Archive for the ‘Trail Crew’ Category

Help restore Ken Burton Trail, Nov 7, 8

Thursday, October 29th, 2015
The trail is heavily overgrown

The trail is heavily overgrown


We have been waiting for some time to begin work on the Ken Burton trail. This much-loved trail was built by the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association in the early 90s, creating a loopable route with Brown Mountain and the Gabrielino Trail. CORBA used a generous grant of $10,000 from REI to help fund the restoration of the Gabrielino Trail from Paul Little to Oakwilde Campground. We coordinated with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps who continue to work on the segment north of Oakwilde this fall.

CORBA and MWBA have been given permission to work on Ken Burton, and to connect it to the restored section of the Gabrielino. Once completed, we’ll be asking the Forest Service to open the Brown, Ken Burton, Gabrilieno loop route to the public.

We have scheduled a work weekend on the 7th/8th of November. Logistics require us to haul in tools and equipment by Bob Trailer. Most of the two days of work will entail cutting back brush. Surprisingly, much of the tread is in good condition, and most of the switchbacks appear to be generally intact. This says a lot about the quality of construction by the MWBA’s pioneers and their dedication to quality trail building. Only a few wire baskets have failed out of the many that were used.

Please RSVP for the trailwork on our meetup group at http://meetup.com/corbamtb or on the MWBA Facebook page.

IMPORTANT:

When: Meet Saturday, November 7, 2015, 7:30.a.m. Windsor and Ventura parking lot.  Ride up to
the top of upper Brown Mountain fire road starting at 8, and meet there at 9:15. We’ll work until about 1 p.m before riding back down.

Sunday, November 8, 2015, meet at 7:45 a.m. at Windsor and Ventura Parking lot. Ride  up at 8 a.m..

You may come out for either or both days.

What to bring:

Eye protection (cycling style sunglasses are fine), work gloves (if you have them), sunscreen, water and trail food, sturdy shoes. You are required to wear long pants and long sleeves, though these can be packed for the ride up and changed into at the top. We’ll be supplying forest-service required hard-hats, gloves and tools. A GMRS radio could also be helpful.

What to expect:

Experienced trail crew members will be using power tools (hedge trimmers, etc) to clear brush; others will clear the cuttings from the trail and do minor tread work. You’ll need to sign a waiver for CORBA, and a Job Hazard Analysis for the Forest Service. If under 18, be accompanied by a parent or guardian, at least to sign the waiver before we start, and assign a guardian who will be with us. People should be familiar with the ride up and the location. Those hauling trailers are welcome to take off early, and they can be briefed on safety at the top.

The ride in will be about 7 miles with 2000′ of elevation gain on a mix of fire road, double track and singletrack. Expect to ride all the way up, though there’s a few possible hike-a-bikes. We expect everyone to be at the upper Ken Burton trailhead by 9:15 and ready to hike down the trail and begin work.

We’ll be clearing brush, removing vegetation growing on the tread or leaning over the trail corridor, approximately 4 – 5 feet either side of the center of the tread. There will be some tread repair in a few places where the trail bench cut has been filled with slough, and some light tread grooming over other areas. We’ll break at about 11, take an assessment of how everyone feels and see who wants to continue. We hope to finish work about 1, and be heading back to our bikes for the descent back to the bottom.

Afterwards, those who wish may join us for lunch at a location to be announced.

Those hauling bob trailers should understand what an extra 50 pounds feels like on a ride like this, and have something left over to do trailwork. If you’re interested in hauling a trailer (a smaller chainring is helpful) post in the comments or contact Steve [at] corbamtb.com.

Severe weather cancels the event, including heavy rain, high fire danger and/or high wind, or other circumstances. Check CORBA’s pages on either Meetup or Facebook before you head out just to make sure that we’re still on.  November 15 will be a backup day in case of weather cancellation.

We hope to see you there showing how much you love and miss our trails and that mountain bikers are one of the most active stewards of the trails.

 

20151015006-Ken Burton Trailwork Scouting

Typical trail conditions

 

Building a new trail in Wildwood Park during the COSCA Annual Trailwork Day on Oct 17, and photos

Monday, October 19th, 2015

IMG_0816163 volunteers, including 16 from CORBA, built 3/4 miles of new trail, and an alternate access to the bottom of the Lizard Rock Trail in Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks, for the COSCA (Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency) Annual Trailwork Day. The new trail bypasses the steepest segment and has a better view because it faces more to the west, away from the Hill Canyon water treatment plant.

