Archive for the ‘Trail Crew’ Category

Strawberry Peak Restoration Update

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Station fire damage to Strawberry Peak trail

Station fire damage to Strawberry Peak trail

Strawberry Peak is one of the most loved areas in the Angeles National Forest. It suffered devastating damage during the El Niño storms following the Station Fire. After the fire the trail was impassable and has remained closed to all users, even as much of the surrounding burn areas have opened up.

The Strawberry Peak and Colby Canyon trails together comprise the classic Strawberry Peak Loop. CORBA and the Boy Scouts have worked to restore the Gabrielino trail, the third leg of the classic loop, over several trailwork days since the Station Fire. It is open and in good shape.

During our initial surveys of Strawberry Peak trail, it became clear that one particularly problematic section of the trail could benefit from a complete re-route. This section, where the Strawberry Peak trail leaves the old Barley Flats fire road, is a fall-line rocky chute that was difficult to ride even before the fire. After the fire, it became a 4′ deep rocky rut for most of its length. Trail users (who should not be in the closed area) have been steadily widening this section of trail as they go around the ruts and rocks.

Restored Strawberry Peak trail

Restored Strawberry Peak trail

CORBA planned the re-route during our IMBA Trail Care Crew visit in 2012. About 30 class attendees and volunteers worked on the trail and learned how to flag out and prepare a new trail route. The re-route plans were submitted to the Forest Service for environmental review. The review process took about six months. We were required to power wash tools, among other things, to avoid spread of invasives. (CORBA’s tools are used in many different jurisdictions in Southern California).

In late 2012, CORBA received an REI grant of $10,000 for the restoration of the Strawberry Peak loop. We purchased some new tools, and fed volunteers on our trailwork days, and sought professional help. The National Forest Foundation funded the Los Angeles Conservation Corps for this and several other Station Fire damaged trails. Together, we solicited the services of Bellfree Contractors, a professional trailbuilding company, to restore many of the larger slide areas, burned sutter walls and downed trees. CORBA also paid over $2500 of our discretionary funds for professional trailbuilding services. We coordinated with the Sierra Club volunteer trail crew who also worked on the Strawberry Peak and Colby Canyon trails.

strawberry peak trail crew Volunteers, February 16, 2014

Volunteers, February 16, 2014

On February 16, CORBA had 22 volunteers come out for trailwork. We rode or hiked in the 3 miles to the Strawberry-Lawlor saddle, and worked on the trail as far down as Strawberry Springs. Those who rode or hiked in were very happy to be back on the closed trail. We accomplished a lot, clearing about .6 miles of trail, building three rock retaining walls at drainages, cutting and widening the trail bench, and removing slough.

The LACC and Bellfree Contractors had cleared and restored much of the Colby Canyon trail from Josephine Saddle to the Strawberry Potrero. After their work, it was in better shape than before the fire.

On March 16 we returned with about 17 CORBA and MWBA volunteers. We rode in 2.5 with Bob trailers about 2.5 miles, and restored the trail all the way to Strawberry-Lawlor saddle. With the re-route completed, the ride in was much better. There was poodle dog to remove, and slough from the one big winter storm of 2014. 

We will return to the trail during May, date TBD. There is still work to be done, including the repair of composite retaining walls, brushing and the ongoing need for routine maintenance.

With CORBA, Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, Sierra Club, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, National Forest Foundation and a professional contractor working together, the Strawberry Peak loop restoration has been progressing nicely.

Riding in to trailwork with Bob trailers

Riding in to trailwork with Bob trailers

The Station Fire Closure order is in effect until May 24, 2014. The Forest Service is assessing the burn area and the trails to determine whether to renew the closure order, modify it, or let it expire. The section of the Strawberry Peak trail north to Upper Big Tujunga Canyon needs a substantial re-route, planning for which has begun. Even if the Forest Service lifts the closure, we expect the Strawberry Peak trail from the junction with Colby Canyon trail north to Upper Big Tujunga to remain closed, or be subject to a seasonal or temporary closure. Because of the need for a re-route, this section of the trail has not yet been worked on.

CORBA would like to thank all the volunteers who came out to our trailwork days; to REI for their generous grant that made the restoration and professional help possible; to the Sierra Club, National Forest Foundation and Los Angeles Conservation Corps for their efforts, and to Bellfree Contractors for their professional assistance.

 

Ergon Donates Product

Friday, March 28th, 2014

phoroLong-time CORBA supporter Ergon has again come through with a generous donation of their popular grips and saddles. These items will be used as rewards for volunteers who participate in CORBA trail work events (click here for more details), as well as other events.

This latest Ergon donation includes more than 30 items, such as ergonomic grip/bar-end combination grips, as well as more conventional padded grips, and ergonomic saddles which can be used for both road or mountain bike riding.

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!

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.

More Backbone Trailwork near Latigo Cyn Road Jan 25th

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Join CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council as we return to the the Backbone Trail near Latigo Canyon Road. This time we’ll mostly be clearing brush along the 1.5 miles from the trailhead to Newton Motorway (AKA, The Saddle). We’ll also be touching up some of the drainage nicks we put in during our last visit here, and possibly adding a few more.

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 at http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/154081722/  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 2:30 pm, so bring some snacks to tide you over.

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

Nov 9th Backbone Trailwork Report and Photos

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

On November 9th, twelve CORBA volunteers teamed up with six from the SMMTC to work on the Backbone Trail east of Latigo Canyon Road, on the steep climb up towards Newton Motorway (AKA “The Saddle”).

Cleaning out a drainage so the water will flow off the trail

Cleaning out a drainage so the water will flow off the trail. Note the rut and loose rocks on the trail at the left

It has been several years since any treadwork has been done on this section of the trail, and it showed. The drainages had filled in with silt so that rainwater was running down the trail, creating a rut in the middle and scattering small loose rocks over it. Combined, these made it a real challenge to climb, and the trail was getting wider as people hiked and rode the edges to avoid the rut and loose rocks.

CORBA volunteers repaired and installed about 15 drainage nicks that together will keep the ruts from getting worse. Meanwhile, two SMMTC volunteers repaired an armoring wall and rebuilt the trail above it. (An armoring wall protects the downslope hillside from developing a deep rut from the water that runs off the trail, eventually undermining the trail.) Four other SMMTC volunteers worked closer to the Latigo Cyn Rd parking area to clear brush from the trail edges.

Overall, the drains were fixed over 0.36 miles, and brush cleared from about 1000′ of trail.

Afterwards, CORBA volunteers were treated to a prize drawing and lunch at the Urbane Cafe to thank them for their help. Job well done, everybody!

To get a better idea of the happenings, you can view the photo gallery of this trailwork.