learn more? We invite you to come to King Gillette Ranch Auditorium at 9:00 am on Saturday, January 25, 2014 for an indoor orientation meeting where we will share with you more details about this wonderful program and what patrolling with the MBU is all about. We encourage you to bring your bike and helmet because we plan to take potential recruits on a ride-along (sorted by ability) after the presentation, weather permitting. Visit the MBU training web page for more details, or to contact the MBU via e-mail (admin@mountainbikeunit.com). To see the MBU in action, view our gallery of MBU photos.

A Tribute to Danusia Bennett-Taber

Monday, June 10th, 2013
Danusia Bennett-Taber Memorial Service

Danusia Bennett-Taber Memorial Service

Sunday, June 9, 2013, a memorial service was held for former CORBA Treasurer and Board Member Danusia Bennett-Taber. Around 80 friends, family, fellow volunteers, agency representatives, and one friendly horse, hiked or rode in to a secluded corner of Malibu Creek State Park. Under the majestic oaks with the sounds of rustling leaves and bird songs–one of Danusia’s favorite places in the park–people recalled some of their fond memories of her.

It was especially clear that there was much more to this wonderful woman than any of us really knew, except perhaps her husband Don, whose recollections brought both smiles and tears to the gathered crowd. We, as CORBA Board members knew her as a diligent and passionate volunteer who loved the mountains and the trails, with a penchant for making sure everything was done correctly.

Her family knew she volunteered, but according to them, she had never made any big deal of it. It was just something she did. CORBA’s Steve Messer talked about her legacy and dedication to mountain biking (copied below), the depth of which was unknown to her family. In fact, this was a common theme among those who spoke. Everyone seemed to know a different side of this remarkable woman. But the common thread was that she touched many people, in many meaningful ways.

Many thanks to the numerous past and present CORBA board members and volunteers who came out to celebrate her life, and our sincerest condolences to her non-mountain biking family and friends.

Special thanks go to Wendy Engelberg, who organized the service. Wendy collaborated with Danusia on a final project, a bell program that will serve multiple purposes: It will remind everyone of Danusia’s great work for the trail community, help ease tensions on the trails from user conflict, and raise money for the Sarcoma Alliance that helped Danusia through the most difficult times of her life. Look for the official announcement in the coming weeks.

 

Danusia Bennett-Taber and her husband Don, CORBA Fundraiser 2011.

Danusia Bennett-Taber and her husband Don, CORBA Fundraiser 2011.

Danusia’s Legacy with CORBA

Danusia joined CORBA’s board in 2007. I’d met her and worked as a volunteer with CORBA in the years prior to that, before I was asked to join the Board. But it wasn’t really until I learned the inner workings of CORBA that I came to appreciate how integral she was to the organization.

Danusia helped set-up CORBA up for a solid future in so many ways. Everything we’ve done since and all we’ve yet to accomplish are in many ways possible because of her efforts. She was the backbone of CORBA. Much like the Backbone trail that connects the various Parks that make the Santa Monica Mountains, Danusia’s work within CORBA connected all our various programs and made sure they had a solid core foundation from which to grow. For a few years there were just three of us running CORBA, and she was always there to make sure that Mark and I didn’t overlook some detail that could have caused problems, or miss a paperwork filing deadline. She had our backs.

It’s thanks to her expertise with computers and accounting that our books are in order, our finances are handled and up to date.  She left us in a much better state than when she joined CORBA’s Board and became Treasurer. Though she retired from the Board just over a year ago, she never really stopped volunteering.

Just a two weeks ago, she was making sure that CORBA’s 2012 tax filings were all in order. Despite her personal challenges, CORBA’s work was all-important to her. She set us up with the tools to move forward and continue our work uninterrupted.

