A Message from CORBA’s President
By Mark Langton
As we look forward to our 25th anniversary in August, we of course
have to look back at 2011. It was both a year of growth and important
- CORBA became a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycle Association (IMBA).
As a founding member of IMBA, CORBA saw the value of partnering with
IMBA’s strength and reach to gain even more members and raise awareness
of the ongoing goals of shared use trails in greater Los Angeles and
Eastern Ventura Counties. Already we have seen an influx of new members.
- California State Parks “change in use” process finally began after
several years of non-compliance. CORBA’s efforts to make sure this
process was fulfilled was and will be unwavering. Currently the
Yearling/Lookout Trail conversion/realignment in Malibu Creek State Park
is undergoing review and work could begin as soon as this summer. Our blog article discusses this process further.
- CORBA established regular quarterly meetings with both State Park
and National Park Service officials. These meetings have garnered a new
and improved level of communication and cooperation.
- CORBA went from a single-day fundraising event (Fat Tire Festival)
to several smaller events which involved some of our local bike shop
supporters, as well as the Fat Tire Fun(d)raiser,
a scaled down version of the festival that focused more on riding than
“festivaling”. If you know of a local bike shop that would like to host a
fundraising event in their store, please send me an email at
- Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA)
Superintendent Woody Smeck accepted the position of Deputy
Superintendent of Yosemite National Park. (Read our blog article on Woody.)
While this transition is yet to be complete, we can assure you of one
thing; the new superintendent will need to be educated as to the
significance and importance of mountain biking in the SMMNRA, and how
intertwined mountain bikers are within the trail community. While it is
likely the new superintendent will be responsive to the mountain bike
community, we’ve seen over the years that different individuals come
with their own sensibilities and it is sometimes the case that those
sensibilities do not always align with the previous administrator’s
- State Parks implemented a more comprehensive volunteer trail work
training program, requiring a greater level of commitment. CORBA members
Steve Messer and Steve Clark stepped up and completed the training,
enabling us to move forward with much needed trail improvement projects.
In 2011 CORBA contributed significantly to trail work and maintenance
in the SMMNRA, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), City of
Glendale, and the Angeles National Forest (enhanced greatly through a
grant from REI).
- In addition to our Youth Adventures Program, which ran 19 outings at Malibu Creek State Park and Paramount Ranch and served dozens of at-risk youth, CORBA introduced the Kids Club,
and thanks to a dedicated and passionate group of mountain biking
parents, regularly scheduled monthly rides took place and introduced
mountain biking to a whole new generation of mountain bikers.
- This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the free Introduction to Mountain Bike Skills class.
Last year saw the best turnout ever with a total of 300 participants,
which included two special classes provided to the Mountain Bike Unit (MBU). In fact, the MBU has made the class mandatory for all new members.
Even with a quarter century of advocacy under our collective belts,
there is still much to be done. Consider this: There are many miles of
singletrack trails closed to bicycles
in the SMMNRA, trails that are exactly the same as ones that are open
to bicycles. As State Parks moves forward with their trail conversion
process (a painfully slow one at that), we must be diligent and ensure
that they stay the course.
And of course I sill implore everyone to simply slow down for other
users. The primary complaint about mountain bikes on trails is that
“they go too fast and scare us.” If you slow to other users’ speed on
the trail, you remove the one justifiable complaint about mountain
bikers. It’s easy to slow down, and it makes the situation more pleasant
for everyone involved—a true win/win situation!
Membership Renewals: Choose CORBA as your Chapter!
Many of our members have or will be receiving renewal notices for their combined CORBA/IMBA membership. Since CORBA became a chapter of IMBA in April 2011, you no longer need to join two separate organizations (local and national). Your individual and family
membership dollars support advocacy, outreach and other efforts at both
the National and local levels (Corporate and Retailer memberships are
presently available only for IMBA).
However, to ensure you remain a member of CORBA, there’s one extra step.
Be sure to choose CORBA as your local chapter so that your dollars will
more directly impact local projects and advocacy. Of course, you’re
free to choose a different chapter if there is another that is more
appropriate, such as our neighbors and partners at the Mount Wilson
Bicycling Association, IMBA’s newest California chapter.
Renewal reminders from IMBA will link you to a page where you will need to select your local chapter, pictured below, so Remember to Choose your Chapter:
You can also avoid the extra step by going to CORBA’s membership page
directly. Donations to CORBA, over and above your membership, stay
local and are also tax-deductible. You can make a donation at http://corbamtb.com/join/donate.shtml.
CORBA is proud to be an IMBA chapter,
working together to strengthen the collective voice of the mountain
biking community. We thank you for your ongoing support.
2011 CORBA Awards
In recognition of
extraordinary dedication and contribution to mountain biking recreation
and open space trails in Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura Counties, CORBA
announces its recipients of the 2011 CORBA Award.
