At a recent meeting of the Burbank Trails Committee, City Officials notified us that illegal features that have been built along Preston Ridge in the Verdugo Mountains must be removed.
The features have appeared over the past year or two. Near the top of the Vital Link trail (a hiker-only trail), there is a small wooden feature. Beyond that, there are some small tabletop jumps and bermed turns. The City is giving the builders until the end of May to remove the features and the materials used before they go in and take them out.
“Preston Ridge is not an official trail” according to the City representative. However, the trail was created by hikers hiking across firebreaks along the ridge line more than two decades ago. One Committee member has hiked there “his whole life.” The City is in a dilemma as to what to do with the “trail” itself, as it has such a long use history, but has never been through any process to become an official trail. The City Attorney has determined that the features themselves are a liability.
The work on the ridge is that of many different people and groups. The City has been in contact with some of the builders, but they are only responsible for a small portion of what has been constructed. Many of the recently altered sections of the trail were not done “up to safe, sustainable standards” and did not follow the original line of the existing unofficial but long-used trails along the ridge.
Meanwhile, CORBA has submitted a draft proposal to construct a new section of trail with mountain-bike specific features. The City Attorney and others are going over the proposal in detail, but have not yet accepted or denied the proposal. They have expressed hope that it can eventually be accepted and completed. The City needs more time to study the proposal and has requested information and examples of how other cities around the country have dealt with new mountain-bike enhanced trails.
Currently most single track trails in Burbank open space are closed to bicycles. There has not been a new official trail constructed since 1998 when the Vital Link trail was completed.