LWCF Funding Bill Hits the Senate Floor

June 8th, 2020

The Senate is expected to vote on the Great American Outdoors Act this week, and needs to hear from you! The Act would mean billions of dollars for trails, parks, and public lands across the country. This is a monumental victory for mountain biking and outdoor recreation!

The Act fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and addresses the trail maintenance backlog for the National Park Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. IMBA and our partners worked hard to include the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in the Act, as those agencies are vital for mountain biking.

Mountain bikers  helped get this Act introduced in the Senate in March, after your voices permanently reauthorized LWCF earlier this year. And now, the finish line is in sight. (Then the real work for trails can begin!)

But these bills aren’t a sure thing. Can you help by writing a message to your members of Congress? IMBA’s easy tool customizes your message based on your elected official’s level of support, and you can make it even more powerful by personalizing it.

This is an incredible opportunity for trails. Show your support today!

Take Action!

Social distancing for Mountain Bikers – a brief video guide

May 18th, 2020

Check out this whimsical video that explains how to practice proper social distancing on trails in the open spaces.

Sullivan Canyon Gas Company Construction through June

May 10th, 2020

This week the SoCal Gas Company, who own the land through Sullivan Canyon, will be doing pressure testing and maintenance on their pipelines. The work will take place Monday through Saturday, from 7 am to 5 pm, near the Queensferry Road area. The work is expected to finish sometime in June.

Though trails in the area have begun to open after the shelter at home orders were eased. When construction equipment is present, Sullivan Canyon will be closed. The work sites will be off-limits for recreation. Please avoid the area and obey any signage, or the  guards who will be on site. Sullivan Ridge is not affected.

The official notice is here: Hydrotest_2020_Sullivan Canyon

LA County Trails to Reopen May 9

May 7th, 2020

Here at CORBA we have been closely monitoring trail closures and ongoing efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19. We hope that all of you are managing through these difficult times, and have been able to escape for a ride or two to maintain your mental (and physical) health.

Something that has become clear during these difficult times is that access to outdoor recreation is an “essential service.”  It is essential to the health and well-being of our communities. The closure of local trails has led to increased crowding on more distant, less popular trails, despite the general guidance to stay close to home.

Ventura County has opened its trails during the week, but they remain closed on weekends when high-use has made social distancing impossible. This includes National Park Service and Conejo Valley trails in Ventura County.

LA County-managed trails will be open this Saturday, May 9, with new guidance and etiquette measures in place. LA County manages a network of hundreds of miles of multi-use trails, including bikeways such as the San Gabriel River bikeway.  The reopening does not necessarily apply to trails in LA County that are managed by other agencies or parks departments. To see who manages any particular trail and the latest guidance, you can go to the LA County Trails web site.

The safety guidance hasn’t changed much since the onset of the shelter at home orders and first round of trail closures. An additional step the County is now recommending is that non-medical face coverings should be used by all trail users when on the trails. The LA County news release and trail reopening protocol: 2020-05-07 – LA County Trail reopening

Currently, the two orders are to reopen all LA County-managed trails and LA City-managed trails (which don’t allow bikes anyway) except for Runyon Canyon on Saturday. While this includes County Trails on Federal land (Altadena Crest Trail, Los Pinetos Trail) that will be opened, many Forest Service trails in the front country remain under a closure order until May 15.

To reiterate guidelines as recommended by the CDC and LA County health officials, it’s still recommended just to stay at home or ride near your home. If you choose to ride on trails as they reopen, here are some general guidelines from the California Mountain Biking Coalition, which are in line with CDC and LA County’s recommendations:

