On June 26, Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation released the draft reports on the Canyon Trail in Placerita Canyon Natural Area and the Heritage Trail in Vasquez Rocks Natural Area. Those reports were the result of petitions signed by hundreds of people who wanted to see these trails opened to bicycles. The Canyon Trail was especially important, as it provides extensive connectivity to other trails in that are open to bicycles, and cyclists had been using the trail for four years without incident, because of an incorrectly placed multi-use sign.
At the first meeting held by the County, over 90% of the 90 or so attendees were mountain bikers. It was clear that this was an important issue, and the newly formed SCV Trail Users rallied local support. On July 12, 2012 the second meeting took place. This time about 200 were in attendance, with a little under half being mountain bikers.
The draft reports recommended that the Canyon Trail be opened to bicycles, after modifications to improve safety. These modifications include the installation of pinch points, additional signage, a posted speed limit, and the application of a “walk zone” close to the nature center, where docent-led interpretive nature hikes are often held.
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area has two named trails, the Pacific Crest Trail (closed to bikes), and the Heritage trail, a half-mile trail connecting the two parking lots in the park. What we learned at the public meeting last Thursday was that the Heritage trail is the only County trail within the park. The extensive network of trails are all unofficial “social” trails, and as such, could not be considered for opening to bikes. Primarily because the Heritage trail does not connect to any other official trail, and there is a dirt road alternative, the recommendation was to keep the trail closed to bikes.
CORBA has put together our comments on the two proposals, available after the page break. We encourage everyone to send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating:
Thanks to the County for considering opening the Canyon and Heritage trails to bicycles. We fully support the opening of Canyon Trail to bicycles. We’d like to see the recommended safety modifications prioritized and installed as soon as possible, so that bicycles can return to the Canyon trail. Opening of the Canyon trail to bicycles should not be made contingent upon the completion of the other recommended improvements to the trail.
We’d also like to see the Heritage trail re-considered for bicycle access, taking into account the potential for future routes as the numerous social trails are either rehabilitated or brought up to County multi-use standards and made official trails.
Comments are only being accepted until July 19, so don’t wait. The final decision will be made by the County Board of Supervisors. The more emails and letters of support they receive, the better our chances of having the County move forward on the recommendations and open the Canyon trail to bicycles.