Volunteers started arriving at Santa Rosa Valley County Park shortly before 7:30, registered and picked up their package of goodies before getting on one of the shuttles that took them 1.3 miles to the trailhead. There they formed into crews of ten or so, each with it’s own experienced crew leader, grabbed tools and hiked up the trail to the work area. Once there, the crew leaders explained to the other volunteers what the work would be, how to use the tools effectively to accomplish that, and above all, how to work safely so there wouldn’t be any injuries.

IMG_0841Most of the new trail was across a steep slope so our job was to dig out the dirt to form a nearly level trail tread. The brush had previously been cut back and the exact path of the trail marked by bright orange flags so we would know where to dig. The area that my crew was working happened to have relatively few rocks mixed in with the dirt so the work went very quickly, but most of the other crews had a lot of rocks to dig out. The most time-consuming part of the work was pushing the excavated dirt far enough down the hill from the trail so that it would be clear to visitors that it wasn’t part of the firm trail tread.

Steve Messer, president of CORBA, takes trailwork seriously!

Steve Messer, president of CORBA, takes trailwork seriously!

My crew finished our section in about an hour and a half, so we moved down to the bottom of the trail to help there. The work was the same but went quite a bit more slowly because we had a lot more rocks to deal with and we weren’t as fresh as at the start. But as other crews finished their sections, they came down and pitched in too. Overall, we got the trail finished about a half hour sooner than planned for.

Everybody headed back to Santa Rosa Valley County Park, either by shuttle bus or on foot, for the barbecue that the COSCA rangers famously prepare for the volunteers every year. The lunch was followed by a give-away of trail-related items, the most significant being a new mountain bike donated by Giant Bicycles in Newbury Park. Both the lunch and gifts were to thank the volunteers for their hard work.

The COSCA rangers are cooking up a smokin' barbecue lunch for the volunteers!

The COSCA rangers are cooking up a smokin’ barbecue lunch for the volunteers!

All the volunteers did a great job! Besides CORBA, there was a strong representation from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, high-school mountain bike teams from Newbury Park and Calabasas, several Meetup groups, geocachers and others organizations. It takes the support of these organizations and the participation from the volunteers to make the trailwork day the success that it always is. I know COSCA appreciates their effort and we at CORBA heartily thank everybody for their contributions!

You can find more photos of the event at our photo gallery of the 2015 trailwork day.

 

 

In addition, two videos have come to light of this workday,
from geocacher GSXM2: https://youtu.be/RCErrPdANUA
from chillinconejo.com/: https://youtu.be/7deSC-FfvMw

 

Third (and final?) restoration day on the Backbone Trail between Mulholland and Ezt Meloy to be Oct 31

Monday, October 19th, 2015

On two previous occasions in the past year, CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council crews have teamed up to tackle overgrowing brush and drainage issues on the section of the Backbone Trail that climbs from Mulholland Highway to Etz Meloy Fireroad. This 2.5-mile long sections is a favorite for mountain bikers because of the gentle grade, swooping turns and great views of the Malibu coastal area.

With the heavy rains that El Nino is expected to give us this year, we really would like to get this trail finished to prevent water erosion damage. And we could use lots of help from volunteers!

For details and to register so we’ll know how many people to plan for, please visit our Meetup trailwork signup page. Remember, CORBA will take you to lunch afterwards to thank you for your help!

Report on the 34th Annual Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days, April 24-26, and photos

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

For the most extensive trailwork weekend of the year, 150 volunteers signed up on Saturday, the first day of the 34th annual SMM Trail Days, to help restore trails in Point Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon). Another fifty signed up for the following Sunday. The theme for the weekend was to restore trails damaged by the December floods.

On Saturday, the workers split into about 10 crews. Most of them worked on trails in the State Wilderness, east of the main Sycamore Canyon Trail. The CORBA crew of 17 shuttled to the bottom of Guadalasca and hiked to their work area. We were to build rideable paths in three locations where stream crossings had been destroyed. At the first location, the stream had left a culvert half exposed. Some rocks had been piled against it, making a bit of a ramp to help ride across, but it was still quite a hazard. We left some of our crew there to build up more rocks over the exposed culvert to smooth the crossing. When we hiked back down, were we ever surprised to find that they had completely covered the culvert, filling up the bottom of the stream bed to a few inches above the top of the pipe, and the width of the culvert, about 15 feet! You would never have known that the culvert was almost washed away in that flood!