When it comes to social networking, we can always count on Wendy to
reach out through the internet to generate excitement for CORBA’s events
and activities. She also has worked tirelessly coordinating and
assisting with several CORBA events over the past few years, in addition
to organizing and leading rides for the North Ranch Mountain Bikers, a
CORBA-supporting club. She is also an outspoken advocate for responsible
mountain biking. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her dedication is
Matt helped organize the SoCal High School Cycling League in
2008 and serves as the organization’s Executive Director. The
organization currently comprises nearly 30 high school teams and more
than 300 riders. Under his guidance, the league has grown substantially
over its four year history, bringing hundreds of new student
athletes–and many of their parents and friends–into the sport of
mountain biking. Matt and the League emphasize that a major component of
participation in the league is stewardship of the trails, including an
appreciation of–and volunteering for–trail work and maintenance. The
league’s impact on the sport in Southern California is already having
far-reaching effects, with many student racers having moved on to
careers in cycling and the industry.
Banner has had a long-time love of trails. He began mountain biking
on El Prieto two decades ago, and soon realized that it needed upkeep.
He has since spent many off his days off happily and tirelessly
contributing to the trail’s upkeep, sometimes with help, often without,
and always just for the love of it. Over the past few years he has
formalized his love of the trail and his relationship with the National
Forest by adopting the trail under the moniker, “Friends of El Prieto.”
He has contributed to many Eagle Scout trail restoration projects as
trail boss and advisor on this and other trails, and serves as coach and
mentor to the Crescenta Valley high school mountain biking team. His
long time involvement in the mountain biking community has inspired many
to become active and responsible mountain bikers.
As Superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation
Area (SMMNRA) for the past 10 years, Woody has elevated the SMMNRA’s
stature in the National Park system, and worked with politicians to
help them understand the importance of National Parks near developed
urban areas. He was also instrumental in improved inter-agency
coordination and cooperation with the California Department of Parks and
Recreation, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Mountains
Recreation and Conservation Authority, and other agencies in the SMMNRA.
For the mountain bike community, Woody was always accessible, fair, and
honest in his dealings, making it clear to his peers that responsible
mountain biking is manageable on public lands. On March 30 Woody will
become Deputy Superintendent at Yosemite National Park.
The above recipients join a long list of past recipients
of the CORBA award, all of whom have left an indelible mark on the
sport of Mountain Biking in our area and beyond. It is the combined
legacy of all the CORBA award recipients that has helped shape the sport
in Southern California, and will continue to do so as the sport grows.
It is thanks to them that the opportunities to enjoy mountain biking
exist in its current form. These deserving 2011 recipients will be
presented with their awards in the coming months as their busy schedules
We congratulate them, and on behalf of the entire mountain biking
community and especially CORBA’s members and supporters, we thank them
wholeheartedly for their contributions to our community.
and Recent Trailwork
For many years, most trailwork has been done by volunteers because of budget
cutbacks at our parks systems. So come out and help CORBA and
other volunteers keep our trails in top riding shape! You can learn
more about what to expect and what you'll need to bring with you
on our Trailwork
web page. Keep in mind that CORBA now provides prizes and lunch
after the event for volunteers who register
in advance! And by registering in advance, you'll help us prepare
by knowing how many volunteers to expect. If you come out to two
or more trailwork days in a year, we'll give you a cool long-sleeved
CORBA trail crew shirt - be sure to ask for yours!
Saturday December 3:
On a cool and mostly clear Saturday, CORBA and Mount Wilson Bicycling Association
volunteers teamed up to work on the Gabrielino trail. The Gabrielino
between Switzers and Redbox was opened to the public back in May 2011,
though the trail has had little attention and was in very poor shapte.
Through many sections the old trail is simply non-existent. Starting at
Switzer’s Day Use area, the volunteers worked their way up the trail. See our
blog for more details and photos...
Sunday December 4:
In response to a thread started on a popular local online mountain biking forum, SoCalTrailriders.org,
CORBA volunteer Steve Messer agreed to facilitate work on this
much-neglected trail. Starting from the summit of Mt. Wilson, the trail
is the least-used of all the routes from the famous mountain. Over the
years the trail tread had degraded and filled in with slough from the
extremely steep and constantly sliding hillsides above. It was layered
with two years worth of acorns and oak leaves, leaving the trail narrow,
slippery and treacherous. It had suffered from a lack of use as well,
with many sections of brush difficult to travel. An eager crew of 9 was
able to re-cut the bench and cut back brush on 1.6 miles of the trail. See
blog article for photos of this event (scroll down the page!)
December 28-30: Rim Trail
After CORBA’s productive
trailwork day on the Rim trail in December, Belfree contractors went in and
worked their magic on the most dangerous sections of the trail. They hiked in with hand tools and professional know-how and achieved what
would seem impossible. The narrowest, most dangerous sections of trail have
been restored to a much safer width. See our
blog article for the full report...
Sunday January 8, 2012: Rim Trail
We plan another day of trailwork with a small volunteer crew
this weekend, on January 8, and continue brushing and benching the last
two miles of the trail down to Newcombe’s Saddle. Please RSVP to
Saturday January 14, 2012: Gabrielino Trail
Come out and help restore the Gabrielino Trail between Switzers and
Redbox in the Angeles National Forest. We will be working with the Mount
Wilson Bicycling Association and other groups to get the middle section
of trail re-established. See the
Saturday March 10, 2012: Dead Horse
Trail in Topanga State Park. Details are forthcoming.
