Archive for the ‘Trail Crew’ Category

Report on the ‘Creek of Doom’ trail restoration in MCSP on November 11th

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Over 20 volunteers, including 9 from CORBA, 8 from Girlz Gone Riding and 6 from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, worked for four hours this past Saturday morning to fix up a seriously degraded part of Crags Road in Malibu Creek State Park. This section, just before the M*A*S*H site, is fondly known at the ‘Creek of Doom’ or the ‘Rock Garden’ because of the rocky and narrow nature of the trail, going along the edge, and then the middle, of the dry creek bed. This trail has not seen any work on it for years and had become very overgrown and eroded. As a result of the rains last winter, several trees had fallen on the trail and now were lying at the side, their branches still poking into the trail itself.

Under the guidance of experience trail crew leaders, mostly from the Trails Council but also from CORBA, the volunteers split into several groups, most of which focused on clearing back the fallen trees and other brush, with the rest focusing on fixing the trail tread.

Before, during and after photos of one section of the trail that was restored.

Overall, almost a half mile of trail was restored. This included about 100′ of narrow, rocky and off-camber trail where very large rocks were dug out and the tread made more smooth and level. The large rocks were used to build up a section about 20′ long that had almost completely disappeared into the creek. (See photos above.)

Lunch at the Urbane Cafe afterwards to thank all the volunteers who did such a great job!

After the work ended, CORBA treated the volunteers to a lunch at the Urbane Cafe and the Habit Hamburger Grill.

You can see more pictures of the trailwork in CORBA’s photo gallery.

Building the first trail in the new Sapwi Trails Park on Oct 21.

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

On Saturday during the Conejo Fall Trailwork Day, a group of 193 volunteers helped build the first trail in Sapwi Trails Park. We completed 0.67 miles, about half of the new trail. Some of it was along a very steep cross-slope so we had to move a lot of dirt to establish the tread.

Much of the rest of the trail was across a gentle cross-slope, so it can be traversed even if it hasn’t been finished.

You can see photos of some of the work that was done in our photo gallery, as well as pictures of the lunch and muk-a-muks who turned out to celebrate the occasion.

‘Creek of Doom’ trail restoration in MCSP on November 11

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Last winter’s rains damaged the surface of Crags Rd Trail in Malibu Creek State Park and have encouraged brush to grow up along its steep upslope bank. The CORBA and Santa Monica Mountain Trails Council trail crews will be fixing these problems on the section of the trail that goes along the creek as it approaches the M*A*S*H site. It’s fondly known as “The Rock Garden” or “The Creek of Doom.”

After the trailwork is finished, CORBA will 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.

Parents/guardians are responsible for minors at all times, and they must constantly and directly supervise children under 14. Children must be over 7-years old to attend. Please leave your four-legged friends at home!

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 at https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/242673091/ so that we’ll know how many tools to provide. Remember, by registering here, CORBA will treat you to lunch afterwards!

CORBA’s thank-you lunch will be after trailwork ends at 2:30 pm, so bring some snacks to tide you over.

The online registration page also contains details about where and when to meet.

Help build another new trail during the COSCA Annual Trailwork Day, October 21

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Join CORBA, SMMTC, COSCA and other volunteer groups to work on the Conejo Open Space trails in Thousand Oaks.

This year we’ll be working in the new Sapwi Trails area, near Westlake Blvd and Avenida De Arboles. This new area will include a bike park as well as trails and other recreational activities. The plans have recently been approved and funding secured.

There will be a thank you lunch and prize drawings at noon after the work. This is a great event with lots of like-minded folks to help out. If you use the trails in Thousand Oaks, come out and help build and maintain them! No prior experience is necessary and all volunteers work at their own pace, taking plenty of time to rest and chat with other trail enthusiasts!

This annual Conejo Valley event always helps to put some very sweet trails into good shape. Be sure to stay afterwards for the free lunch and raffle.

Details are available on our 2017 COSCA Annual Trailwork Day event on Meetup.com. While there, register online to show your support!

Things to bring:

• work gloves
• long pants and long sleeved shirt
• water, snack
• sunglasses and sunblock

Tools and instructions on how to use them safely will be provided. There will be a free thank-you lunch and prize give-away afterwards from noon until 2:00 pm.

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!

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.

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.

Help with the Grasslands Trail Reroute in Malibu Creek State Park April 22

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

To help celebrate Earth Day (April 22, 2017), there will be a major trail building and restoration event in Malibu Creek State Park. CORBA and a number of other groups are combining their efforts to, among other things, build a new trail to replace the segment of the Grasslands Trail that was closed several years ago, shown in the photo below.

The new trail will replace the closed, ecologically damaging fall-line trail with a longer one that descends more gently to the bottom of the hill.

The work will mostly involve finishing the roughed-in trail that will have been plowed out by a SWECO trail bulldozer.

All tools will be provided, as well as instructions on how to use them safely and effectively, by experienced trail crew leaders. No experience needed – everyone works at a rate they’re comfortable with and takes lots of breaks. Bring a snack to eat on the trail; lunch will be provided.

Wear sturdy hiking boots with good lugs, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sunglasses, sunblock and a hat, and bring water, snacks. Bring work gloves if you have them. We have a few pairs we can loan to people without.

This is a combined project between the National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, CORBA and others.

Help us prepare for the event by registering online at https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/237532161/ Full details are available on the registration page.

 

Trail Days 2017: We Need Your Help to Restore Sycamore Canyon Trails April 29, 30!

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Once 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 Mountains 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 dinner 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!

Some of the trails were severely damaged by the winter rains so we’ll need lots of help to repair them this year.

Pre-registration is requested by April 25th so we’ll know how many people to prepare for.

Schedule at a glance

Friday night April 28 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 29Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 30Trailwork, 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 18th!

Saturday Registration: https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/238094221/
Sunday Registration: https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/238094287/

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 – 7:30 am and 4:30 pm Sunday – 7:30 am

DEPART: Saturday – 4 pm and about 9 pm. Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm

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