IMG_0735CompBefore we got to the second work site, we encountered a tree that had fallen across the trail. It had burned in the Springs Fire (May 2013) and had just fallen a few days earlier. We spent about 20 minutes pushing it to the side of the trail.

IMG_0816At the second site, the water had eroded the banks, leaving a vertical drop of about four feet down to the stream bed on both sides, with a gap of about 10′ between. Here, another group was to build a ramp down to the level of the stream bed, then another ramp up the other side. This work took special care because environmental regulations do not allow us to move dirt from the bank into the course of the stream, even though it’s completely dry. (This is to keep dirt from clouding the stream and ocean, interfering with the ability of fish to migrate and reproduce.) When building the ramps, the team carefully dug into the dirt, dragged it away from the bank and put it into buckets. The buckets were carried up the trail where the dirt was used to fill in ruts.

IMG_0800The remainder of the CORBA crew continued hiking up the trail almost another mile to the third work site. Here the flood had again destroyed the crossing, leaving a drop of about four feet at the edge of the trail. We were to realign the trail to move it a few feet away from this drop. Again, we had to carefully remove the dirt from the edge of the stream, relocating it into ruts up the trail by way of buckets.

The first and third team finished before the end of the work day, so they went to the aid of the second team. They had the biggest project by far; however, there was only so much that could be done at once due to the confined area of the work.

At about 2:00 pm, everyone hiked back down the trail to catch the shuttles back to the staging/camping/bath/eating area at the Danielson Multiuse camp. We spent the afternoon relaxing and chatting. Meanwhile, the State Park Staff volunteers were stoking the wood-fired grill and making other preparations for the barbecue dinner, consisting of tri-tip, chicken, veggie burgers, baked beans, salad and garlic toast.

In line for the barbecue dinner

In line for the barbecue dinner

Dinner was followed by the raffle, where almost everyone (and perhaps everyone) won an outdoor recreational objet de swag of some sort. The people whose tickets were drawn first won some really, really good prizes!

View the photos of Saturday trailwork, the R&R area and barbecue dinner in CORBA’s photo gallery.

The work crew when the ramps are finished

The work crew when the ramps are finished

The work day on Sunday is always a lot smaller than Saturday, so we broke up into just three crews. The CORBA crew of 10 returned to Guadalasca to finish off the middle stream crossing. It was a bit of a race to get it finished by 11:40, as the shuttle was to pick us up at noon at the bottom of the trail, but we did it, just scraping by! We moved a huge amount of dirt, digging out those two ramps, and filled in a lot of ruts on the nearby trail.

Both days, dozens of mountain bikers passed through our work area. Most of them thanked us for our work as they went by, recognizing that they wouldn’t have to carry their bikes across the streams when we were finished. A few stopped to ask how they could find out about future trailwork events so they could help out too.

View the photos of Sunday trailwork on Guadalasca in CORBA’s photo gallery.

Back at the staging area, we had a lunch of leftovers, followed by another raffle drawing for Sunday’s volunteers. We departed the park about 1:30 – time for a shower!

Thanks to the CORBA volunteers and the many others who put on and attended this event, helping to keep these popular State Park trails in great condition!

Santa Monica Mtns Trail Days at Sycamore Canyon Apr 24-26

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

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 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 24 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 25Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 26Trailwork, 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/221130358/
Sunday Registration: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/221130376/

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.

Another successful COSCA Trail Work Day held March 21st

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Over 100 volunteers, including 16 from CORBA, gathered in the Hill Canyon region of Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks to help with the 2015 COSCA Spring Trail Work Day. The volunteers broke into six crews and worked on three different trails.

Crews 1 and 2 worked on the Gas Line Road, a dirt road that leads from Hill Canyon to the Canyon Overlook Trail that was build during the 2012 Spring COSCA Trail Work Day. Most people cleared loose rocks from the road and filled in some ruts, while a few built a short access singletrack from the parking area at the bottom.

CORBA volunteers pose in front of the ditch to keep rain water off the chicane near the bottom of the Lizard Rock Trail.

CORBA volunteers pose in front of the ditch to keep rain water off the chicane near the bottom of the Lizard Rock Trail.