  • Stay home if you’re sick. Period. It goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway – if you’re sick, or you’ve been in contact with somebody who is, you need to stay home.
  • NEW: Wear a face mask. LA County is recommending the use of cloth face coverings for all trail users. There will be signage like that above, and County staff at some trailheads to help monitor compliance this weekend.
  • Only ride open trails from open trailheads.  Agencies are monitoring the crowds on trails, and many trails (including all Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and California State Parks Trails in the Santa Monica Mountains, and some Forest Service trails) are still closed to all users. If we can’t maintain social distancing on trails, expect closures to be reinstated. Check with the agencies if you’re not sure.
  • Maintain your distance. AT ALL TIMES maintain the safe, responsible social distance we’ve all come to know – keep 2-3 bike lengths between riders, on the trail and off the trail.  Don’t fist bump, etc., rather stick to air-fives and sharing content online. Allow ample passing room for other trail users. Ride only with your housemates/family, or those with whom you already have close physical contact.
  • New: Use a bell.  Using a bell is good etiquette generally, and can alert other trail users to your presence before you’re in sight, helping avoid conflict.  Right now, a bell also gives other trail users advance warning and time to prepare to safely pass others on the trail.
  • Find a lesser-used used trailhead. People are heading out in record numbers.  If you’re fortunate enough to know of more remote, lesser-used trailheads, please plan your ride so that you start there. Refrain from driving to trailheads wherever possible.
  • Ride to your ride.  If you are able to ride to a trailhead, do so.  Keep the cars off the road, out of the gas stations, and away from congested areas.  Balance this with avoiding crowded trailheads.
  • Slow it down.  Now is not the time to push your riding skills.  The last thing you or the rest of the community wants right now is for a rider to wreck and end up in a hospital, adding more strain on our EMS system and taking up valuable resources.  Plus, you’ll also be able to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors for a longer period of time if you slow your roll.
  • Take care of business before heading out.  Many public restrooms are closed – make every effort to make sure nature doesn’t call while out on the trail.
  • No snot rockets.  We get it, and usually we accept it – but if you need to blow your nose, use a hanky.  If you do need to sneeze, do it into your elbow.
  • No sharing.  Now is not the time to share gear, food, drinks, or tools.  Sorry. If you have a mechanical issue, sanitize tools and gear before sharing and again before taking it back.
  • Protect yourself.  Bring a small “to go” packet of hand wipes, disinfectant spray, and maybe even some soap to use with your own water.  Hopefully you won’t need this, but just in case you do it’s better to have it than not.

With all this in mind, think before you ride, keep it local, and don’t put yourself or others at risk.  We’re far from a post-Covid-19 world, and your best defense is to presume anyone you encounter might be a infectious. All of this will pass, and we’ll be planning group rides and trailwork events again soon.

 

Farewell and Thank You Dr. Al Farrell

April 19th, 2020
Dr. Al Farrell, Photo by Mbaction.com

Al Farrell, Patron Saint of Mountain Biking MBAction photo

It’s with great sadness that CORBA must report that Al Farrell, the Patron Saint of Mountain Biking, died in a motorcycle accident near Palm Springs on April 15. Al was a generous benefactor of CORBA throughout our 33-year history. Al, an investment manager, used to live in Beverly Hills and came early to our sport. He traveled extensively and enjoyed riding in new places around the world.

When CORBA was founded in 1987, Al was one of our first contributors. In 1988, when CORBA helped create the International Mountain Bicycling Association, Al made his first donation to IMBA in CORBA’s name. In 1989, as CORBA’s trailbuilding efforts grew, Al bought us a collection of trailbuilding tools so we wouldn’t be dependent on agency inventory. These were just the first of many years of friendship, good counsel and contributions. In 1991, CORBA created the Al Farrell Award, our highest honor to recognize individuals and groups for their “outstanding contribution to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and its visitors”.

In 2013 Al submitted CORBA’s nomination for induction the Mountain  Bike Hall of Fame. Al was himself inducted into the MBHOF in 1991, having already established a long-lasting legacy.

It wasn’t just CORBA who he supported. BTC East Bay, BTC Marin,  SHARE, and our local L.A. Wombats were among the beneficiaries of his generosity. Al was an early supporter of NORBA (pre-USA Cycling) and he boosted prize money at early races. It’s fair to say that he helped create professional mountain bike racing. He was a Founding Angel of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame; a long time supporter of Trips for Kids, and dozens of other mountain bike organizations and programs.

Just recently, he made a substantial Founder donation to the California Mountain Biking Coalition. He was gregarious, generous and always ready to do what was needed to be done. For more information on Al’s contributions to the mountain bike community, check out Mountain Bike Action’s tribute at https://mbaction.com/in-memoriam-dr-al-farrell-a-patron-saint/amp/

We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Shirley and the Farrell family. We’ll miss you Al, but we’ll never forget you. Thank you.

Forest Service Closes Trails, Rec Facilities

April 3rd, 2020

Today, April 3, 2020, the Forest Service  issued a closure order for many popular trails that have seen higher than normal use, and lower than needed social distancing. People longing to escape their homes and recreate have flocked to open spaces since the beginning of the closures related to Covid19. After three weekends of trying to encourage social distancing, the only way to enforce people to maintain social distance is to close trails.

The closure is in effect from April 4, 2020 through April 30, 2020. The full closure order, including maps, is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd720172.pdf

The Forest Service order closes the following Trailheads:

  • Millard Canyon
  • San Antonio Falls (Baldy Bowl)
  • Icehouse Canyon
  • North Devil’s Backbone.