But for her it wasn’t just about the management and the paperwork. It was about her passion for trails and the open spaces and public lands we all get to enjoy. She made sure that she gave back to the trails and, even after being presented with the biggest challenge of her life, learning of her rare cancer, she continued to come out to build new trails in the Conejo Open Space, attended public meetings about trails, and participated in trail maintenance in the Santa Monica Mountains, where she absolutely loved to ride and hike and felt truly at home.

She also wanted to make sure that other people had the same opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as she did. Her involvement with CORBA’s Youth Adventures program helped introduce many kids to the wonders of our great outdoors, and the joy and freedom of experiencing them by bicycle. Her ever-present smile and laughs with the kids were infectious. She also volunteered for the Mountain Bike Unit, patrolling the mountains to help make sure others were safe on the trails while at the same time protecting public lands and trails for everyone, regardless of how they enjoyed the trails. Her efforts to ensure the success of our various fundraisers made sure we had the resources to continue our work.

Mark Langton reminded me of how feisty and upset she became when a very few but vocal mountain bikers disagreed with CORBA’s philosophy of taking the high road and doing our best to work with Land Managers instead of against them. They’d complain or say bad things about CORBA’s cooperation with agencies, or our work to preserve and maintain trails. She took it personally, and felt we were misunderstood. Mark would have to reassure her that it isn’t personal. Those naysayers were concerned only about themselves, while we and Danusia were concerned about and protective of the trails and our greater community.

In our dealings with State and National Parks, and in our own internal development, she’d always make sure that the women’s point of view was always considered. She’d never let us forget that in this oftentimes male-dominated sport, that if more women were mountain biking we’d probably have a better overall image in the trail user community. Her work with Wendy Engleburg and Girlz Gone Riding helped introduce many women to mountain biking, and support and encourage them along the way.

One of the biggest transitions CORBA has undergone in its 26 year history was when we became an IMBA chapter a few years ago. It was a long and tedious process, with a lot of paperwork, filing of documents, and reconciling CORBA’s mission and operations with IMBA’s. Danusia took the lead on that process, and now, as an IMBA chapter, we’ve been able to grow and speak with a louder voice to land managers, with much more two-way coordination and collaboration between CORBA and IMBA. It’s been a wonderful change for us and for our growing membership. It’s just one of many aspects of Danusia’s legacy within CORBA that is helping guide us into a better future for mountain biking in Southern California.

Mark and my last communication with Danusia was a short, but very telling email about a week before she passed on. It was just a few sentences that essentially said, “Guys, it’s hospice time, and I’m really OK with it.” In those few sentences she was both comforting us by letting us know she’d come to terms with her situation and was ready to move on, and that she felt her work with CORBA was complete. She never wanted to have people fuss over her accomplishments and contributions, nor her final challenges.

CORBA is continuing to make progress on many fronts, albeit slow. The saddest thing about this great loss to our community is that she was not able to ride the Backbone trail end-to-end by bicycle, or see new trails opened to bikes in the Santa Monicas, or see a bike park completed, or witness the continued exponential growth in women’s and kids mountain biking. But we look forward to a day when many of us will see those sea-changes, and in many ways it will be thanks to her legacy.

Danusia, we miss you, we love you, and most of all we thank you for giving so much of yourself to our trails, our mountains, and our community. You’ll be truly missed, but your smile and spirit will live on and continue to touch as all, every time we’re on the trails.

Steve Messer

June 9, 2013

 

Palos Verdes Volunteer Trail Patrol Needs Mountain Bikers

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

bike_group_delcerro2Rancho Palos Verdes will soon create a Volunteer Trail Patrol program. CORBA PV has recommended the formation of a trail patrol for many years. It will be similar to volunteer patrols from other open space agencies including the Santa Monica Mountains based Mountain Bike Unit. The MBU was founded by CORBA in 1988 and now works under the National Park Service, the California State Parks, and the Santa Monica Mountains MRCA (Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority).

Volunteer Trail Patrol members will assist the MRCA rangers by regularly patrolling the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve on foot, by horse or by bicycle. The goal is to educate and assist trail users, report safety hazards, maintenance needs, and regulation infractions. Volunteer Trail Patrol members will not be able to issue citations or make arrests.

