Archive for the ‘Trail Crew’ Category

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.

COSCA Volunteers Built a New 1.2-Mile Trail with Spectacular Views

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

About 120 volunteers arrived at 7:30 Saturday morning, October 19, to help build a new trail in the Western Plateau area of Thousand Oaks for the 23rd Annual COSCA Trailwork Day. Eleven of these volunteers had registered through CORBA. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council made a huge contribution as most of Saturday’s 12 crew leaders were members of their Trail Crew. Other crew leaders were from CORBA or were COSCA rangers.

Workers hike up the new trail to their work areas. People on the distant ridge show where the trail will go.

Workers hike up the new trail to their work areas. People on the distant ridge show where the trail will go.

The new trail starts 2 miles from the new Hill Canyon bridge near Santa Rosa County Park. Volunteers hiked in, or caught a ride with the 4×4 vehicles that drove the tools to the new trailhead. After picking up their tools and learning about safety during trailwork, the dozen teams of about 10 headed up to their designated work areas.Most of the new trail is on soft, crumbly dirt on a hillside with a gentle cross-slope. The grass and chaparral had already been cut away, so most of the work involved scraping the dirt to remove the last stubbles of grass and making a 5% outslope so water would run across and off it, rather than down the middle, cutting a rut.

However, there some switchbacks and rocks that were in the way, so some crews had rock bars to help them along.

Mark Langton, CORBA's president, takes the first run down the partially completed trail. Workers on the ridge above indicate where the trail goes.

Mark Langton, CORBA’s president, takes the first run down the partially completed trail. Workers on the ridge above indicate where the trail goes.

The new trail, yet to be named, climbs the east end of the  southern ridge above the Western Plateau. In many places it is quite close to the edge and so provides amazing views of both Hill Canyon and the rest of the Western Plateau.Everybody headed back about 11:15 to get to the thank-you lunch, barbecued by COSCA rangers, and the prize giveaway. As always, the rangers did a superb job with lunch. About a dozen people won prizes, including the grand prize of a new Giant mountain bike.

The photo gallery shows many of the volunteers on the new trail, and gives you an idea of how some of the views will look. Why not go through them to see if you recognize anybody!?

COSCA Annual Trailwork Day Oct 19th

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Come out and join the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), CORBA, the Santa Monica Trails Council and other volunteers for the 23rd Annual COSCA Trailwork Day in Thousand Oak. We will be working on new trails in the Conejo Canyons Open Space (aka Western Plateau).

COSCA will treat participants to lunch afterwards and have a drawing for some great door prizes, including CST tires contributed by CORBA.

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

Backbone Trailwork from Latigo Cyn Road Nov 9th

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Join CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council as we fix up the Backbone Trail near Latigo Canyon Road. We’ll be doing treadwork, clearing silt out of the drainages and possibly building some new ones. Our work on Saturday will help keep the water off the trail and prevent the ruts from getting bigger and swallowing the trail!

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/143256862/  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 2:00 pm, so bring some snacks to tide you over.

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

June 15 Guadalasca Trailwork Report and Photo Gallery

Monday, June 17th, 2013

This past Saturday, about 30 volunteers from CORBA, North Ranch Mountain Bikers, Girls Gone Riding, DirtChix, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, the Ventura County Trail Runners and others came together at the top of the Guadalasca singletrack in Pt Mugu State Park to groom the trail after it had been levelled by a small bulldozer, fondly known as a Sweco.

The huge rut in front of the Sweco is filled in behind it.

The huge rut in front of the Sweco is filled in behind it.

As explained in our previous blog, State Parks has wanted for some time to fix the huge ruts and drainage problems on Guadalasca. The recent Springs Fire provided added incentive and also opportunity. Incentive came because unless something was done, rainwater would race down the denuded hillsides, carrying ash and mud with it, run onto the trails and then down it, futher erroding the already deep ruts, and also clogging it with crud. Opportunity came from the lack of brush along the trail edge, and overgrowing it, that normally impedes treadwork, and by the eagerness of volunteers to pitch in to help repair the trail and protect it from long-term damage as a result of the fire. On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, Dale Skinner, hands-on head of trail maintenance for State Parks in the Santa Monica Mountains, used the Sweco to push down the berm (the hump on the outside edge of the trail that keeps water from running off) and fill in the huge rut. He also pushed large rocks off the trail.

The Sweco leaves the trail generally level, but very loose and rough. Also there are a number of rocks of various sizes mixed in with the loose dirt. To finish the trail, any remaining berm must be removed, rocks larger than walnuts are swept off the trail, and the surface is sloped outwards so water will run across it and off, rather than down it. On Saturday, the volunteers along with Dale and two other State Parks staff, carpooled and caravanned to the top of Hell Hill, then hiked the 1.3 miles to the top of the singletrack section where work would begin.

