Archive for the ‘Trailwork’ Category

COSCA Annual Trailwork Day Oct 18th

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Come out and join the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), CORBA, the Santa Monica Trails Council and other volunteers for the 24th Annual COSCA Trailwork Day in Thousand Oaks on October 18, 2014. The trail we will be building/repairing will be announced soon.

COSCA will treat participants to lunch afterwards and have a drawing for some great door prizes. Participants who register with our Meetup event will also be eligible for the end-of-year drawing for a Niner frame and other prizes!

For full details and to register, see our registration page. We hope to see a good turnout of local mountain bikers at this event!

President’s Message: The Station Fire

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

20110401-Station_Fire_sign_burning_3It has been almost five years since the Station Fire was set by arsonists along Highway 2 near the base of Mount Lukens. I was there on August 26, 2009 when it started. I was also there last week when the Station Fire General Closure Order expired. This opened up Strawberry Peak loop, a trail system that has been the focus of several different groups for the past eighteen months. Though it’s a significant milestone, there is much more to be done.

Mountain Bike Magazine Station Fire

Mountain Bike Magazine Station Fire

This takes me back to a June 2010 Mountain Bike Magazine article about the Station Fire. While the magazine is no longer published, a copy of the story is archived on our web site. Reading it will help you realize what has been accomplished since.

We all wish that things could have happened faster, but the assumptions of the article have held up. Matt Lay/Mount Wilson Bicycling Association (MWBA), and I were featured in the article as mountain bikers on a mission to help restore the trails. Both CORBA and the MWBA have lived up to that promise, with many trails affected by the fire now open due (at least in part) to our efforts. We have to thank our volunteers, our members, and REI for their generous support, all of whom helped make it possible.

Of course, mountain bikers were not alone in the effort to restore trails. Many nonprofit groups, trail user groups, and individual volunteers continue to make significant contributions to restoration and maintenance. Professional crews including Bellfree Contractors and the LA Conservation Corps have also been involved.

As mentioned,  the work is not yet done. The general closure expired and was replaced by a much more manageable list of closed trails. Among them are several fire roads and at least two local mountain biking favorites: a section of the Gabrielino Trail and the Ken Burton Trail. CORBA and the MWBA have pending work plans for both trails, and the Forest Service is working to reopen the fire roads. Stay tuned.

And there will always be a need to do trail maintenance, above and beyond restoration efforts.

Trails don’t maintain themselves. Join us.

- Steve Messer

2014 Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days Trailwork Report and Photo Galleries

Monday, April 28th, 2014
Rangers serve the barbecue on Saturday night. As well as hot dogs, there was chicken, tri-tip beef and veggie-burgers.

Rangers serve the barbecue on Saturday night. As well as hot dogs, there was chicken, tri-tip beef and veggie-burgers.

This past weekend, a large number of volunteers from CORBA, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, the Sierra Club and other organizations, and individuals gathered for the 33rd annual Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days at the Danielson campground in Pt Mugu State Park. Folks could arrive Friday evening, camp overnight, help with the trails on Saturday, enjoy the barbecue dinner prepared by park staff, win some cool swag in the prize give-away during dinner, camp overnight, help with the trails on Sunday, have lunch back at the campground, then depart for home. Of course only a few people stayed for the whole weekend, but many camped for at least one night, and most stayed for the Saturday BBQ and prize give-away.

On Saturday, there were about 110 volunteers who split into five groups. The largest groups worked on Old Boney Trail in the State Wilderness Area and Sage Trail. Others went to the top of Hidden Pond Trail and youngsters under 10 cleared small rockfalls off the Sin Nombre and Two Foxes Trails. A dozen hardy souls (with hardy soles) hiked almost three miles (and up about 1400′) carrying tools to work on the Chamberlain Trail, also in the wilderness area.

