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Archive for the ‘California State Parks’ Category

November Skills Clinic photos posted November 4th

Monday, November 4th, 2019

There were only four participants in this month’s Skills Clinic on a very chilly day in the park.

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.

Los Pinetos Trailwork with SCVTU and LA County

Monday, August 12th, 2019

New LA County Trail SignageOn Saturday, August 10, 30 volunteers converged on Walker Ranch in Santa Clarita to put some finishing touches on the Los Pinetos trail. We were also joined by 6 LA County Parks department staff.

Originally scheduled for earlier in Spring this year, a few weeks ago LA County’s trail maintenance staff finally were able to work on Los Pinetos trail. As an agency, LA County doesn’t have a volunteer program tailored for doing trailwork. Instead, their staff runs trail dozers and do what appears to be a single-pass scraping of the trail, without paying any attention to drainage, outslope, or other sustainability features that the County’s own trail’s manual calls for.

This has led to much disappointment from the trails community in the County’s approach to maintaining their celebrated trails. Many, including Los Pinetos, are not sustainably aligned, and/or lack the suitable infrastructure to improve their sustainability.

The Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users, a committee of CORBA dedicated to the SCV and surrounding areas, have been busy building and maintaining City of Santa Clarita trails in East Walker Ranch and Golden Valley Ranch. This was their first opportunity to do trailwork with LA County and the USFS. Los Pinetos trail is a County-managed trail, partially on National Forest land, and partially on County-managed State Park land, which required additional coordination between the agencies.

Machine work has deepened the tread to the point where this county-installed culvert is now completely useless, showing the size of the berm created by machines.

The machine-work done on the trail by LA County’s mechanized trail crew left no drainage and a water-trapping berm that would ensure the trail becomes eroded and rutted with the next rains.  In fact, they bladed over existing drainage such as the failed the culvert pictured above. About 20 Volunteers constructed more than 20 drains on the first mile of the trail from the bottom. Meanwhile, a second crew were shuttled to the top of the trail by LA County staff, and cut back overgrown brush on the upper mile or so of trail.

Constructing a rolling-grade dip drain

Constructing a rolling-grade dip drain

While our goal had been to remove the berm and outslope the trail where possible, the depth and extent of the machine work made removing the berm by hand nearly impossible, and certainly not feasible for a one-day volunteer event. Instead we installed drains, rolling grade dips and nicks where feasible, every hundred feet or so. The upper crews brushed more than a mile of trail, where treadwork was not really needed.

LA County Parks Staff remove the fence at the trailhead, opening the trail

LA County Parks Staff remove the fence at the trailhead, opening the trail

By the end of the day, the 30 volunteers and 6 County staff put in four solid hours of trailwork, for approximately 216 volunteer hours.  In 90 degree heat and direct sun. At about noon the County staff pulled the trail closed notice and fencing from the trailhead at Walker Ranch. The trail is now officially open after three years of closure following the Sand Fire.

We thank LA County, the USFS, and the dedicated volunteer crews of the SCVTU for helping advocate for and participate in the restoration of this trail.  Currently our plan is to return to the trail in the fall, to improve the drains created and add a more in time for winter.

There remains one large downed oak tree at the last switchback near the bottom. The County crews will remove the tree this week.

Climbing 3N17 “the beast,” and descending Los Pinetos is now possible. To ride the loop, you’ll have to ride Placerita Canyon road back to the start for now. The Canyon trail is scheduled for reconstruction by LA County crews this fall. Stay tuned for updates.

The trail is popular with hikers, (and will be more popular when the Canyon trail is reopened). We encourage descending cyclists to use bells and common courtesy towards those hiking on or riding up the trail.

 

 

 

Enjoying a post-trailwork lunch

July 2019 Trail Fire Closures Update for the Santa Monica Mountains

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

This article has been updated since it was originally posted on January 4th:

– January 12: The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) opened most of their open space areas

– March 2: The Backbone Trail between Kanan Road west to Yerba Buena Road has been opened.

– March 25: All COSCA trails in Thousand Oaks except the Hill Canyon Bridge are now open.

– April 30: The Backbone Trail fromYerba Buena Road west to the Mishe Mokwa trailhead is open

– July 18: The remaining sections of the Backbone Trail are now open, so the entire trail is open. (Note that not all of it is open to mountain biking, as always.)

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

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! Also, watch for new hazards on the trails such as large ruts, debris slides, washouts and fallen trees.

