Archive for the ‘Regions’ Category

Jan 12th 2019 Trail Fire Closures Update for the Santa Monica Mountains

Friday, January 4th, 2019

(The original post from January 4th was updated on January 12th when the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) opened most of their open space areas.)

South of the 101 Freeway, the Woolsey Fire completely decimated most of the open space between Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road on the east and Point Mugu State Park (Sycamore Canyon) on the west. North of the 101, most of the open space south of Simi Valley and between Valley Circle on the east and Erbes Road to the west was destroyed.

With the recent rains, the regeneration process has begun and new growth can be seen on the burned hillsides.

Nevertheless, many of the trails are still closed until they are assessed for damage, and repaired as necessary. In addition, heavy rains my result in mudslides that may damage sections of the trail that survived the fire.

The good news is that many of the trails are now open to use. The bad news is that during the Federal Government partial shutdown, the National Park Service is not able to work on their trails, prolonging the time that they will be closed.

The following list is not exhaustive – there are many smaller trails not listed that may be open or closed. If you see that a trail is marked as closed or cordoned off, please stay off it.

Areas that are open

Areas that are still closed

  • The entire Backbone Trail between Malibu Creek State Park and Point Mugu State Park. This includes the popular sections
    • Encinal Canyon Road to the Mishe Mokwa trailhead
    • Trancas Canyon (Encinal Canyon Rd to Zuma Ridge Motorway)
    • Kanan Road west to Zuma Ridge Motorway
    • Kanan Road east to Corral Canyon Rd
  • Zuma Ridge Motorway
  • Charmlee Wilderness Park

For your own safety and to protect the plants and creatures that live in the open space, please stay off closed trails completely, and where the trails are open to use, please stay on the trails!

Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan, Phase 2, Released

Monday, December 10th, 2018

Los Angeles County recently released the final Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan, Phase 2.  CORBA and our friends a the Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users, as well as many local mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians, all gave input on the plan at a series of public meetings in 2016. The plan covers areas east of the I5 in Santa Clarita, including Towsley Canyon and other open spaces, some yet to be developed.

This is the third such trail master plan completed by the County in recent years. Previously, CORBA and SCVTU gave significant input on both the Castaic Area Trail Master Plan and the Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master Plan, Phase 1 and were happy to support both. We’re equally excited about the new plan. 

The plan reflects the comments the County heard from the public, what is feasible (or may be) under current zoning and land ownership, and what makes sense for current growth projections. The final plan has now been released. https://trails.lacounty.gov/Documents  It includes many elements about which we are particularly excited, including two potential bike skills park locations.  

CORBA’s SCVTU committee has submitted a letter of support for the plan, as has the CORBA Board of Directors. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors will vote to adopt this trail master plan as a component of the County General Plan on December 11, 2018. 

While we’re really encouraged by the plans, we realize that this is an aspirational document. It will be many years before being fully realized, if ever. The plan, if completed, would provide great connectivity, much improved recreational access to public lands. But realistically, it will take public support, partnerships and funding opportunities to see any of the plan complete.

CORBA, and our SCVTU Committee are ready and willing to help move elements of the trail master plan forward, such as the Bike Skills Park. 

The County will be moving forward with future trail master plans, which we’ll be sure to announce and advocate for more mountain biking opportunities and more trails for everyone. 

The Plan can be found among the County’s Trail Documents at https://trails.lacounty.gov/Files/Documents/137/SSMTMP-PII%20Final%20Trails%20Master%20Plan_December2018_web.pdf

Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users Letter of Support

CORBA Letter of support

______________________________________________________________________________

Update 12/11/2019, 11 a.m. The County Board of Supervisors today adopted the plan. 

Gabrielino Coverage in Mountain Bike Action

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

The January 2019 print edition of Mountain Bike Action features a four-page article/interview about the Gabrielino project and what it means to mountain bikers and the trail community at large. 

In case you don’t get the print edition, a PDF copy is available here or scans of the article appear below. We really appreciate the coverage and the love from Mountain Bike Action. 

Woolsey and Hill Fire Closures (Updated 12/21)

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

This past week has been devastating. Our hearts go out to all those who were impacted by the Woolsey Fire and the Hill Fire, which have ravaged our local mountains. We know that a good portion of CORBA’s membership are in areas affected by the fire. A few lost homes and property. CORBA’s storage shed near Malibu Creek State Park survived, though we weren’t able to confirm so until after Thanksgiving. We truly appreciate the firefighters and first responders who put themselves at incredible risk to battle these fires and save as much as they could.

With so much loss, it may sound a little selfish to be concerned about trails. Being able to go for a mountain bike ride can brighten your day and bring a sense of normalcy to these tumultuous times. But with most of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area closed, where can we ride? We’ve provided a listing below, with links to each park’s web site for the latest updates. We’ll do our best to keep this information current.