Three crews worked the bottom of Lizard Rock Trail, leveling the tread where ruts had started to form, clearing overgrowing brush, building a reroute of a few hundred feet, and building a long ditch to keep water off a chicane. The latter is where the CORBA crew worked, and spent most of their effort.

Among the CORBA volunteers were five members of the Calabasas high school mountain biking club and two parents. There was another contingent from Newbury Park High School working with one of the other crews.

The final crew worked on the Eagle Point Trail, clearing dirt from the many steps and doing brush removal.

The Santa Monica Trails Council trail crew did much of the preparatory work, and fielded crew leaders for all crews except for CORBA’s.

All the volunteers gathered back at the parking area about noon for the barbecue provided by the COSCA rangers. The turn out was unexpectedly large, about double previous years; even so there were plenty of burgers (beef and veggie), hot dogs, chips and sodas for everybody.

Thanks to the CORBA volunteers and others for helping to keep the local trails in great condition!

You can see more photos of the event in our photo gallery.

Topanga State Park Fire Road Maintenance

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

California State Parks will be performing maintenance on all fire roads throughout the park. The project is underway and will take several weeks. This is considered routine maintenance, to restore the fire roads to their intended purpose, as well as to prevent further degradation of the roads and impacts to the environment.

Eagle Springs Loop now undergoing road maintenance

Eagle Springs Loop now undergoing road maintenance

Every time maintenance of this type is done, we know that there are many experienced mountain bikers who don’t like the changes. Having our favorite “challenging sections” smoothed over often comes as a surprise. On the other hand, some riders welcome the improvements. But regardless, the fire roads will change.

Why is this being done? Fire roads are primarily transportation corridors for fire fighting, emergency vehicle access, administrative work within the parks, and for recreation. Over time, all dirt fire roads degrade and begin to develop ruts and water channels form. Once the ruts begin to form, rain will then extend and deepen those ruts. This creates additional challenge for cyclists, but it also makes it more difficult for the State Parks administration to do their job of managing the park. Their primary mission is to preserve the park and it’s natural resources for us and our future generations.

Currently fire road maintenance work is being done on the Eagle Springs loop to repair existing damage, reduce future maintenance needs, and to provide additional protection of the environment. The Regional Water Quality Control Board mandates State Parks and other land managers to reduce sediments washed into the creeks and streams. Studies have demonstrated that fire roads are major contributors to this problem. State Parks had to determine which fire roads were causing the most erosion and sediment runoff in both Malibu Creek State Park and Topanga State Park. They have identified Eagle Springs loop as a priority project.

State Parks are currently outsloping as many areas of the roads as possible. We always try to outslope trails when we do trail maintenance. Outsloping helps shed water off the trail or road. Insloped roads carry and channel water and the more water carried causes more erosion. In some particularly bad areas in Topanga State Park, roads have lost about five feet of material across the whole eighteen feet of width of the road.

The sediment washed off these roads heavily impacts streams and creeks in the parks as it makes its way to Santa Monica Bay. On a state-wide basis State Parks has turned to outsloping all back country roads and trails. This has shown to reduce erosion and be a more sustainable maintenance practice. In the long run sediment runoff will be greatly reduced, further protecting the streams, creeks and the environment as a whole.

Eagle Rock Fire Road was given the highest priority in Topanga since it showed the heaviest erosion. It was no longer accessible by vehicles. It was also causing damage and erosion on Musch Trail, which joins the road.

State Parks appreciates your understanding, and CORBA, supports their efforts to reduce impacts to the environment. We all want to protect the places we play and ride. If that means grading over a section of road to make it more sustainable, we’re fine with that. The alternative is to decommission the road and close it to all users, something none of want to see.

During and for some time after construction, the roads will not be very pretty, and may be soft and loose until the tread gets packed down. In time, they’ll return to a more natural looking state. Most mountain bike injuries occur on fire roads, due to the ease with which we can gain speed. So as we ride these newly graded roads, remember to be safe, and that there is a 15mph speed limit on all trails and fire roads within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

 

 

Report on Feb 28 Bark Park Trail Restoration, and Photos

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

The New Millennium Loop trail system in Calabasas is very popular among mountain bikers and others, but it has very little if any maintenance since the trails were built a number of years ago as part of The Oaks gated community. In general, they have held up pretty well, but nature is taking its relentless toll.

