Archive for the ‘Trail Crew’ Category

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.

Learn how to build and maintain trails with the IMBA Trail Care Crew, Saturday, Oct 20, 2012

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Join CORBA, the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, and the IMBA Trail Care Crew, for a day of learning how to build and maintain trails. This free one-day class includes a morning classroom session, followed by an afternoon of hands-on instruction building and repairing a trail.

The IMBA Trail Care Crew was last here in 2007, during which time they worked on western end of the Idlehour trail.  For this visit we will be working on the Strawberry Peak trail, which was devastated during the Station Fire and remains closed to the public.  A proposal for re-routing an always troublesome section of the old trail is being processed right now. We hope to have final approval for the re-route in time to begin work on the new section for the class. If not, there is plenty of work to be done on the existing trail.

The class is free, and lunch will be provided to all participants, with a limit of 40 participants.  So Cal High School League/NICA coaches can get development credit for attending the class.

The morning session begins at 9 a.m. and will be held at the La Casita de Arroyo in Pasadena, located at 177 S. Arroyo Boulevard, Pasadena. After lunch, we’ll carpool to Redbox in the Angeles National Forest to work on the Strawberry Peak trail.

Please RSVP by sending an email to trailcrew@corbamtb.com, or on IMBA’s site by clicking here, so we can make sure everyone is covered for tools, safety equipment, and food.  For the hands-on portion of the class, you’ll be required to wear sturdy shoes, long pants, long sleeves and gardening or work gloves. We’ll supply hard hats (and some gloves for those who don’t have their own).

 

CORBA Presentation for Land Managers, October 19, 2012

Monday, October 1st, 2012

CORBA and our neighboring IMBA chapter, the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, will be co-hosting the IMBA Trail Care Crew for a visit to our local mountains. As a part of their visit, we are together hosting a session for Land Managers. The session will introduce you to IMBA as an organization. Attendees will learn how we, as local IMBA Chapters, can help land managers with their trails and open space programs, as well as up-to-date techniques and principles of trail design and construction. Additionally the Trail Care Crew will teach a one-day trailbuilding and maintenance class for volunteers.

The IMBA Trail Care Crew is world-renowned for their expertise in trail design, maintenance, and other issues. This is a unique opportunity to learn from those who live, breathe, and eat multi-use trails year-round, and to exchange ideas about trail construction, conflict resolution and other issues shared by most land managers.

The session is being held at the Angeles National Forest headquarters.

From the IMBA web site: “The Land Manager training educates land managers on IMBA and the practice of designing, building and maintaining sustainable trails; as well as the importance of partnerships with local mountain biking organizations to achieve great trails. The curriculum is geared toward land managers who oversee land that is either provides, or has the potential to provide mountain biking opportunities. This presentation is essential to inform land managers and community leaders on how to partner with clubs to build responsible, thoughtful trails. This presentation helps grow local group’s trust in IMBA, trail building and mountain biking.”

Besides the United States Forest Service, California State Parks, and Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, we cordially invite all local government agencies and trail advocacy organizations in our area. The session size is limited to 30 people.

Please RSVP or email any questions to steve at corbamtb.com, or call 323-743-3682. 

IMBA Trail Care Crew with CORBA and MWBA
Land Managers’ Workshop
Friday, October 19, 2012, 1pm – 4pm.
Angeles National Forest Headquarters
701 N. Santa Anita Ave,
Arcadia, CA 91006

Directions: Google Map. If you are on the 210 freeway heading east, exit Santa Anita Avenue, and turn right at the off-ramp. Then turn immediately right into the ANF Headquarters, just a few yards south of the off-ramp. From the 210 west, turn left, proceed under the freeeway, and look for the first driveway after passing the eastbound freeway off ramp.

Mesa Peak Singletrack Trailwork Report and Photos

Monday, September 17th, 2012

On Saturday morning, September 15, fifteen volunteers from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council trail crew, Calabasas Day Hikers Meetup group and CORBA gathered in the parking area at the bottom of the Mesa Peak Motorway singletrack, a segment of the Backbone Trail in Malibu Creek State Park. We had learned the evening before that possibly hundreds of road cyclists and onlookers would be gathering at the corner of Piuma and Malibu Canyon Roads for the annual LaGrange Piuma Hill Climb. This was less than 1/4 mile away, and we could envision all the parking being taken up by this group, but as it turned out, there was just enough parking for the trailwork volunteers.

Looking at the huge rut and planning how to fix it.

Our job for the day was to fix an extremely serious rut near the trailhead, clean out existing drainages and install new ones to prevent further water damage and rutting, and cut back several years of overgrowing brush.

The challenge of the work would be compounded by temperatures expect to reach just over 100 degrees. Fortunately 90% of the work was in the shade. Also, CORBA provided lots of water for those who ran short, and two of us had mist bottles to spray down coworkers from time to time.

The rut is filled in and the surface is smooth, but very loose

The Trails Council crew did most of the the treadwork, filling in the huge rut much more quickly than I had expected, then going on to clean out old or build new drainages. These drainages are critical to preserving the trail by shunting the water off the side, so it doesn’t run down the middle of the trail and cause further errosion and huge ruts.