Trail Restoration in Malibu Creek State Park April 20th and Lunch

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

Crags Road, also known as “The Rock Garden” or “The Creek of Doom,” suffered major blows this winter, first by the Woolsey Fire that decimated the hillsides, then rainstorms that tore the trail up pretty badly and covered parts with rock slides. We worked on this section not far from the M*A*S*H site in November 2017 and now we’re going back to fix it again.

Restoring Crags Road through the “Creek of Doom” in Nov 2017.

This is a combined project between California State Parks, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, CORBA and Girlz Gone Riding.

All tools will be provided, as well as instructions on how to use them safely and effectively, by experienced trail crew leaders. No experience needed – everyone works at a rate they’re comfortable with and takes lots of breaks. Bring a snack to eat on the trail; CORBA will provide lunch after the event for those who register online in advance to help us with planning (see below for the link to online registration).

Wear sturdy hiking boots with good lugs, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sunglasses, sunblock and a hat, and bring water, snacks. Bring work gloves if you have them. We have a few pairs we can loan to people without.

Please help us plan for the event by signing up online at https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/259311989/ and also qualify for a lunch on CORBA. Thanks!

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.

Report on the ‘Creek of Doom’ trail restoration in MCSP on November 11th

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Over 20 volunteers, including 9 from CORBA, 8 from Girlz Gone Riding and 6 from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, worked for four hours this past Saturday morning to fix up a seriously degraded part of Crags Road in Malibu Creek State Park. This section, just before the M*A*S*H site, is fondly known at the ‘Creek of Doom’ or the ‘Rock Garden’ because of the rocky and narrow nature of the trail, going along the edge, and then the middle, of the dry creek bed. This trail has not seen any work on it for years and had become very overgrown and eroded. As a result of the rains last winter, several trees had fallen on the trail and now were lying at the side, their branches still poking into the trail itself.

Under the guidance of experience trail crew leaders, mostly from the Trails Council but also from CORBA, the volunteers split into several groups, most of which focused on clearing back the fallen trees and other brush, with the rest focusing on fixing the trail tread.

Before, during and after photos of one section of the trail that was restored.

Overall, almost a half mile of trail was restored. This included about 100′ of narrow, rocky and off-camber trail where very large rocks were dug out and the tread made more smooth and level. The large rocks were used to build up a section about 20′ long that had almost completely disappeared into the creek. (See photos above.)

Lunch at the Urbane Cafe afterwards to thank all the volunteers who did such a great job!

After the work ended, CORBA treated the volunteers to a lunch at the Urbane Cafe and the Habit Hamburger Grill.

You can see more pictures of the trailwork in CORBA’s photo gallery.

E-MTBs Prohibited from Malibu Creek, Point Mugu and Will Rogers State Parks

Friday, September 15th, 2017

On September 13, 2017, California State Parks Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap issued order 915-17-02, closing all trails in the Angeles District to electric bicycles. This includes multi-use trails in Malibu Creek State Park, Topanga State Park, Will Rogers State Park, and Point Mugu State Park.

E-MTB’s such as this Specialized Turbo Levo are prohibited from Santa Monica Mountains trails

Electric mountain bikes are already prohibited from Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and National Park Service trails.

Some trails and many popular bike routes in the Santa Monicas cross more than one of these jurisdictions. This had led to confusion as to where e-MTBs were allowed. Sap’s order states that consistency with neighboring jurisdictions is part of the justification used.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation current policy regarding e-MTBs leaves the decision at the District level, until such time as a formal state-wide policy is adopted. The order goes into effect on October 1st, 2017.

Enforcement is expected to begin then too, but we do not yet have information on how it will be enforced. As one can see in photo above, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish some e-MTbs from their non-electric brethren.

Sap’s order does appear to allow for exemptions. Law enforcement and emergency personnel may still use e-MTBs in the performance of their official duties without a prior written exemption.

Currently, Conejo Open Space trails are generally open to e-MTBs, as well as roads and trails appearing on the Angeles National Forest MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map).  Check the People for Bikes e-MTB Map for more information on where to legally ride electric mountain bikes.

