Archive for the ‘Trail Building and Restoration’ Category

Summary of SMM Trail Days held April 26-28 in Pt Mugu State Park

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

In places, the Two Foxes Trail is almost completely closed off by overgrowing brush.

The turnout this year for the 2019 Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days was probably the largest ever! The event was hosted by the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council (SMMTC). Volunteers came from that organization, CORBA, the Sierra Club, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, high schools, various Meetup groups, and more! There were tents scattered all over the campground on Friday and Saturday night as people took advantage of the free camping and meals to go with their volunteer work.

There were about 170 volunteers on Saturday. The vast majority went to fix up the Blue Canyon Trail that had been hit hard by rainstorms and overgrowing brush. In some places you couldn’t even tell where the trail had been. The workers made quick work of restoring the 0.8-mile-long trail and were back at the campground well before 2:30.

CORBA president Steve Messer uses a hedge trimmer to make quick work of the overgrowing brush on the Two Foxes Trail.

The 7 members of the CORBA crew headed to the very overgrown Two Foxes Trail, a favorite of mountain bikers. The two crew leaders wielded gas-powered hedge trimmers to quickly cut down the overgrowth while the rest picked up the clippings and moved them off the trail. We got about 2/3 of the 1.25-mile-long trail cleared on Saturday. On Sunday we returned to the section we missed, this time with 6 volunteers and only one hedge trimmer, and cleared out the remainder of the trail. Now you don’t have to worry about ducking the brush and you can see much further to tell if you’re going to overtake or meet someone coming the other way, and the trail is much more fun and safer for it! We got back to the campground just about the expected time of noon.

On Sunday, there were 70 volunteers, more than double the usual number! The non-CORBA group all when to fix up the Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail.

All crew leaders reported that everyone did a great job, especially the high school kids and the scouting groups. Thanks to everyone for their fantastic support of our trails!

You can view more photos of the volunteers at our 2019 SMM Trail Days photo gallery.

The Saturday barbecue dinner.

Crags Rd trailwork summary from April 20.

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

This past Saturday, about 40 volunteers gathered at the M*A*S*H site in Malibu Creek State Park to fix up the Crags Rd trail section fondly known as the “Rock Garden” or “Creek of Doom” just before you arrive at the M*A*S*H site from the main entrance to the park on Malibu Canyon Rd.

Smoothing out the tread to fill in between the rocks sticking up.

Volunteers hailed from CORBA, the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, Girlz Gone Riding and the Mountain Bike Unit.

Overall the trail was in pretty good shape after the Woolsey Fire burned all the hillside brush in November and then winter rains flooded everything, but there were a few very serious problems that we needed to address. The worst was a 3-foot culvert that was uprooted and deposited in the middle of the trail, blocking it, and leaving a deep rut where it had been. Also, a large oak tree was uprooted and fell across the trail.

The serious issues were dealt with as best we could with hand tools, and the whole trail was generally brushed to widen it, the tread was smoothed and debris was removed. Overall we restored about a half-mile of trail in 4.25 hours, including lunch (subway sandwiches provided by CORBA) and shuttling to and from the work site.

Thanks to all the volunteers who worked hard and did such a great job of restoring this trail in record time! You can view the rest of the photos in the Crags Rd trailwork photo gallery.

Crags Road Trail Restoration and lunch in MCSP on April 20, 2019

Friday, April 12th, 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 (see photo above) and now we’re going back to fix it again.

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 sign up here.

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.

You can learn more about trail restoration work here http://corbamtb.com/programs/trail-crew.shtml and here http://smmtc.org/trailwork/voltips.php

Parents/guardians are responsible for minors at all times, and they must constantly and directly supervise children under 14. Children must be over 7-years old to attend. Please leave your four-legged friends at home!

Online signup is requested to help us plan the number of tools and the amount of lunch food we’ll need. Sign up at our Meetup page for this event https://www.meetup.com/CORBAmtb/events/259311989/

Map: http://tinyurl.com/3q6z8bm

Trail Days 2019: We Need Your Help to Restore Sycamore Canyon Trails April 26, 27, 28!

Friday, April 12th, 2019

The organizers request you register online for this event at their website: https://www.smmtc.org/machform/view.php?id=11102&element_4_4=California by April 22, especially if you plan to join us for the Saturday BBQ dinner and/or camp overnight.

Complete info from the organizers: https://www.smmtc.org/maint/traildays.php

For the 38th year running, we have an opportunity to work at rebuilding the trails and then BBQ and camp at Danielson Ranch in Sycamore Canyon. It is opened annually for the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days! This is a unique opportunity to work on the trails that we enjoy so much in Sycamore Canyon, and the event is followed by a BBQ dinner and prizes (see photo), with free camping on Friday and/or Saturday night. This is hands down the best day to get in some trail maintenance work! Camping is optional; you may leave with the escort after the BBQ.

This event is for Saturday only! There is another event for Sunday trailwork. Feel free to sign up for both!

Schedule at a glance

Friday night April 26 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 27 – Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 28 – Trailwork, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch.

You can volunteer to help out on Saturday, Sunday, or both.