Meanwhile, the CORBA and Calabasas Day Hiker volunteers mostly grabbed loppers and saws and went to work on the overgrowth. The brush to be removed had previously been marked with bright orange surveyor’s tape. After cutting down the brush, the tape was removed and pocketed, then the clippings were tossed over the edge, hidden from view of the trail as much as possible. We took off the orange plastic tape because it would become trash on the hillsides as the clippings slowly decomposed.

Remove the cuttings of overgrown brush

We finished up the workday about an hour earlier than planned because of the temperature. Besides, we had already accomplished almost everything that could be done.

CORBA volunteers selected a mtn bike tire, courtesy of IMBA and CST, as a reward for all their diligent work. Then CORBA treated the CORBA and Calabasas Day Hiker volunteers to lunch at the Urbane Cafe to further show our appreciation. (The Trails Council crew packs their own lunch and eat it on the trail in the middle of the workday.)

CORBA volunteers show off their new CST tires, courtesy of CST and IMBA

A word of warning: The trail is fairly smooth where we filled in the huge rut, but it is very loose due to the dry conditions. Be careful when riding through this section! The loose dirt extends down at least a foot, and is up to two feet deep where this rut was filled in.

View all the photos in our trailwork photo gallery!

Lunch at the Urbane Cafe

State Restoration of Rogers Road Underway

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

As reported in the Topanga Messenger and several other news sources, and announced by CORBA last year, work has been progressing along the Rogers Road section of the Backbone Trail. The trail had become severely eroded, narrow and overgrown, to where concerns for safety and sustainability of the trail had been raised by State Parks.

Rogers Road

Congressman Brad Sherman last week announced that funds had been secured by him for trail improvements along the Backbone Trail. We are seeing the results of that funding, as State Parks have hired additional staff for the project and have been working hard on Rogers Road.

Trail crews have been camping in “spike camps” to save time hiking in and out of work sites. They typically spend 3 – 5 days doing trailwork based out of the camp. The most recent spike camp ended on Tuesday, August 28. CORBA’s Steve Messer joined the crew for the last day of their camp, as they cut back brush along the trail in sweltering heat.

The trail has been extensively brushed, with tread and drainage work being done by machine. Ruts have been flattened and drainage has been restored and improved.  As with any such restoration work, the trail now looks smooth and raw, but longer term prospects are looking good for this section of the Backbone trail.  After some time to pack down and a spring growing season Rogers Road should be back to the flowy singletrack we all love, but without the constant scratching of brush, and threat of ruts and dropoffs hidden from view by overgrown grasses.

State parks trail crew

Crews have completed work from Temescal Ridge fire road to approximately .9 miles above the Chicken Ridge bridge.  Another spike camp is expected late October to continue work on the trail.

We appreciate State Parks efforts, and Congressman Sherman’s recognition of the importance of the Backbone Trail to all trail users.

COSCA Annual Trailwork Day Oct 20th

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Come out and join the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), CORBA, the Santa Monica Trails Council and other volunteers for the 22nd Annual COSCA Trailwork Day. 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!

Mesa Peak Backbone Singletrack Trailwork Sept 15

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Come out to help us fix up the singletrack at the bottom of Mesa Peak Motorway on September 15th! We’ll be removing some overgrowing bushes and fixing major ruts at the bottom of the trail.

CORBA will treat participants to lunch afterwards and provide some great mountain biking prizes, including CST tires.

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

IMBA Trail Care Crew Report from California

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Most applications requesting Trail Care Crew visits originate from mountain bike advocacy organizations. In the 23 visits we have made, this stop in central California was only the second time that a land management agency — the Georgetown District of the U.S. Forest Service — made the request. It’s something we think the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crews will start seeing more of as federal, state and local land management agencies learn how much there is to gain from working with outside partners.

Limited budgets and ongoing funding cuts are a grim reality for many Forest Service districts. Partnerships between land managers and local mountain biking advocacy organizations offer much-needed relief — bike clubs can supply knowledge, experience, volunteer labor and more to help fill the gaps between the vision for new trails and the reality of getting them built.

The Georgetown District staff we met with are excited about what they can accomplish by working with local mountain bike advocacy organizations, including the Folsom-Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition and the Forest Trails Alliance. The Eldorado has great potential, with good existing trails and the potential to develop some great ones. The nearby trails in Auburn are popular and sometimes a bit overcrowded, so developing the Eldorado’s trail network holds the potential to benefit riders and lessen their impacts by spreading them out over a greater area.
The name “Eldorado” conjures an imaginary place of great treasure and opportunity. Will California’s Eldorado National Forest live up to such a grand definition? We think they are on their way.

— Jake and Jenny

From the International Mountain Bicycling Association‘s quarterly publication Trail News, Spring 2012

Save the date!  CORBA will be hosting the IMBA Trail Care Crew October 18 – 21 later this year.