The group of about 30 volunteers who worked on Sage consisted of CORBA folks, a few geocachers, and others. The trail had just been SWECO’d (plowed by a small trail-sized bulldozer) to level the trail, smooth out the ruts, and narrow it. The trail is narrower now because it used to be the full width of a fire road, and now the travel surface is about half as wide. The SWECO is only able to get so close to the edge, so the work consisted of pulling down the berm (pile of dirt) the machine left at the outside edge of the trail, sloping the trail about 5-degrees to the outside so rainwater will run off, rather than down the middle, and removing the larger rocks.

Putting the finishing touches on the Sage Trail on Saturday after it was leveled, smoothed and narrowed by the SWECO trail bulldozer.

Putting the finishing touches on the Sage Trail on Saturday after it was leveled, smoothed and narrowed by the SWECO trail bulldozer.

There were also a few spots of severe erosion and rutting on the side of the trail where rain water had run off, taking some of the trail with it. In one case, the erosion extended about half-way into the trail. To prevent future rain from extending these ruts and eventually washing the trail away completely, we built rock walls down the ruts to reinforce the side next to the trail. The idea is that the water will run off the trail and down the rock wall, protecting the dirt underneath from being washed away. The rocks will also slow and disperse the water, so it doesn’t wash away the dirt below the wall and undermine it.

Overall we worked about 2300 feet of trail, from the bottom to where the now-closed Art’s Trail joins it.

We headed back to the campground at about 2:00 pm, although crew leader Virginia from the Trails Council stayed about a half hour longer, and CORBA’s Steve Messer stayed even longer. Some people just won’t quit until the job is finished!

We always have a much smaller group for the Sunday work day, so all 30 of us returned to Sage Trail to finish off the top 1700′. It only took until about noon to get this shorter section completed.

Sage Trail is a little loose after our trailwork, but it’s not too loose to ride. It should be packed down in two or three weeks, as Guadalasca Trail was after we did the same work there last spring. The trail will also regain its single-track width after enough people have ridden it to define a preferred course.

CORBA, the Trails Council, local chapters of the Sierra Club, California State Park, the National Park Service and other would like to give a tremendous Thank-You to all the volunteers who helped over the weekend, both working on the trails to keep them in top shape, and organizing and coordinating in the camping and registration area!

You can view more photos of the trailwork in the Saturday photo gallery and the Sunday photo gallery.

Niner Bike Frame is Grand Prize for Trailwork Volunteers

Friday, March 28th, 2014
Could it be YOU who wins a frame like this Niner?

Could it be YOU who wins a frame like this Niner?

As part of the thank-you for volunteers who help with maintaining our trails in good riding order, CORBA has been giving away mountain biking swag at the end of each event. To speed things up on trailwork days, and to allow some really great  (ie, expensive!) prizes to be given away, we will instead have a drawing at the end of the year for all the volunteers who come out during that year.

We have a Niner frame waiting for some lucky volunteer, plus other great prizes including grips and saddles from Ergon!

In order to be eligible for the drawing, volunteers must register for events in advance on our Meetup group, show up at the event and sign the standard waiver form. At the end of the year, we’ll go back through all the Meetup events and count the number of times each volunteer helped out. Everyone will get one chance in the drawing for each time they participated.

Now by helping to keep our trails in good shape, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re giving back to the trails community, of contributing to the enjoyment that others have in our open spaces, and also having a chance at scoring a sweet ride from CORBA and Niner!

Good luck and thanks for helping out!

Santa Monica Mtns Trail Days at Sycamore Canyon Apr 25-27

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

SMM Trail DaysOnce a year we have an opportunity to work on the trails and then BBQ and camp at Danielson Ranch in Pt Mugu State Park. It is opened annually for the Santa Monica Trail Days! This is a unique opportunity to work on the trails that we enjoy so much in Sycamore Canyon, and the Saturday workday is followed by a BBQ and prizes, with free camping available on Friday and/or Saturday night. This is hands down the best day to get in some trail maintenance work! Camping is optional; you may leave with the escort after the BBQ. There will be trailwork projects on both Saturday and Sunday. Sign up for one or both! Pre-registration is requested by April 21st so we’ll know how many people to prepare for.

Schedule at a glance

Friday night April 25 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 26Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 27Trailwork, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch.

You can volunteer to help out on Saturday, Sunday, or both.

