Archive for the ‘Trail Crew’ Category

Wood Canyon Vista Trail maintenance completed during Trail Days

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

During the annual Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days in Pt Mugu State Park, CORBA volunteers with the help of a few others repaired drains and cleared brush along the entire 1.8 miles of the Wood Canyon Vista Trail, a segment of the Backbone Trail.

Clearing brush on the Wood Canyon Vista Trail. Links to the photo galleries are at the bottom of this article.

Clearing brush on the Wood Canyon Vista Trail. Links to the photo galleries are at the bottom of this article.

The SMM Trail Days is a weekend-long event organized by the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council that has taken place at the end of April for 32 years running. As well as helping with trailwork on Saturday and Sunday morning, volunteers are able to camp over Friday and Saturday night at the Danielson Multiuse Area, enjoy a barbecue dinner on Saturday, and win great prizes on both Saturday and Sunday in appreciation for their work.

On Saturday morning, 17 CORBA Volunteers and a few others were shuttled from the registration area to the bottom of the Wood Canyon Vista Trail. We split into four groups, headed by CORBA trail crew leaders Steve Messer and Steve Clark, and Trails Council crew leaders John Kross and Greg Sweel, and started up the trail. Two of the groups focused on cleaning sediment out from existing drainage dips and cutting new drainages where needed, while the other two groups wielded loppers or a hedge trimmer to cut back overgrowing brush. In addition, we had the support of two employees of California State Parks who used a gas hedge trimmer to cut back a major overgrown section halfway up the trail. This section included lots of poison oak, so we are extremely grateful for their help!

Overall we fixed up about 1.3 miles of trail from the bottom.

While we were working on this section of the Backbone Trail, other groups were working on Coyote Trail, and in the Boney Mountain Wilderness Area, Blue Canyon Trail, Old Boney Trail and Chamberlain Trail.

Preparing dinner on Saturday night.

Preparing dinner on Saturday night.

On Sunday, a smaller group of 6 CORBA volunteers plus 3-4 others were shuttled to the top of the Wood Canyon Vista Trail so we could work down to where we had left off the day before. We split into a group with loppers led by CORBA trail crew leader Steve Clark to cut back brush, and a group with treadwork tools to clean out drainages, led by Trails Council crew leader Howard Cohen. We completed the upper section of the trail in about an hour and a half, then hiked to the bottom to catch a ride back to the registration area. On the way down we were able to take in the magnificent view of Sycamore Canyon and Boney Mountain, something we don’t have as much time to appreciate when we’re riding our bikes.

Other groups were working on the Upper Sycamore Trail and “Toe Stubber” Trail (part of Old Boney Trail) in the Wilderness Area on Sunday.

I’m very pleased with the work CORBA volunteers accomplished over the weekend! I never expected we’d get the whole trail completed. I’m also grateful for the help of a few other volunteers, and especially the State Park staff who took care of the poison oak. Without them, we wouldn’t have completed the trail.

A special thanks goes out to the Trails Council for the outstanding job they do in organizing this event, with the extras like free camping, bagel breakfasts, Saturday night BBQ dinner, and great prizes for everyone. And the rangers and other employees of the State and National Parks had a huge part in making this event such a success. All this effort ensured that the volunteers came away not only with a sense of accomplishment for helping to keep the trails in good shape, but also with great memories of the whole weekend!

Here are links to photo galleries of the weekend:

Santa Monica Mtns Trail Days at Sycamore Canyon Apr 20-22

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

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 17th so we’ll know how many people to prepare for.

Schedule at a glance

Friday night April 19 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 20Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 21Trailwork, 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 17th!

Saturday Registration: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/106405302/
Sunday Registration: http://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/106408382/

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.

 

Report on the Annual Conejo Open Space Trailwork Day, March 23

Monday, March 25th, 2013

About 60 volunteers showed up on Saturday morning to help with the annual spring trailwork day, including nine with CORBA. We met at the new bridge in Hill Canyon, then walked a mile, picked up our tools, then hiked another few hundred yards to the work site.

The morning started off quite chilly, waiting in the shade of the canyon, but as soon as we emerged into the sun, it became quite pleasant.

IMG_3848The work was to clean up after the bulldozer that had scraped the hill at the north-east end of the Western Plateau Trail.

In some ways we were sad to see that this hard-packed, rutted dirt road had been smoothed out because it had been a challenge to climb through the ruts, and was really fun to come back down it. However, the road was in such bad shape that the COSCA rangers weren’t able to get their trucks up it.