Please respect trail and park closures. Our land management agencies have their hands full with fire recovery and damage assessments. Trails in burned areas can be extremely hazardous, even after the fire is “out.”  Fine particulate ash is a lung irritant and can cause severe health problems. Burned, weakened trees can fall at any time, especially in the early days after the fire, or as the ground softens with rain and no vegetation. Once our first big rains hit, trails will be heavily damaged and may become impassable. Just don’t ride closed trails.

As soon as we are able, CORBA will be scheduling trailwork events to help restore trails that will be heavily damaged this coming winter. It might be some time before we can do trailwork or ride. Watch our meetup group or Facebook page for upcoming trailwork events in the new year.

OPEN Areas (Updated Dec 21, 2018):

CLOSED Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (Facebook PageTwitter

CLOSED California State Parks (FacebookTwitter):

  • Malibu Creek State Park – closed until further notice due to the Woolsey Fire. State Parks lost some structures, such as employee residences, the historic Sepulveda Adobe, Red House, Hope Ranch also known as the White Oak Barn (including historic Adamson rowboats) and Reagan Ranch. – Update 12/21: Malibu Creek State Park is now open. Campgrounds are closed, but trails are open. Please stay on the trails!

CLOSED Conejo Open Space Areas:

CLOSED Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (FacebookTwitter):

CLOSED Roads:

Last updated: Nov 26, 2018.

December Free Skills Clinic Cancelled

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Due to the horrendous damage to Malibu Creek State Park, CORBA is unable to hold our monthly free mountain biking skills clinic. The free skills clinic has been held on the first Saturday of every month for more than 20 years. 

This is the first time that we have had to cancel the class, a testament to the dedication of Mark Langton, our skills clinic instructor. 

At this time there is no estimate for when Malibu Creek State Park will reopen. Our January clinic is still on the calendar but is very likely to be canceled or moved to a new location. 

November Skills Clinic photos posted November 6

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Ezra, Mark’s long-time assistant and MBU member, took the photos this month because the regular photographer, Steve, was driving back from a week of mountain biking in Utah.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our November photo gallery.

Sapwi Trails and Bike Park opens on Sept 22!

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

The ribbon cutting ceremony for Sapwi Trails Community Park in Thousand Oaks will take place on Saturday, Sept 22, 2018 at 9:00 am. The celebration will continue until noon. For updates on this event, visit the Thousand Oaks Sapwi Trails web page.

The volunteers, in coordination with Bellfree Contractors (a trail building company), have been hard at work getting the bike park ready for use. The pump track is shaping up really nicely!

For updates on the bike park, visit the Sapwi Bike Park website.

Trail Users Celebrate: The Gabrielino National Recreation Trail is Back!

Friday, August 24th, 2018

Station Fire trail restoration has been a major focus of CORBA’s for the past nine years. On August 26, 2009, CORBA volunteers were headed out for routine volunteer trail maintenance in the Angeles National Forest.  “As I approached our trail work site, I could see a plume of smoke coming from the Arroyo Seco canyon,” said Steve Messer, then a trail work volunteer and now President of CORBA. “We canceled the trail work and watched helplessly as the forest burned for six more weeks.”

Nine years later, almost to the day, mountain biking volunteers have completed restoration of the Gabrielino National Recreation Trail through the Arroyo Seco canyon. This popular section was one of the most heavily damaged by the El Niño rains that flash-flooded the ashen canyon after the Station Fire, taking with it huge sections of the trail and forest. With the extreme damage, this was to be our most ambitious project and the final trail restoration effort from the 2009 Station Fire.

With the area completely closed to the public for more than seven years following the fire, the trail was choked off. Hundreds of burned trees had fallen across the trail and several retaining walls had failed. When people began venturing into the area, in many places there was no trail, so people began using the stream bed.

February 2016 hike-through and assessment

In February 2016, Messer hiked the Arroyo Seco section of the Gabrielino Trail with Forest Service officials and others to do an assessment and begin plans to restore the trail. It was an arduous journey, climbing over and under downed trees and thick brush, scrambling across debris fields where there was once a trail, and precariously shimmying along what used to be the trail tread.

After lengthy environmental reviews, the restoration project began in earnest in late 2017. Six volunteer chainsaw operators worked for two days to get the trail corridor opened enough to begin tread work. Downed trees were a constant challenge, and several sections required extensive additional chainsawing through log-jams. It took dozens of bob trailer-runs to get tools in place. Volunteers faced round-trip rides or hikes of ten to twelve miles to get to and from the work site. Some sections of the trail were restored that had failed long before the Station Fire.

The Mount Wilson Bicycling Association (MWBA) led monthly volunteer work days on the trail from November to July. Several volunteer work days were sponsored by local bike shops including Incycle, Pasadena Cyclery, Golden Saddle Cyclery and Montrose Cyclery. There was so much enthusiasm for the project that a few days there were more volunteers than tools.

Generous grants from REI and Southern California Edison enabled CORBA to hire professional trail builders, Bellfree Contractors, to complete some of the more technical work. By far, the majority of the work was done by 102 dedicated volunteers on 283 volunteer days. The 1,900 volunteer hours equates to over $60,000 in value to the Forest Service.