2017-09-15 – Angeles District State Parks E-Bike Order

 

Bicyclist in trouble again over illegal trail at China Camp

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

May 1, 2008

by Gary Klien, Marin Independent Journal

A San Rafael man who built an illegal bike trial on federal land in 2001 is in legal trouble again – this time for carving a trail in China Camp State Park, authorities said.Michael Philip More, 54, was charged Thursday in Marin Superior Court with willful or negligent destruction or removal of plants and dead wood, diverting or obstructing the natural flow of a stream, resisting a peace officer and allowing a dog to roam off-leash in a restricted area, prosecutors said.

More is accused of digging an illegal bike trail into a hillside, hacking down tree limbs and constructing rock paths through two drainage ditches, authorities said. The quarter-mile trail is at the end of Robinhood Drive in San Rafael’s Glenwood neighborhood, which borders the state park.

The cost of repairing the damage is estimated at $20,000, said Kathryn Mitchell, a senior county prosecutor.

Dave Gould, the superintendent overseeing state parks in Marin, said the damage to the natural resources was “significant.”

“It looks like chainsaws were used and trail-building tools to carve out the hillside,” he said. “This isn’t where 15 people walked up and down the hillside and you can see their path – this is an attempt to construct an illegal trail.”

More, who could not be reached for comment, has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Patrick Ciocca, said More would be “loathe to engage in a public discussion” about the allegations while preparing his defense.

“It would not be beneficial for him to enter into a public dialogue,” Ciocca said.

Park rangers received a tip about the trail in March, when a resident noticed unusual activity in the area. A ranger investigating the trail found More at the scene, and More allegedly tried to flee.

More was cited, but not arrested, while prosecutors reviewed the case. He is scheduled to be appear in court on May 9.

Alex Burnham, president of the San Rafael-based Access4Bikes advocacy group, said he is concerned that the case will tarnish the entire bicycling community and inflame tensions between cyclists and noncyclists. The issue of trail use has fueled years of acidic conflict among hikers, bikers, equestrians and dog owners, with the county sometimes resorting to barbed wire to block cyclists from trails.

“We do not condone this behavior,” Burnham said. “We advocate for legal trails. In Marin County, the trail user community is so polarized that anything that occurs is a blight that gets thrown on the community of mountain bikers.”

More was once a prominent bicycling activist, serving on the Marin County Open Space District Trails Committee. But he resigned the position in 2001 when federal authorities accused him and two other men of carving a four-mile illegal bike trail into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Bolinas Ridge.

All three men were indicted by a federal grand jury and eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanors. They were ordered to pay more than $34,000 in restitution for the destruction to federal property, placed on probation for three years and banned from the federal park system during probation.

They apologized in court.

California State Parks Budget Crisis Threatens Mountain Bike Access

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Jan 27, 2008

Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to combat California’s projected budget crisis includes across-the-board program reductions, including many cuts to the state parks department. The new proposal would close 48 parks, including popular destinations like Henry Coe and Topanga Canyon.

California State Parks has been victim to several significant budget reductions in past years and the new plan would seriously imperil the agency’s ability to serve Californians, including more than five million mountain bikers.

Take Action! Send a message to the governor and your representatives!

Tell the Governor and your state legislators that these proposed closures are unacceptable.

Why the Governor Should Spare State Parks

Millions of Californians rely on State Parks for their main source of recreation. At a time when health and obesity are major issues for California citizens, parks are a viable resource that contributes to mental and physical health.

The California State Park System is one of the best in the nation. The proposed budget cuts, on top of significant past reductions, will further jeopardize stewardship of the state’s precious natural and cultural resources.

In comparison to other departments, State Parks has an extremely small budget and therefore a reduced capacity to absorb cuts. The Governor’s plan calls for a $13.3 million reduction, but this will close 48 parks and reduce seasonal staff hours by 50 percent.

Santa Susanna Pass

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

May 8, 2007

The State of California is currently in the General planning process for this fairly new State Park. The plan calls for some of the existing trails to be closed to all users, some trails will be open to hikers only. The Old Santa Susana Stage Road may be closed to Mountain Bikes due to its Historic Status. There are also some trails near Oakwood Memorial Park that the Park Service may be considering closing to bikes and Horses to protect cultural resources.

We need your input. For more information, please go to the State Parks Site and check out Preferred Plan on the right side of that page. This is a PDF map of the area and it shows the trails. If you ride this area and know of trails that are not on the map (if they are not on the map they may be closed)and you feel they should remain open for Mountain Bike use or have other feedback, CORBA would like to hear from you. Please contact Hans with any feedback or concerns.

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