There are plans to build new trails in the area of the Western Plateau. Being able to drive people and equipment up means that it will be easier to plan and build these new trails, so we’ll be able to use them sooner. Also, 4×4 vehicles have been illegally driving on the Western Plateau, damaging the trails, roads and creating tracks and bare spots in the open space. They had been doing this with relative impunity because the rangers weren’t able to get up there to stop them. Now that the risks are higher, hopefully the off-roaders will find somewhere legal to drive their vehicles.

The trailwork consisted mostly of knocking down a low berm the bulldozer left at the side of the road so rainwater can run off the road, and building drainages to help channel the water off. The CORBA crew was also assigned the task of blocking off the top of a very steep and loose road that had been chewed into the hillside by illegal 4×4 vehicles.

The ‘dozer driver did a really good job so there wasn’t as much berm to knock down as expected, allowing us to finish up about a half hour early, and head for lunch.

IMG_3916The COSCA (Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency) rangers barbecued up a lunch of hot dogs, beef- and vegie-burgers, with all the typical condiments, chips, fruit and ice-cold drinks. A real bonus was something you rarely see these days – ripe tomatoes!

After lunch, the CORBA workers picked up their bike tire, supplied by IMBA and CST to show appreciation for our volunteer work.

I think we had all hoped to be working on building a new trail on Saturday. Even though we were just putting the finishing touches on a dirt road, most people came away satisfied with the knowledge that we’re making it easier for the rangers and volunteers to preserve the open space and improve trail access in the future. CORBA thanks the many volunteers, especially the mountain bikers, who came out to help with this effort!

View the photo gallery of the volunteers at work and enjoying lunch afterwards!

The Ventura County Star wrote about this event on March 26, and included photos of two CORBA volunteers, including the lead photo. Here’s the link to check it out:

http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/mar/26/conejo-open-space-gets-hand-from-volunteers-to/

COSCA Spring Trailwork Day March 23th

Monday, February 25th, 2013

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 building a new trail in the Western Plateau/Conejo Canyons area.

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 necessary. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided. Must be 18+ years of age. 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.

Lots of brush removed from Backbone Trail west of Kanan during Feb 23 trailwork day – and photo gallery

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

During a joint trailwork day, CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council trail crews cleared brush (lots and lots of it!) and fixed drainages on the 2.5 mile segment of the Backbone Trail west from Kanan Rd to Zuma Ridge Motorway.

CORBA volunteers are knee-deep in cuttings that have fallen into the trail
CORBA volunteers are knee-deep in cuttings that have fallen into the trail

We split into two teams to tackle this trail. 15 CORBA volunteers grabbed loppers and saws to take on the overgrowing brush. The tread along this segment is in pretty good shape, so a small group of four SMMTC and CORBA volunteers took earth-moving tools to clear out the drainages so rain water wouldn’t cause ruts in the future.

It’s important to clear brush from the trail not only to keep it from becoming so overgrown that it’s impassible, but also to increase the sight distances so approaching travellers can see each other from further away and have time to react/respond to the other’s presence. In the case of mountain bikers approaching hikers or equestrians, this should mean slowing down and preparing to stop, if necessary, to yield the right-of-way.

This trail had been worked by the SMMTC crew twice in the past few months so much of the brush had already been cut back, but there were two very bad sections. One was about 2/3 miles east of Zuma Ridge Mtwy where the brush has not been cut back for several years and both sides had grown almost to the middle. The other was on the switchbacks near Kanan Rd where the heavy branches overhead were drooping down so low that riders need to duck a lot of them.

We started from Zuma Ridge Mtwy and worked our way east, cutting back a few bushes to improve sight distances until we came to the major section that was overgrown. We spent most of our time there and now it’s very easily passible. And we created a huge pile of cut branches off the side of the trail!

Volunteers enjoy lunch at the Urbane Cafe after the workday is finished

Volunteers enjoy lunch at the Urbane Cafe after the workday is finished

Once that was done, we hiked east, pausing at the bridge for a snack and to enjoy the pretty area. We had hoped to clear the overhanging branches near Kanan Rd, but we only had time to clear some other problem spots we passed on the way there. Overall, we worked on 2 miles of the 2.5-mile long trail segment.

After putting the tools away, CST tires, 26″ and 29″, were distributed to everyone who wanted one, as a “Thank-you!” from CORBA, IMBA and CST Tires for helping out. Then we retired to Ubane Cafe for lunch.

We’ll have to have another trailwork day to clear those other low hangning branches, but they’re close to the trailhead so it will be easy to get to them. Stay tuned for news of future trailwork days to clear out this section!

Check out our trailwork photo gallery to see photos of this trailwork.