And the following popular fire roads and trails are closed:

  • Gabrielino Trail
  • Kenyon Devore trail
  • Mt. Wilson Trail
  • RIm Trail
  • Valley Forge  Trail
  • Sam Merrill Trail
  • Sunset Ridge Trail
  • San Gabriel Peak Trail
  • El Prieto Trail
  • Ontario Peak Trail
  • Bear Canyon Loop Trail
  • Devil’s Backbone Trail
  • Telegraph Peak Trail
  • Mount Baldy Trail (Bear Canyon)
  • Bighorn Peak Trail
  • Chapman Trail
  • Timber Mountain Trail
  • Icehouse Canyon Trail
  • Three T’s Trail
  • Baldo Bowl trail (San Antonio Falls)
  • North Devil’s Backbone Trail
  • Joatnga Interpretive Loop Trail
  • Acorn Trail
  • Big Santa Anita Road
  • Mt. Wilson Toll Road
  • Mt. Lowe Road
  • Disappointement RIdge Road
  • Chaney Trail/Millard Canyon Road
  • Brown Mountain Road
  • Millard RIdge Road
  • Arroyo Seco Road
  • Mt. Lukens Road
  • Earl Canyon Motorway
  • Oliver Road
  • Doane Ebey Road
  • Doane Canyon Road
  • May Canyon Road
  • WIlson Canyon Road
  • Potato Mountain Spur
  • Palmer Evey Canyon Road

At this point we should assume all trails and open spaces in and around Los Angeles and Ventura Counties are off limits, even if they are not specifically closed.

This closure is temporary, expiring April 30, and we’ll update as needed.

NPS and BLM Announce E-MTB Rulemaking

April 2nd, 2020

NPS, BLM E-bIke Rules Announced

Today, April 2, 2020, two federal agencies under the Department of the Interior announced their proposed rules governing the use of electric mountain bikes. Their publication in the Regulations.gov (expected in the coming days) will start a 60 day comment period. NPS details are at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NPS_FRDOC_0001-0136

The National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management were required to update their regulations to accommodate e-bikes under the Secretary of the Interior’s order 3376. That order directed agencies to create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the Department. The rule would also support Secretary’s Order 3366, to increase recreational opportunities on federal lands.

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to amend its off-road vehicle regulations at 43 CFR part 8340 to add a definition for electric bikes (e-bikes) and, where certain criteria are met and an authorized officer expressly determines through a formal decision that e-bikes should be treated the same as non-motorized bicycles, expressly exempt those e-bikes from the definition of off-road vehicles.”

In our initial reading of the BLM’s draft rule and the NPS draft rule, there are few surprises.  They generally encourage local unit managers to allow electric bikes, used only in pedal-assist mode, to be ridden anywhere bicycles are allowed.  They allow local unit Superintendents to open or close trails to e-bikes on a case-by-case basis, with the preference being open.

“The proposed rule would direct authorized officers to generally allow, through subsequent decision-making, Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes whose motorized features are being used as an assist to human propulsion on roads and trails upon which mechanized, non-motorized use is allowed, where appropriate. The authorization for Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes whose motorized features are being used as an assist to human propulsion to be used on roads and trails upon which mechanized, non-motorized use is allowed, would be included in a land-use planning or implementation-level decision.”

The proposed rules define and allow for the use of class 1, 2 and 3 e-bikes, much the same as the classes enacted in California state legislation AB1096. Similar classes have been advocated for around the country by People for Bikes and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (who have now merged).

The rule removes electric bikes–only while ridden in pedal-assist mode for Class 2 and 3–from the classification of OHV or motorized vehicle.  Presumably then a Class 2 or 3 e-bike ridden without pedaling and by throttle control is still considered motorized, though this isn’t explicitly stated.

The BLM and National Park Service rules have not yet been published on Regulations.gov, which will start their 60 day comment period. Once published in the coming days, to provide your own comments go to regulations.gov, search for: NPS Rule RIN 1024-AE61, or the BLM rule: RIN 1004-AE72. Follow the instructions there to provide your comments. They request information from the public on the potential social and physical impacts of e-bike use on public lands, and will give much more weight to “substantive” comments citing studies, legislation, reports, or other items of substance.

In CORBA’s territory we don’t have US Fish and Wildlife Service lands, but that agency is also updating their e-mtb rules. Their draft rules will be available for comment under Docket Number: FWS-HQ-MB-2019-0109, also from regulations.gov.

Once we’ve had a chance to review the NPS and BLM rules and discuss it with our members and MTB advocacy groups, we’ll post our analysis and our comments for review.

In the meantime, we encourage everyone interested to weigh in with your own comments.

