Trail Conversions to Begin in Malibu Creek State Park

On January 26, 2011, CORBA Board of Directors members Mark Langton and Danusia Bennett-Taber met with representatives of California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) regarding CORBA’s request for considering the change in use of trails to include mountain bikes. This meeting is was part of the State’s new trail conversion process, and several more meetings are expected as more trails are assessed. Representing CDPR were Acting District Superintendent Craig Sap, Topanga Sector Superintendent Lynette Brody, Maintenance Chief Dennis Dolinar, Maintenance Supervisor Dale Skinner, Resource Specialist Tom Dore, Ranger Tony Hoffman, and Roads and Trails Manager of the Facility Management Division Karl Knapp.

It was explained that the trails that were being presented this day were considered for their potential ease of conversion as well as meeting CORBA’s criteria; connectivity, access to the Backbone Trail, and increased access to singletrack. The trails were Musch Trail in Topanga State Park, and Yearling and Lookout Trails in Malibu Creek State Park.

All three of these trails were recommended for conversion to accept mountain bike access. Below are brief descriptions of the recommendations.

MUSCH TRAIL

CDPR recommended that the proposed use change to allow bicycles be accepted with conditions, including significant re-routing of the section east of Backcountry Camp, and re-establishing of tread west of Backcountry Camp. Although the recommendation is to allow bikes, the amount of work/resources necessary makes this a low priority conversion and will not likely be undertaken in the short term. CORBA is confident that the trail will be converted at some point, but recognizes that the amount of resources available to re-establish and reroute the trail keeps it from being a priority. There are several other trails that can be converted with the same or less effort, but CORBA will remain diligent and make sure at some point Musch Trail becomes a priority.

YEARLING AND LOOKOUT TRAILS

Yearling Trail

CDPR recommended that the proposed use change to allow bicycles be accepted with conditions, including a significant re-route of Yearling Trail, and a couple of smaller re-routes on Lookout Trail. Because the tread surface of some of the Yearling Trail is unstable and poses a safety hazard to all users, work will begin quickly pending further State Park evaluation. In combination with the Lookout Trail, this route will create a significant connector for cyclists from the northwest side of Malibu Creek State Park at Regan Ranch (corner of Cornell Road and Mulholland Hwy.) to Crags Road Trail.

The timetable is somewhat unclear, and work is still subject to a CEQA study. However, this represents an important milestone in getting increased access to trails that had been previously closed to bicycles.

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