 

Backbone Trailwork Scheduled for February 23

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Join CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council as we fix up the section of the Backbone Trail between Zuma Ridge Motorway and Kanan Road. We’ll mostly be cutting back overgrowing brush, especially branches that are hanging down and make riders duck as they go by. After the trailwork is finished, CORBA will have prizes for some (or all) lucky volunteers, and treat you to lunch afterwards.

Riding the Backbone Trail between Kanan and Zuma Ridge

No experience is necessary to help out with trailwork. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided. Must be 18+ years of age.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 (by RSVPing “Yes” on our Meetup event) so that we’ll know how many tools to provide. Remember, by pre-registering, CORBA will treat you to lunch afterwards, and enter you in the drawing for mountain biking prizes! We have some great 2.25″ CST tires, for both 26ers and 29ers.

You can find the rest of the details, including times and directions, on our Meetup event.

The Grand Canyon by Bike, Not Burro

Friday, January 25th, 2013

The Suburu/IMBA Trail Care Crew helps bring new singletrack to the North Rim

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona has often been called the “eighth wonder of the world.” Lesser known is the area’s value as a mountain biking destination. Eighteen miles of moderate singletrack with stunning views into the canyon are open to bikes on the North Rim. The land is managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) North Kaibab Ranger District, which is looking to add additional miles to the existing, out-and-back trail.
IMBA Grand CanyonContrary to popular belief, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is not a desert. The Rainbow Rim trail sits at 8,000 feet, winding through forests of ponderosa pine and aspen trees. Users can expect to see abundant wildlife, including the rare Kaibab Squirrel, a white-tailed, tufted-eared critter that only lives in the 40-mile radius of the Kaibab Plateau. The forest is also home to wild turkeys, often spotted running in packs through the trees.
During the last weekend of September, the Subaru/ IMBA Trail Care Crew (TCC) helped the staff of the Kaibab forest prepare to add seven additional miles to the existing Rainbow Rim trail. Several of the rangers there are mountain bikers and wanted IMBA’s guidance to design the extension specifically for bikes.
To kick things off, IMBA hosted Land Manager Training, helping the Kaibab forest staff and rangers from the neighboring Dixie National Forest to better understand mountain bikers as a user group. The presentation was followed by a robust discussion about resource protection, risk management and trail design.
The Trail Care Crew—along with IMBA regional directors Ryan Schutz and Patrick Kell—then assisted the rangers in finding the most fun, beautiful and sustainable route for the new trail, which will utilize a steep side slope to add a loop and turn Rainbow Rim into a lollipop ride. Schutz, Kell and the TCC flagged the steep hillside carefully, using the contour to ensure good flow in the final trail while keeping riders off an unpleasantly steep, loose service road. The new section of planned trail must undergo an environmental assessment, but as soon as the Kaibob rangers get the go-ahead, construction will begin.
The Rainbow Rim project also involves a road-to-trail conversion, which is already underway. The TCC and volunteers from Arizona and New Mexico reclaimed 900 feet of road, converted 1,200 feet of road into trail and cut 900 feet of brand-new singletrack to bypass the old road. The USFS will finish where the volunteers left off, replacing the road with sinewy singletrack.
After a night spent camping on the North Rim with the volunteers and sharing a headlamp-lit cookout, the TCC had a chance to ride the Rainbow Rim trail.
“The remoteness of this trail gives you a feeling of isolation that is often not found at the South Rim,” said TCC member Jesse Livingston. “And the well-designed nature of the trail allows riders to enjoy mileage that is difficult to achieve in mountainous terrain.”
Only a few days after the TCC left the Grand Canyon, the Kaibab rangers contacted IMBA headquarters asking for more help with their next big trail idea. We hope this visit marks the beginning of a lasting partnership with one of America’s most treasured natural splendors.

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Youth Mountain Bike Teams Give Back to SoCal Trails

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

When the Southern California High School Mountain Bike League was founded in 2008, its mission statement included the following: “Foster a responsible attitude toward the use of trails and wilderness.” How to implement and encourage that part of the SoCal league’s mission is still evolving, but its founder and executive director, Matt Gunnell, is launching a new initiative that could have a big impact on the future of trail advocacy.
In the spring of 2012, Gunnell organized a trail workday for the SoCal league, run by the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA), an IMBA Chapter based in Los Angeles. Sixty-five student bike racers from five area high school mountain bike teams volunteered their efforts in the Angeles National Forest. The event led to a discussion between Gunnell and CORBA about how trail stewardship and etiquette could be introduced into the SoCal league’s programming.
“I realized that most of the kids and coaches coming into high school mountain bike racing have limited cycling backgrounds,” said Gunnell. We want to teach them that trail work is an important way to give back to the entire community.”
Gunnell envisions NICA leagues and individual high school teams creating partnerships with nearby IMBA Chapters and other established trail advocacy groups. He believes there is no need to reinvent the wheel when successful organizations already possess tools, trail building expertise and stewardship agreements with land managers.
Gunnell plans to make trail projects a regular part of the SoCal league’s training cycle. Coaches only need to stay in touch with the local IMBA Chapter, or other trail organization, to know when volunteer work days are scheduled. Then the teams can simply show up for the arranged events, ready to go to work.
Gunnell expects the SoCal league to expand to at least 400 student athletes, on 30 teams and with 80 coaches, by the spring of 2013. If each of the racers and coaches (and the occasional parent) contributed a four-hour workday it could generate more than 2,500 volunteer hours in a single year. As high school mountain biking grows across California and around the country, those numbers could become a significant source of trail stewardship.