Recently, high-schoolers with the SoCal High School Cycling League, with help from CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, have been helping to restore these trails. On January 31, they helped complete a new trail along the Historic Loop segment that bypasses the swamp. This past Saturday, February 28th, ten kids from Calabasas and Newbury Park mountain bike clubs and 5 young sailors from Naval Base Ventura County, with guidance from CORBA and Trails Council trail crew leaders, repaired about 0.8 miles of the Bark Park Trail.

Young sailors working on an upslope switchback drainage

Young sailors working on an upslope switchback drainage

With the heavy rains in December, ruts started to develop along the trail and a sinkhole about 6′ long and 3-4′ deep appeared. We were going to fix that and address the drainage issues on the trail above it that caused it to appear. Sometime in the couple of weeks before our trailwork day, someone filled in the sinkhole, saving us some time, but we still needed to widen and level the trail around where it had been. Also, the tread had to be repaired so the water would run off it, rather than down it and enlarging the ruts.

Over the next few hours, about 15-20 drainage nicks were built and parts of the trail were restored to their original flat but slightly out-sloped state, to enable rainwater to run straight off the outside edge. Three switchback drains were also cleared of vegetation and silt to restore them to their original condition.

When we were finished, we moved to nearby Sharky’s for a hearty lunch of Mexican food.

You can see more photos of the event in our Bark Park trailwork photo gallery. Thanks to the high-schoolers and sailors who came out to help – everyone did a great job!

COSCA Spring Trailwork Day March 21st

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Come out and join the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), CORBA, the Santa Monica Trails Council and other volunteers for the Annual COSCA Spring Trailwork Day. We will be working to restore part of the Lizard Rock Trail, and other nearby trails that are accessible from Hill Canyon in Wildwood Park.

At noon, following the morning of trail-building, workers will be treated to hamburgers / vegi-burgers, chips, fruit and drinks while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow trail enthusiasts!

Wear protective clothing (long-legged pants, long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses), sturdy shoes, gloves, hat and sunscreen.

No experience is necessary and you work at a pace that is comfortable for you. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided. Must be 18+ years of age or accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult. Beware of poison oak, ticks & rattlesnakes.

Follow directions of park rangers and trail crew leaders at all times.

Pre-registration is required so that COSCA will have enough tools, crew leaders and food!

Directions to the meeting place and other details are included on the online registration page.

Report on Feb 21 Wood Canyon Vista Trail Restoration, and Photos

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

As part of the restoration process of the trails in Pt Mugu State Park after the heavy rains and mudslides in December 2014, twelve volunteers from CORBA, along with about two dozen hikers, trail runners and navy personnel, spent this past Saturday working on the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, a segment of the Backbone Trail. Trail crew leaders from CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council led the volunteers, showing them how to properly, safely and effectively fix the trails using hand tools.

We had three tasks: repairing the ruts caused by water flowing down the middle of the trail, creating and repairing drains to direct water off of it, and leveling the tread where mud had flowed across it, making it uneven.

About two weeks previously, a smaller crew had worked on the bottom one-third mile of this 1.8-mile long trail. The remaining 1.4 miles was split into three; CORBA was assigned the lowest third. The trail runners worked on the top third after most of them ran to their work area from the parking on Potrero Road. The rest of us carpooled from Potrero to the bottom of the trail on the main Sycamore Canyon Trail in as few cars as possible.

Fields of wildflowers surrounded us as we worked to restore the trail.

Fields of wildflowers surrounded us as we worked to restore the trail.

On the hike to the work area and during the frequent rest breaks, we took in and talked about the carpets of green and fields of wildflowers next to the trails – lupines, California poppies, wild hyacinths (blue dicks), shooting stars and more. I’ve never seen so many wildflowers there before, and never more than a few California poppies. On Saturday, we saw thousand of them, if not tens of thousands, with every indication that there would be more to come! The last time we were here was after the Springs Fire when the ground was barren and charred. What a difference a little rain can make!

When we were finished, long stretches of the trail were leveled to remove the center rut, and many drainage nicks were cleared of debris or built anew. In some places, the old ones were so full and covered by grass that we couldn’t tell where they used to be.

All in all, a great group of volunteers contributed to another successful trail restoration project!

You can view more photos in our photo gallery for this project.