It is important to have members from all three user groups on the patrol. Peer to peer communication is the most effective way to education trail users and minimize user conflicts concerns. For years CORBA PV has called on the city to collect factual on-trail information instead of relying on anecdotal comments at public meetings. Your participation will help collect accurate information and lead to impartial decisions by the city council.

The program is yet to be finalized but volunteers will undergo training and commit to four hours per month. Those who are interested can contact Barb Ailor at info@PVPLC.org. For more information go to mtbpv.org/

Mountain Bike Unit 2013 Training Starts February 2

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

MBU, Mountain Bike Unit, Santa Monica Mountains

Calling all mountain bikers age 18 and over! The Mountain Bike Unit (MBU) is currently recruiting for its 2013 New Recruit Training Class. If you enjoy mountain biking and are interested in giving back to the community by volunteering some time to assist our understaffed Park Rangers in patrolling the parks, then the MBU may be just what you are looking for.  The MBU supports and are sponsored by the National Park Service (NPS), California State Parks (CSP), and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA).

Here’s what it’s all about. The MBU assists in providing park visitors with a quality outdoor experience and preserving natural resources while patrolling over 60,000 acres of public parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Beginning in February 2013, training will include visitor contact skills, State and National park radio use, park rules and regulations, first aid and CPR training, and field training exercises.

Patrol areas and opportunities include the following:

MBU, Mountain Bike Unit, Santa Monica Mountains-National Park Service parks:  Cheeseboro/Palo ComadoZuma/Trancas CanyonsRancho Sierra Vista, and Circle X Ranch
-California State Park locations: Malibu Creek, Will Rogers, Point Mugu, and Topanga
-We also patrol MRCA areas near metropolitan Los Angeles, such as Franklin Canyon and Upper Las Virgines Open Space Preserve
-In addition, we volunteer to patrol and support other events such as the LA and Malibu Marathons, Wheels to the Sea, the Ventura County Fair, and CORBA’s Fat Tire Fun(d)raiser
-The MBU also helps support CORBA’s Youth Adventure Program, which offers at-risk youth the opportunity to enjoy the mountain biking experience in our beautiful parks

All MBU patrols require at least two patrollers.  All rides are self scheduled on the MBU website. We ask each of our volunteers for 100 patrol hours annually (roughly two four-hour patrols per month).

Would you like to learn more? We invite you to come to King Gillette Ranch Auditorium at 9:00 am on Saturday, February 02, 2013 for an indoor orientation meeting where we will share with you more details about this wonderful program and what patrolling with the MBU is all about. We encourage you to bring your bike and helmet because we plan to take potential recruits on a ride-along (sorted by ability) after the presentation, weather permitting. Training sessions will start the following week and extend into April. Visit the MBU training web page for more details, or to contact the MBU via e-mail (admin@mountainbikeunit.com). To see the MBU in action, view our gallery of MBU photos.


Malibu Times covers the MBU, Orientation February 2nd

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

MBU, Mountain Bike Unit, Santa Monica Mountains

Today, December 26, 2012, the Malibu Times ran a great story about the MBU, including their beginnings as a CORBA program, and the vital role they play in helping ensure the safety of all visitors and trail users in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Mountain Bike Unit is one of the models on which IMBA’s Mountain Bike Patrol was based, now an international program.

The MBU is an all-volunteer organization, operating under an interagency operating agreement between the National Park Service, State Parks, and the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority.

If you’re interested in being a part of this exceptional and rewarding program, an informational meeting for those interested in volunteering is scheduled for the King Gillette Ranch Auditorium at 9 a.m. on Sat., Feb. 2. Actual volunteer training sessions begin on Feb. 9, 2013 at National Park Service headquarters in Thousand Oaks. For more information, visit the website at www.mountainbikeunit.com.