Saturday March 24, 2012: COSCA Spring
Trailwork Day. Details are forthcoming.
Fri-Sun April 27-29: State Trails Days
in Point Mugu State Park. Details are forthcoming.
To see all trailwork dates, including those of other groups,
visit the CORBA
Join our mailing list to get updates on trailwork
Send an email to Trailwork-Volunteersfirstname.lastname@example.org
California State Parks (CSP) is planning several
trail renovation projects
The multi-use Tapia Spur Trail in Malibu Creek State Park/Tapia Park will undergo several
changes to address the trail’s ability to sustain shared use by hikers,
equestrians, and mountain bikers. The work is scheduled to start soon. See our
blog article for more details...
California State Parks (CSP) is hiring a crew to work on Rogers Road Trail in Topanga State Park and Will Rogers State Historic Park.
The work will include brushing to remove the overgrowth and some tread
work to remove the ruts. The bridge on Chicken Ridge will be repaired
and upgraded, and new signs put up to remind riders (bikes and
equestrians) to walk through this section. CORBA will be supplying
bicycles and B.O.B. Trailers to allow the trail crew volunteers easier
access to the remote work sites. The work is expected to take place from
February to June 2012. We will post notice of the work schedule and
impacts to trail users as it is supplied by State Parks.
The Guadalasca Trail in Point Mugu State Park will
also undergo some substantial improvements over the next year or two.
First, the lower section (part of the old ranch road), will be brushed
out to allow access for motorized equipment. The existing culvert drains will
be removed and converted to level
crossings. Part of the newer section of the trail will be rerouted and in the process will add 1/4 to 1/2 mile to
its length. Some of the switchbacks could be converted to climbing
turns, and rolling dips will be added to help control erosion. Using
IMBA-influenced designs, sinuosity and pinch points will be incorporated
into the rerouted section to reduce downhill travel speeds. This will
help reduce conflicts with other trail users, including climbing
CSP has asked CORBA and other organizations
to recruit volunteers to help with some of this work. We expect to be
announcing trailwork days in the new year to get this work done. See our full
blog article for more...
SMMNRA Superintendent Smeck to Leave for New Yosemite Position
CORBA congratulates Woody Smeck, Superintendent of the Santa Monica
Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) on his new appointment. He was
always accessible, fair, and honest in his dealings with the mountain biking
community. There is
more mountain bike access on NPS land in the SMMNRA than anywhere else
in the country. Woody has been clear that responsible mountain biking
is manageable on public lands and has expressed that view to his NPS
peers. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude.
Woody has been a pleasure to work with and we’ll miss him. A search is underway for a new NPS Superintendent
in the SMMNRA. For more details and a photo, read our blog
New on the CORBA Website
For a list of upcoming recreational rides, please visit the CORBA
CORBA’s Recreational Rides calendar provides a full
monthly schedule of mountain bike rides for all skill levels. Mountain bike
rides are organized by CORBA member clubs and led by experienced and
knowledgeable guides. Recreational rides are a fun and social way to experience
a variety of trails in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and beyond.
Free Mountain Biking
7th is the next skills clinic.
The CORBA free skills clinic is held on the first Saturday of
every month at Malibu Creek State Park.
Mountain biking is a lot like tennis or skiing. Just a few minor
adjustments in technique can make a huge difference in your
control and proficiency. If you want to get better faster,
you need to know the fundamentals of mountain biking technique.
Whether you're just getting into mountain biking or have been
riding for years, you'll learn some valuable tips from our Introduction
to Mountain Biking skills class that is offered each month.
Check out our Skills Clinic
web page for all the information. After the clinic, see photos
of your new skills on the CORBA web site that you can share
with your family and friends!
CORBA on Twitter and Facebook
We have set up accounts with Twitter and Facebook to help keep people informed
of the latest developments in our trail advocacy, recreational rides and trailwork days. Follow
us on Twitter at twitter.com/CORBAmtb
and Facebook at facebook.com/CORBAMTB.
Get Our Blog Articles Delivered to Your
Have you ever wished you could get our blog articles without having
the CORBA website every day to see if there’s anything new? Well, you
can! Even though our blog software won’t send articles by email, you can
still get them delivered to the inbox of most email readers like
Outlook. You use the “RSS feed” functionality for this. In fact, you can
our articles in any software that receives RSS feeds, such as Internet
and other web browsers. This
article on RSS feeds shows you how.
Join or Renew your membership today on our membership
Join Our Team! Do you have any ideas about mountain biking recreation in the
L.A. region? Would you like to apply your skills and manage projects
that contribute to the sport and lifestyle that you love? Is there
an advocate in you? We are recruiting motivated individuals who
work well with others. Send an email to email@example.com
to a monthly Members Meeting to find out more about what we do and how you
can help. Check the calendar
for the next meeting.
Other simple ways to
Use the link at left and REI will donate 5%
of the purchase price to CORBA
- Ralphs grocery stores: Use your Ralphs card and help CORBA
- Holmes Body Shop: Get that dent fixed and help CORBA
(Click on the links above to get more details!)
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