 

 

CORBA’s April Free Skills Clinic Canceled

March 27th, 2020

Mark won’t be teach CORBA’s free skills clinic in April.

For only the second time since 1992, we must cancel the CORBA Free Skills Clinic, which would have taken place on Saturday, April 4.  At this point, it looks likely we’ll need to also cancel May’s class.

The first time we had to cancel was just last year, in the wake of the Woolsey fire. In both, the circumstances are beyond our control.

We thank Mark Langton, our lead instructor, for his ongoing commitment to this program. We know that if it were possible, he would still hold the clinic.

In the meantime, please keep yourself and your loved ones safe. If you do choose to ride, remember to keep it local, slow it down, only ride open trails and keep your social distance. We’ll get through this.

 

 

Pedaling through a Pandemic

March 23rd, 2020
Cheney trail, one mile from the trailhead

Illegal overflow parking 1.1 miles from the Sunset Ridge trailhead yesterday.

These are unprecedented times. We’ve all been constantly bombarded with reminders to avoid social contacts, maintain social distancing, and shelter at home. Those orders came with the caveat that it’s OK to get outside and get exercise, as long as that can be done while maintaining appropriate social distances.

This past weekend was the first under the “Safer at Home” orders currently in effect for Los Angeles city and County.  I feel very much at home on a trail, as do most of you. The instructions to shelter at home and only leave for exercise or to provide or access essential services, sounded to me like an invitation and a perfect reason to hit a local trail. It sounded like an invitation to the entire community.

This led to some serious crowding on our local trails this past weekend.  It is impossible to maintain appropriate social distancing, which includes physically separating individuals by at least six feet, on a two-way trail less than four feet in width. Trails are social, and many groups were seen heading out together onto trails. Many trailhead and park parking lots were closed, but this didn’t stop people from parking outside established parking lots, often illegally, and accessing the trails anyway.

Since it seems the public are unable or unwilling to recreate in a way that maintains social distancing, we recommend avoiding all singletrack trails. In fact, as of Saturday, March 28, all trails in Los Angeles County are closed, with the exception of trails on federal land in the Angeles National Forest which remain open. The following official closures are now in effect (subject to change):

  • All organized club rides, races and events have been canceled.
  • Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy/MRCA have closed all their parks and trails to the public.
  • LA County has closed all County trails and parks to the public, including the Pinecrest gate access to the Mt. Wilson Toll Road.
  • La Canada Flintridge have closed all their trails, including Cherry Canyon.
  • City of Monrovia has closed the Hillside Wilderness Preserve and all trails.
  • State Parks have closed all park and trailhead parking lots and facilities such as bathrooms and visitor centers at Malibu Creek State Park, Topanga State Park, Will Rogers State Park, and Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
  • The National Park Service has closed all park and trailhead parking lots and facilities such as bathrooms and visitor centers in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Soltice Canyon in Malibu is closed to all entry. NPS Trails will be closed from 2pm Fridays to 6am Mondays until further notice.
  • The Forest Service has closed all campgrounds, visitor centers and developed recreation sites, throughout Region 5 (California).  Additionally, the Angeles National Forest has closed most of the front country trails and trailheads.
  • LA County DPW have closed Big Dalton Canyon Road, Glendora Mountain Road (north of Big Dalton Rd to East Fork Rd) and Glendora Ridge Road (Glendora Mountain Rd to Mt. Baldy Rd). These roads will remain closed until the emergency order is lifted.
  • City of Glendale has closed all park, trails and fire roads including the Catalina Verdugo trail and trails in Deukmejian Wilderness Park and the Verdugo Mountains.
  • The City of Los Angeles has closed all parks, trails, skate parks, and public amenities, including Griffith Park and all beaches.
  • The City of Palos Verdes has closed all parks, trails, and open spaces.
  • Conejo Open Space Conservation Authority has closed all parks, trails and open spaces in their jurisdiction.
  • The City of Pasadena has closed the Rose Bowl Loop
  • The Forest Service has closed many trails, campgrounds, trailheads and recreation facilities as listed on their forest order.
  • SoCalGas Company has closed Sullivan Canyon, which is private property owned by the gas company.

It isn’t just mountain biking trails that are affected. The City of Santa Monica and County of Los Angeles have closed all beach parking lots. Portions of the Marvin Braude Bike Path around Venice and Santa Monica have been closed. The Ballona Creek bikeway, and LA River Bikeway and other County bike paths have been closed. The Pacific Crest Trail Association has alerted all through-hikers to cancel their 2020 plans.