Copied from IMBA Trail News, Fall 2012

IMBA Trail Care Crew comes to the Angeles National Forest

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The weekend of October 20, together with the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, CORBA hosted the IMBA Trail Care Crew for a visit to the Angeles National Forest. By all measurements, the visit was a great success, even as over 180 volunteers, 30 of them from CORBA, helped build trails in the Conejo Open Space on a conflicting event.

IMBA Trail Care Crew Visit with CORBA

IMBA Trail Care Crew Visit with CORBA

 

Jesse and Lori, Night Ride

Jesse and Lori, natives of Missouri, are six months into their two-year tour as the IMBA Trail Care crew.  Their visit to the San Gabriels started with a Thursday Night ride on the most recently re-opened singletrack trail in the San Gabriels, the Rim of the Valley Trail on Mount Lukens. This trail has undergone extensive restoration by a dedicated crew of City of Glendale volunteers, with earlier work done by CORBA’s former Trail Crew leader, Hans Kiefer a professional trailbuilding contractor and owner of Bellfree Contractors. The trail was in the best condition it has ever been in, aside from a burnt and mangled bridge near the bottom. The volunteer crew were able to cut a narrow trail around the bridge, though for most it will be a hike-a-bike. It’s a steep trail, with lots of very tight switchbacks and cliff-side exposure, definitely not for everyone.

Friday, October 19, day two of the visit, Steve Messer, and the TCC’s Jesse and Lori were joined by Gabriel Wanderley who is touring the country to learn about trail issues to take back to his native Brazil. He is hoping to get IMBA Brazil up and running over the coming year, expanding IMBA’s international presence. The four went up to Strawberry Peak Trail, for which CORBA has received a generous grant from REI to help rebuild, to map out a re-route. Messer had previously hiked the general corridor of the re-route with the Forest Service archaeologist, after the previous planned re-route was found to pass through a sensitive area.  As the crew familiarized themselves with the terrain, the general route was marked and rough-flagged in prep for the following day’s class.

 

 

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CORBA Awarded Grant from REI

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

CORBA’s trail crew was recently awarded a grant from REI for the restoration of the Strawberry Peak trail. Strawberry Peak Trail was severely damaged in the Station Fire of 2009, and remains closed to all users.

Most of the trail was devastated by winter rains in the two winters after the great fire had decimated the vegetation. Above average rainfall and heavy storms sent debris flows across the trails. Wooden retaining walls that supported the trail were burned away and need to be replaced. The trail is in need of much work.

We hope to re-route around this troublesome section near Redbox

We hope to re-route around this troublesome section near Redbox

The REI grant will be matched with funds from the National Forest Foundation, as much of the trail lies in the Big Tujunga drainage, a designated NFF Treasured Landscape. The funds will be used for the purchase of additional tools, materials needed for the repairs and supplies for volunteers. Additionally, the funds allow for a private contractor to be utilized to do some of the heavy work, allowing volunteers to repair the retaining walls and do the finish tread work. We will also work alongside other groups, including the Sierra Club to restore this iconic and much-loved trail.

When reviewing the trail post-fire, the particularly troublesome section of trail where the trail leaves the old Barley Flats fire road, was a deep and long ravine. We proposed re-routing this section of trail to avoid the fall line rocky section. That re-route is pending review by the Forest Service. We hope to have approval for the re-route in time for the IMBA Trail Care Crew’s visit on October 20/21.

Over the coming year we will have regular work days on the Strawberry Peak trail. If you care about this trail, watch our calendar for upcoming trailwork dates, and email trailcrew@corbamtb.com to let us know your interest. We plan to kick off the trailwork with an upcoming visit from the IMBA Trail Care Crew.

A previous REI grant allowed CORBA to restore several trails in the Station Fire burn area which are now open and in use. We are truly grateful to REI for their ongoing support of this, and many other CORBA programs.