BRING: LUNCHES, BEVERAGES, SNACKS AND WATER. Tools and instruction on using them are provided.

WEAR: Gloves, hat, long pants, protective clothing, and work boots or sturdy shoes.

REGISTRATION: Advance registration is required for the activities shown below, and appreciated by April 21st!

Saturday Registration: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/173599122/
Sunday Registration: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/154204972/

TRAILWORK: Saturday and/or Sunday. Help out with one or both! There are also opportunities to help out in the camp instead of trailwork.

CAMPING: Free camping Friday and/or Saturday nights for volunteers at the Danielson Multi-use Area located under the sycamores and oaks in the heart of Point Mugu State Park. Bring your own gear.

DINNER: Sat. Night Barbecue Free FOR VOLUNTEERS. Bring appetizers and beverages.

PRIZES: Thank-you prize give-aways will be held Saturday after dinner and Sunday after trailwork.

VEHICLE ACCESS: You will be able to caravan into and out of the park by vehicle only at these few designated times:

ARRIVE: Friday – 5 pm and 7 pm Saturday – 8 am and 4:30 pm Sunday – 8:30 am

DEPART: Saturday – 4 pm and after campfire Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm

Full details and camping/dining details are also provided on the registration pages.

COSCA Spring Trailwork Report, Photos and Video from March 22

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

As well as this section, there are lots of people working up above!This past Saturday, March 22, roughly 60 volunteers converged on Wildflower Park for a short hike to the work area at the bottom of the new trail. By noon, the volunteers had built the 0.25-mile long Castillo Trail that now connects Wildwood Trail in the canyon to Castillo Circle on the mesa above.

The Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) rangers had previously removed the chaparral and marked the route of the trail with little orange flags. It was up to the workers to dig out the dirt to make an even trail tread. The trail crossed a steep hillside, so there was a lot of dirt to be moved along much of it’s length. The route included two nearly 180-degree turns, necessitating a switchback and a climbing turn. Each of these features took 6-8 people all morning to complete.

After the work was finished, the crew returned to Wildflower Park to enjoy a barbecue lunch prepared for the volunteers.

Steve Messer, CORBA’s president, brought along his GoPro and made a time-lapse video of the trail building, and of the first ride down on his new hard-tail 29er. You can see the video on YouTube or Vimeo.

You can also view the photo gallery of the trailwork.

February 23rd Space Mountain Trailwork Report and Photos

Monday, February 24th, 2014

This past Sunday, 12 CORBA volunteers and two COSCA rangers headed up the “Space Mountain” section of the Los Robles Trail in Thousand Oaks to fix up the 1.7-miles long switchbacks part of this singletrack trail before the winter rains worsen the ruts.

Clearing slough from the trail

Clearing slough from the trail

By all standards, the work was a tremendous success! We cleared slough from 230 yards of trail, installed about a dozen new drainage nicks, cleaned debris out of about a dozen existing drainages, and whacked out about 20 stumps.

From the top of the switchbacks, we continued another a short distance to fix the falling slough on 230 yards of trail. Slough is rocks, dirt and other debris that falls on the trail from above. So much had fallen that half to 2/3 of the trail was covered, forcing people to the very outside of the trail. We could see many tracks where people had ridden off the edge and possibly taken a tumble. With the trail now returned to it’s full width, that hazard is much reduced.

Next, we headed back down to the bottom, installing new drainage nicks as we went, and hacking out stumps that had become hazards in or near the edge of the trail. Finally, as we got to the lower half where we had installed drainages in previous years, we cleaned out those that were becoming clogged with silt so they would continue to be effective in diverting rainwater off the trail.

You can see the volunteers working in the photo gallery of Sunday’s trailwork day.

After the traditional prize give-away to thank the volunteers, CORBA treated everyone to lunch at Baja Fresh.

Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help, and the COSCA Staff who joined in to support us!

Strawberry Peak Trailwork – February 16

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

On February 16, we’ll be heading back up to work on Strawberry Peak trail.