While we understand everyone’s need to get out and exercise, enjoy our cleaner air and reduced road traffic, your health and the health of everyone in our community takes priority.  If trails continue to be crowded, we can expect more trail and park closures, over and above the closures already in effect.  We strongly advise adhering to official guidance from State and County public health departments, and/or the land managers themselves, though it can be difficult to decipher:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://tinyurl.com/tllxvcc

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) https://tinyurl.com/uw57yjx

Ventura County Health Care Agency http://www.vchca.org/agency-divisions/public-health

Los Angeles County Public Health http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus

While it’s now recommended just to stay at home or ride the streets near your home, if you choose to ride any of the few trails still open, here are some general guidelines:

  • Stay home if you’re sick. Period. It goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway – if you’re sick, or you’ve been in contact with somebody who is, you need to stay home.
  • Only ride open trails from open trailheads.  Agencies are monitoring the crowds on trails, and some trails (including all Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy trails) are now closed to all users. If we can’t maintain social distancing on trails, expect more closures. Check with the agencies if you’re not sure.
  • Maintain your distance. AT ALL TIMES maintain the safe, responsible social distance we’ve all come to know – keep 2-3 bike lengths between riders, on the trail and off the trail.  Don’t fist bump, etc., rather stick to air-fives and sharing content online. Allow ample passing room for other trail users. Ride only with your housemates/family, or those with whom you already have close physical contact. 
  • Find a lesser-used used trailhead. People are heading out in record numbers.  If you’re fortunate enough to know of more remote, lesser-used trailheads, please plan your ride so that you start there. Refrain from driving to trailheads wherever possible.
  • Ride to your ride.  If you are able to ride to a trailhead, do so.  Keep the cars off the road, out of the gas stations, and away from congested areas.  Balance this with avoiding crowded trailheads.
  • Slow it down.  Now is not the time to push your riding skills.  The last thing you or the rest of the community wants right now is for a rider to wreck and end up in a hospital, adding more strain on our EMS system and taking up valuable resources.  Plus, you’ll also be able to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors for a longer period of time if you slow your roll.
  • Take care of business before heading out.  Many public restrooms are closed – make every effort to make sure nature doesn’t call while out on the trail.
  • No snot rockets.  We get it, and usually we accept it – but if you need to blow your nose, use a hanky.  If you do need to sneeze, do it into your elbow.
  • No sharing.  Now is not the time to share gear, food, drinks, or tools.  Sorry. If you have a mechanical issue, sanitize tools and gear before sharing and again before taking it back.
  • Protect yourself.  Bring a small “to go” packet of hand wipes, disinfectant spray, and maybe even some soap to use with your own water.  Hopefully you won’t need this, but just in case you do it’s better to have it than not.

With all this in mind, think before you ride, keep it local, and don’t put yourself or others at risk. All of this will pass, and we’ll be planning group rides and trailwork events again soon.

 

Edit: Updated 3/23/2020 at 3:00 pm to reflect additional road closures.
Updated 3/23/2020 at 8:00 pm to reflect Cherry Canyon closures.
Updated 3/25/2020 to reflect City of Glendale closures
Updated 3/27/2020 to reflect City of Los Angeles and Palos Verdes closures
Updated 3/28/2020 to reflect COSCA closures
Updated 4/3/2020 to reflect Forest Service and Big Dalton closures
Updated 4/14/2020 to reflect Sullivan Canyon closures

 

 

 

 

 

CORBA Supports the Great American Outdoors Act

March 9th, 2020

San Gabriel Mountains

The Great American Outdoors Act will be introduced in the Senate today, and your Senators need to hear that you support it! This set of bills is a monumental opportunity to net more money for trails, recreation projects and trail maintenance.

The Act includes dedicated full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) following its recent permanent reauthorization, which passed earlier this year. Dedicated funding is the next big step in decades-long advocacy work for funding trails.

CORBA has submitted a letter of support for the act to Senators Harris and Feinstein. You can express your support through IMBA’s action alert:

Support the Great American Outdoors Act!

This Act helps address the trail maintenance backlog for the National Park Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. IMBA and their partners worked hard to include the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in the Act, and your Senators need to make sure those agencies remain included because they are so important for mountain biking. Read more background on the Act from the Outdoor Alliance.

Since 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has helped create trailheads, parks, mountain bike trails and other great outdoor recreation opportunities to enjoy all across the country. Every year Congress decides on funding levels for LWCF as part of the appropriations process, and consistently fails to actually spend the $900 million allocated to the fund. This dedicated funding means more money for LWCF projects without giving Congress the opportunity to use funds for other purposes.

How can you make a difference? Contact your Senators and urge them to pass the Great American Outdoors Act. IMBA and the Outdoor Alliance have made it easy for you to hit the high notes with the link above, but the more personalized your message, the better.