The Malibu Times story is available on the Malibu Times web site, or as a PDF.

City of Glendale Mountain Bike Patrol Program to Launch

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The City of Glendale has announced that their Hiking and Mountain Biking Patrol program is ready to launch. They are seeking volunteers interested in spending a few hours per month riding or hiking the trails of the Verdugo Mountains. Applications are available from the City’s Community Services and Parks Department. Mountain bikers will be required to attend the CORBA Free Skills Clinic. Following is the announcement from the City:

 

 

At long last we are pleased to announce that applications are now available for the City of Glendale’s volunteer Trail Safety Patrol (TSP) program.

We ask that, at your earliest convenience, you stop by the Community Services & Parks Department at Glendale City Hall to pick up your application packet.  The Department is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

At that time, we would like to take a few minutes to get acquainted (this is not a formal interview), then have you pick up your application packet and proceed to our Human Resources office where you will receive information on the mandatory fingerprint and background check that is required of all City volunteers. 

Glendale City Hall is located at 613 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91206.  The Community Services & Parks Department is located on the first floor in Room 120.  Please ask to speak to Iris Hidalgo.

The Human Services Department is also on the first floor of City Hall, across the lobby, in Room 100.  Please ask to speak to Ando Vardanyan.

Free Visitor Parking is available in the City’s parking structure on Wilson Avenue, north of Broadway and west of Glendale Avenue.

Your application packet will include the following:

  • TSP Application Form
  • TSP Physician Approval Form
  • TSP Insurance Information Form
  • TSP Bike Liability Waiver 
  • TSP Hike Liability Waiver 
  • City Volunteer Registration Form/Conviction History 
  • City Volunteer Agreement Form

Please note that the mandatory fingerprint/background check and the mandatory liability/bike insurance will be obtained at no cost to you. 

You need to sign either the Bike Waiver or the Hike Waiver, not both, depending on which unit you are applying for.  If you are applying for the Hike Unit, you only need to fill out the top portion of the Insurance Information Form.  All other forms must be completely filled out, signed, and dated.

As soon as you have completed all the forms, please return them to the Community Services & Parks Department, 613 East Broadway, Room 120, Glendale, CA  91206.  If we were unable to meet when you picked up the documents, please return them in person so that we have a chance to meet face to face.

The application packet must be returned to us no later than November 30, 2012.

Please note the following important dates:

  • Saturday, December 1, 2012 – members of the Mountain Bike Unit must take the CORBA Mountain Bike Skills class at MalibuCreek State Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  All members of the Mountain Bike Unit must pass this course in order to be part of the Trail Safety Patrol.   

      Please go to:  http://corbamtb.com/programs/skills.shtml for more information.

  • Sunday, December 2, 2012 – members of the Hike Unit must meet in Brand Park at 9 a.m. for the hike test up the Brand Motorway.  All members of the Hike Unit must hike the 6.2 mile route of the Verdugo Mountains 10K in under 2.5 hours.

·        Saturday, December 8, 2012 – all volunteers must undergo the mandatory 8-hour training program to be held in the Glendale Police Department’s Community Room from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The Police Department is located at 131 North Isabel Street, Glendale, CA  91206.  A free visitor parking lot is across the street from the station.      

We know this is a lot to digest, so if you have any questions, or if there are any problems, please feel free to call me at the number below or simply reply to this email.  If you have any friends or colleagues with mountain biking or hiking skills who you think might be interested in participating, please have them contact me.  We can always use more excellent volunteers.

We look forward to working with you to make this an outstanding program that benefits all those who use Glendale’s trails and open space.

City of Glendale Trail Safety Patrol Program

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The City of Glendale is looking to get more eyes and ears on its trails through the new Trail Safety Patrol program. The program will be similar to the volunteer patrols conducted by the Mountain Bike Unit (MBU) in the Santa Monica Mountains and elsewhere, except they are looking to enlist volunteers from both the hiking and mountain biking communities.  News about the program emerged recently through a story on the L.A. Times blog.