Workers at the front of the line rough in the new surface from how the Sweco left it
Workers at the front of the line rough in the new surface from how the Sweco left it

We broke into four groups, each of which occupied about 20-30′ of the trail. The leading group fixed the biggest problems, the last group made sure the trail was in as good condition as it could be, and the two intervening groups sequentially improved the trail as they went. Every 10-15 minutes, the groups shifted down so that each one was working where the group in front of it had been, and the leading group had fresh trail to address.

The result was basically an assembly line of trail improvement, with raw Sweco’d trail and the start, and smooth, flat and fairly well packed trail at the end.

When we got to a switchback, some of the workers broke off and helped build a stone wall to fortify it, and may have built special drainages to keep the water from running around it and down the trail.

We were scheduled to be back at the cars by 3:00 pm, which meant we needed to finish work on the trail by about 1:30 so we would have time to get back. Dale had Sweco’d about 0.7 miles of the singletrack, but by 1:15 we still had a couple hundred feet to finish. We didn’t have time for that, so instead we pulled down as much berm as possible so rainwater would be able to get off the trail. (We don’t know when we’ll get a chance to work on this trail again other than it won’t be until the fall at the earliest.)

The newly finished trail

The newly finished trail

The trail was amazingly improved after we had been down it, compared to how the Sweco left it, but still it was somewhat loose. Fortunately, the nature of the dirt there is that it packs down very quickly and the couple dozen mountain bikers who rode by as we were working helped a lot to pack it down. The next day it was packed well enough that a good biker could ride up it without much difficulty, so it should only take a couple of weekends of riders to pack it down to about 90% of normal.

After we got back to the cars, CORBA had their customary gift give-away to show appreciation to the volunteers who donated their time to help fix the trail, and then about a dozen of us headed to Magoos in Newbury Park for CORBA’s thank-you lunch.

You can view the trail crew at work and thank-you activities afterwards in our Guadalasca trailwork photo gallery.

Lunch at Magoos

Lunch at Magoos

There is no question that all the volunteers had a good time working on the trails and recognized that it was in much better shape when we left it than before the Sweco went down it. For many volunteers, this was the first time they had done any trailwork, and they were surprised by how much fun it was and how much the group accomplished, and were delighted to have the chance to give back to the trails they use every week.

CORBA and the other groups would like to extend a super “Thank-You” to the volunteers who came out to help – you deserve a great big pat on the back!

84 Drains! Report on June 8 Pt Mugu State Parks Trailwork after the Springs Fire, and photo gallery

Monday, June 10th, 2013

IMG_4590This past Saturday, 22 CORBA volunteers, along with others from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, Calabasas Day Hikers, a local boy scout troop and Coyote trail runners, hiked up the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, part of the Backbone Trail system, in Point Mugu State Park, to repair the trail after the Springs Fire a few weeks ago, and prepare it for the fall and winter rains.

The trail had already been cleared of fallen chaparral, so the goal on Saturday was to build new drains and fix existing ones to get the water off it as quickly as possible. With many hillsides completely devoid of vegetation, any heavy rain will wash ash, dirt and other debris down onto the trail, turning some sections into piles of silt, and others into huge ruts. To prevent that, we built or rebuilt 84 drainage “nicks” along the 1.8 mile trail.

Though normal use, a trail becomes “cupped;” the edges are higher than the middle; the higher outside edge is called the “berm.” Water that flows onto a cupped trail, whether it falls on it directly as rain, or runs down from the hillside above, will run straight down the trail like a bobsled chute, carving a deeper and deeper rut as it gains speed and volume on its way to the bottom.

A drainage "nick" diverts water off the trail

A drainage “nick” diverts water off the trail

A nick is a shallow, oblong depression on the trail, offset so the deepest part is at the downslope edge of the trail and cuts through the berm that would otherwise block the water from running off. The nick should extend into the trail just far enough to include the deepest part (the section that is most cupped or rutted). Water running down a trail will run out the nick rather than continuing down the trail.When constructed properly, the nick should not be noticed by most trail users, and will be gentle enough that mountain bikers might notice a small bump, if anything at all. It should definitely not be a hazard that could buck a biker off the seat.

I prefer to build nicks with a small “ramp” just downhill of them. A ramp is a very shallow mound of dirt that raises the height of the trail an inch or two just below the nick, helping to keep water from running down the trail by diverting it out the nick. A nick with a downhill ramp doesn’t have to be dug as deep as one without. Unfortunately the dirt was so dry, a ramp would be just a pile of dust that would be scattered to nether regions as trail users passed through.

IMG_4566Overall, we built 84 nicks. About 2/3 of them were new; the rest were old ones that were cleaned out or rebuilt. Of those, some already had downhill ramps; I think they will turn out to be the most effective and resilient.

You can see photos of the volunteers and the work they accomplished in our June 8th Trailwork Photo Gallery.

After the work was finished, we had the customary mountain bike prize giveaway followed by a lunch provided by CORBA to show our appreciation for our volunteers.

Thanks to everyone who came out to help keep our trails in great shape and survive the winter rains!