Drainage in need of repair

Drainage in need of repair

The trail is still closed to public use, and while much work has been completed, there is still much more to be done. Our goal is to get the classic Colby Trail/Strawberry Peak trail loop in good enough condition that the forest service will consider lifting the closure on that trail this year.

Details of where on the trail we will work will depend on how much is accomplished by a professional trailbuilder who will be doing some major repairs the week prior. Final meeting place will be announced closer to the trailwork day, but should be either Redbox or Clear Creek. Carpooling from ACH just north of the 210 freeway is also an option.

There will be some preparatory work on Friday, Feb 14 and/or Saturday Feb 15, and we’d welcome a small number (3 – 5 people) for the prep work. Contact Steve Messer if you’re interested in the prep work, or sign up on Meetup for the trailwork day on Sunday, Feb 16. We will probably meet at 8 a.m. and work through until about 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided afterwards.

The Forest Service requires you to wear long sleeves and long pants, sturdy work boots or hiking shoes. Bring a water bottle/hydration pack, sunscreen and trail snacks, but lunch will be provided afterwards. We will supply tools and other required safety gear, including hard hats and gloves (though you’re welcome to bring your own if you have them).

No experience is necessary, as trail crew leaders will cover safety training and tool use. We always have a great time, and while the work is hard, the reward of being able to later ride a trail that you helped restore is a huge reward by itself.

This is one of the most iconic and classic Southern California backcountry rides, and we’re excited to get it completely restored with the generous support of REI and the National Forest Foundation.

Jan 25th Backbone Trailwork Report and Photos

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Sixteen CORBA volunteers and five from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council returned to the Backbone Trail between Latigo Canyon Road and Newton Motorway to continue with the work we started in November. Then, we mostly installed and cleaned drainage nicks on the steepest, rockiest, most eroded part of the trail, but also cleared some brush. This past Saturday, we installed 15 to 18 new drainage nicks on parts of the trail that were less susceptible to erosion but still at risk, armored a switchback with large stones where people had been  cutting the corner, and cleared encroaching brush from about 2/3 of its 1.4-mile length.

Back at the trailhead, CORBA volunteers show off the swag they won in the prize give-away.

When we brush the trail, we try to clear growth about 3-feet from the edge of the trail. This brings it back to the standard for a multi-use trail. It also means we won’t have to return for a few years to again clear the brush which grows back in at a rate of about one foot per year.

We were finished installing the drainage nicks about an hour before finishing time, so we made use of the time to clear slough. (Slough is the dirt and other debris that falls on the inside edge of the trail from the slope above. The piles at the edge of the trail narrow it.) By removing the slough and brush at the trail edge, the trail has a more open feeling, and people can use the whole width of it, not just the outside edge.

Afterwards, CORBA volunteers were treated to a prize drawing and lunch at the Urbane Cafe or adjacent Habit Hamburger Grill to thank them for their help. Great job, everybody!

To see all the volunteers and the work they did, you can view the photo gallery of this trailwork.

Space Mountain Trailwork Scheduled for Sunday February 23

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Join CORBA on a rare Sunday workday as we fix up CORBA’s adopted trail, Space Mountain (Los Robles Trail West) in Thousand Oaks. We’ll be doing treadwork - clearing silt out of the drainages - starting at the top and working back down. This is a favorite mountain biking trail, especially in the winter when other trails are muddy. Our work on Sunday will help keep the water off the trail and open to riding next winter!

After the trailwork is finished, CORBA will have prizes for some (or all) lucky volunteers, and treat you to lunch afterwards.
No experience is necessary to help out with trailwork. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided. Children must be over 7-years old to attend, and children under 14 must be constantly and directly supervised by their parent or guardian who brought them. And you don’t need to be a mountain biker to help out – Everybody is welcome! For more information on trailwork in general, visit our trail crew web page.

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

We request that you pre-register online so that we’ll know how many tools to provide. Remember, by registering here, CORBA will treat you to lunch afterwards, and enter you in the drawing for mountain biking prizes!

CORBA’s thank-you lunch will be after trailwork ends at 1:00 pm, so bring some snacks to tide you over.

Meeting location and details are on the online registration page.