Mountain bike patrol applicants will be required to attend CORBA’s free skills clinic, while hikers must be able to hike Brand Motorway in under 2.5 hours. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, in good physical health with a letter from a physician indicating you are capable of participating in the program. A background check and registration as an official City of Glendale volunteer will also be required.

A more complete description of the roles and responsibilities of the Trail Safety Patrol program can be found on the City of Glendale’s website at: http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/government/council_packets/Reports_062612/CC_8b_062612.pdf

We encourage anyone who is already riding the Verdugo mountains on a regular basis to consider joining the program. You’ll be helping keep the trails safer for everyone, and will be good will ambassadors of the mountain biking community as a whole.

The Trail Safety program is being developed by the City’s Community Services and Parks department. Volunteer training is expected to get underway in August.  If you’d like to be notified when the program is ready to accept applications, please email Marc Stirdivant at mstirdivant@ci.glendale.ca.us and the City’s Volunteer Coordinator, Iris Hidalgo, at ihidalgo@ci.glendale.ca.us.  Include your name, address, phone number, summary of your experience as a hiker or mountain bikers, and why you’d like to be a member of the patrol. Volunteer patrollers will be expected to spend a minimum of four hours per month on patrol. If you’re already riding the Verdugo mountains regularly, it will be easy to meet the requirements.

Ross Blasman Memorial Service 1/29/11

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

In an earlier blog post we announced the passing of CORBA member, and Mountain Bike Unit founding member and coordinator Ross Blasman on December 31, 2010. A celebration of his life took place at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills on January 29. Here are few pictures.

MBU Training for 2011 Starts February 5

Friday, December 17th, 2010

From Julian Serles of the Mountain Bike Unit

Calling all mountain bikers age 18 and over! The Mountain Bike Unit (MBU) is currently recruiting for its 2011 New Recruit Training Class. If you enjoy mountain biking and are interested in giving back to the community by volunteering some time to assist our understaffed Park Rangers in patrolling the parks, then the MBU may be just what you are looking for.  The MBU supports and are sponsored by the National Park Service (NPS), California State Parks (CSP), and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA).

Here’s what it’s all about. The MBU assists in providing park visitors with a quality outdoor experience and preserving natural resources while patrolling over 60,000 acres of public parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Beginning in February 2011, training will include visitor contact skills, State and National park radio use, park rules and regulations, first aid and CPR training, and field training exercises.

Patrol areas and opportunities include the following:

-National Park Service parks:  Cheeseboro/Palo Comado, Zuma/Trancas Canyons, Rancho Sierra Vista, and Circle X Ranch
-California State Park locations: Malibu Creek, Will Rogers, Point Mugu, and Topanga
-We also patrol MRCA areas near metropolitan Los Angeles, such as Franklin Canyon and Upper Las Virgines Open Space Preserve
-In addition, we volunteer to patrol and support other events such as the LA and Malibu Marathons, Wheels to the Sea, the Ventura County Fair, and CORBA’s Fat Tire Festival
-The MBU also helps support CORBA’s Youth Adventure Program, which offers disadvantaged youth the opportunity to enjoy the mountain biking experience in our beautiful parks

All MBU patrols require at least two patrollers.  All rides are self scheduled on our website. We ask each of our volunteers for 100 patrol hours annually (roughly two four-hour patrols per month).

Would you like to learn more? We invite you to come to King Gillette Ranch Auditorium at 9:00 am on Saturday, February 05, 2011 for an indoor orientation meeting where we will share with you more details about this wonderful program and what patrolling with the MBU is all about. We encourage you to bring your bike and helmet because we plan to take potential recruits on a ride-along (sorted by ability) after the presentation, weather permitting. Visit the MBU training web page for more details, or to contact the MBU via e-mail (admin@mountainbikeunit.com). To see the MBU in action, view our gallery of MBU photos.