The final work was completed this week with the trail restored to its original alignment. Trail Closed signs had been in place at either end of the canyon since 2009. The signs were taken down this week.

(more…)

August Skills Clinic photos posted August 8

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Graham took over the photography for Steve, who was out of town, again this month – Thanks! Despite some issues with his cameras, Graham got some great shots, as always.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our August photo gallery.

Brown Mountain Bench Seating Project

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Today, Saturday July 21, 2018, Eagle Scout candidate Nick Sercel from Troop 502 in La Canada installed three bench seats at the highly-popular Brown Mountain Saddle. Brown Mountain Saddle (it’s local name) is the high point of the Brown/Prieto loop, or a stopover on the Brown/Ken Burton loop, and is extremely popular stop.

There’s a definite need for something permant and safer to sit on! (April 2018)

In 2015, CORBA volunteers removed a downed tree from the Upper Brown Mountain fire road, not far above the saddle. The 20+ inch diameter tree was cut into 18 inch tall rounds, which we rolled down to the saddle. For the last three years those log rounds have been put to good use as a comfortable place to stop, take the weight off and enjoy the view. Now those log rounds are rotting, yet as recently as last month, people will find a piece that rotten wood to prop up and sit on.

To us, this demonstrated the demand for seating at the saddle, and how popular it would be. Informal polls confirmed the public support. CORBA submitted a proposal to the Forest Service for simple bench seating, which was approved a few weeks ago after a review by Forest Service staff. With the green light from the Forest Service, Nick Sercel contacted CORBA President Steve Messer to offer his services to construct and install the bench seats on CORBA’s behalf.

Nick was no stranger to CORBA. In 2010, CORBA helped coordinate the restoration of the Doc Larsen trail in Lakeview Terrace as a two-weekend eagle scout project with Nick’s older brother Chris Sercel, then a member of the St. Francis Knights high school mountain biking team. In fact, Chris’ project in 2010 was one of the early inspirations for NICA’s Teen Trail Corps program. Nick was there in 201o wielding a McLeod on the Doc Larsen

Hiking in the materials

Hiking in the materials

trail. Chris reciprocated today helping haul wood, and dig holes. CORBA was happy and honored to help facilitate both their Eagle Scout projects (though a little saddened that Doc Larsen trail burned again last year in the Creek Fire and is closed once again).

 

Nick spent a few weeks of prep work, planning, scouting the site and comparing similar bench seating in other Forest Service locations. Last weekend, he held a volunteer work day at his family home, cutting, drilling, and assembling the bench seats. With Forest Sevice-supplied paint, the benches were pre-painted before being installed today.

Sixteen volunteers, Nick’s friends, family and fellow scouts, and CORBA/MWBA volunteers Erik Hillard (MWBA), and Mike and Robin McGuire got the job done today, Saturday, July 21, 2018. We met at Millard, had a safety briefing, then consolidated into a few vehicles and drove up the fire road from Millard as far we could. From there, the scouts hiked in carrying the pre-painted, drilled and cut, pressure-treated lumber for the bench seats, while Steve Messer and Erik hauled all the tools on Bob Trailers (made possible by the Robert Axle Project’s custom bob-trailer compatible through axles). Special recognition is deserved by Nick’s parents, who hauled up a cooler with lunch for everyone!

After an hour trek/ride to the site, we began digging. Three benches required six holes about 3′ deep through hardened, packed dirt.  Minutes after we finished the first bench seat, a crew of locals who have ridden here for more than three decades immediately put the first seat to the test as they rested before their return descent. They were surprised and very appreciative! We expect these benches to see a lot of use. Two are placed to enjoy the view, while the third is placed by the trail sign where it sees afternoon shade.

 

 

Ready to install

 

Checking for height and level

 

Nick Sercel (seated) and crew admire the first bench seat installed brown mountain saddle

Eagle Scout Candidate Nick Sercel (seated) and his crew admire the first bench seat completed

 

All three benches were installed by 1 pm, well ahead of our scheduled finish. A hearty lunch was served, in time for everyone to enjoy lunch while seated on the new benches!

The crew enjoys lunch on the benches they installed!

It was a highly successful day! Despite the 90 degree weather, we completed the project. We thank Nick’s friends and family, Troop 502 from La Canada for their efforts to make these much-needed seating a reality. And of course a special thanks and kudos go to Nick Sercel for orchestrating the project. Dozens of mountain bikers came through the saddle as we were working, and everyone was excited and appreciative of this simple improvement to a popular stopping point for hikers, bikers and equestrians.

Next time you do the Brown/Prieto loop (one of the most popular and accessible MTB rides in the Angeles National Forest), take a break, enjoy the view and the breeze, and give thanks to Nick Sercel, the Boy Scouts, CORBA and MWBA for continuing to support trails and mountain biking!

 

Erik (MWBA Trail Boss), Steve (Corba President) and Eagle Scout Candidate Nick Sercel

 

Two of the three bench seats installed

 

The third bench, shaded in the afternoons, or out of the wind.

More photos can be found at https://photos.corbamtb.com