2012: CORBA Turns 25

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 transition.

  • 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 mark@corbamtb.com.
  • 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 positions.
  • 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!

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