BRING: LUNCHES, BEVERAGES, SNACKS AND WATER. Tools and instruction on using them are provided.
WEAR: Gloves, hat, long pants, protective clothing, and work boots or sturdy shoes.
REGISTRATION: Advance registration is required for the activities shown below, and appreciated by April 22th!
TRAILWORK: Saturday and/or Sunday. Help with trail restoration on one or both days!
CAMPING: Free camping Friday and/or Saturday nights for volunteers at the Danielson Multi-use Area located under the sycamores and oaks in the heart of Point Mugu State Park. Bring your own gear.
DINNER: Sat. Night Barbecue Free FOR VOLUNTEERS. Bring appetizers and beverages.
PRIZES: Thank-you prize give-aways will be held Saturday after dinner and Sunday after trailwork.
VEHICLE ACCESS: You will be able to caravan into and out of the park by vehicle only at these few designated times:

ARRIVE

Friday – 5 pm and 7 pm
Saturday – 7:30 am and 4:30 pm
Sunday – 7:30 am

DEPART

Saturday – 4 pm and 9 pm
Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm

DIRECTIONS: Take the 101 Freeway to Wendy in Newbury Park; drive south to Potrero Road, turn right; at Reino bear left to NPS service road (first driveway). Cars will be escorted into and out of the park only at designated times shown above. DON’T BE LATE or you won’t be able to drive in.

MAP: http://bit.ly/1jvTBZP

Report on the March 16th COSCA Spring Trailwork Day in Hawk Canyon

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

Forty-five to 50 volunteers turned out to help restore several hundred yards of the Hawk Canyon Trail in the Conejo Canyons/Western Plateau open space areas on Saturday March 16th for the annual COSCA Spring Trail Work Day. The area had been burned by the Hill Fire in November, then inundated by heavy winter rains. We worked on the north-eastern half, the newest section that was built in 2017 during the Spring Trail Work Day.

The primary focus of the work was to move the trail slightly uphill, further from the flood plane where it had been buried by mudflows. Because of all the rain, the soil was quite soft and quite easy to dig out and pack down. This made the work easier than normal, but still there was a lot of dirt to move where the cross-slope was quite steep, and there was one section of about 20 feet that was covered by large rocks that had to be moved.

About a quarter of the volunteers worked a little further up the trail, clearing the heavy grass, mustard, thistle and other weeds that were choking off the trail.

Everyone did such a great job that we got finished and back to the staging area for lunch before the expected time of noon.

The event was a cooperative effort of the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), the Conejo Open Space Action Committee (COSTAC), the Conejo Open Space Foundation (COSF – provided the thank-you lunch and snacks), the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council trail crew, the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) trail crew, and dozens of other volunteers. Thanks everyone for helping make the trails safer and more enjoyable for everyone!

View more photos of the work day in our Spring Trail Work Day photo gallery.

Vote with your REI Purchases to support the Backbone Trail

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

This month, our friends at the SAMO Fund, a non-profit partner of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, are in a competition for funding through REI called “Loving Our Local Outdoors”. Between March 7th and April 8th, 2019, customers who make a purchase at one of eight local REI stores will receive a voting token and can vote for their favorite organization/project. The Santa Monica Mountains Fund is up against Friends of the LA River and Friends of Joshua Tree. While we are competing for the funding, supporters can rest assured that this is not a winner-loser situation; all organizations will receive funding in proportion to the number of votes received by each.

November 2018’s Woolsey Fire decimated 88% of National Park land in the Santa Monica Mountains, proving to be the most devastating park fire in the area since the Green Meadows Fire in 1993. The popular Backbone Trail that travels through the mountains has suffered extreme damage that creates safety issues for visitors. A few sections favored by mountain bikers remain closed due to fire-destroyed bridges, excessive erosion and large slides from torrential rains on the burned hillsides.

However, the biggest challenge to reopening the closed sections of the Backbone trail is the replacement of burned bridges. Without those bridges, the section of the Backbone Trail will remain closed to the public. With funding from this REI grant initiative, the SAMO Fund will be able to support and supply the needed materials for this project and help get this trail fully reopened to the public.

CORBA is committed to restoring the closed sections of trail, and will be applying for additional grant funding in support of the effort to re-establish and reopen the Backbone trail. This is an opportunity to help raise additional funds needed. Bridge replacement costs could run into the six-figure arena.

To vote for the Backbone Trail restoration project, visit one of the participating REI stores listed below*. With every purchase you make, you’ll receive a voting token that you can place into the SAMO Fund bucket. The more tokens they accumulate by April 8th, the more funding they will receive, and the sooner we can get those trail sections back in service.

 

* REI online customers will not have the opportunity to vote, unless you use free delivery to a participating REI store for pickup.

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!

COSCA March Trailwork Day March 16th

Monday, February 25th, 2019

The Conejo Canyons and Western Plateau in Thousand Oaks have taken a real beating this winter, first by the Hill Fire that denuded the terrain, and then the heavy rain that resulted in ruts and washouts. We’re going to get out there to restore these trails to their original glory!

We use the Conejo Open Space trails regularly, so this is our chance to give back to the community while expanding our trail opportunities!

At noon, following the morning of trail-building, workers will be treated to a thank-you lunch while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow trail enthusiasts!

Wear protective clothing (long-legged pants, long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses), sturdy shoes, gloves, hat and sunscreen.

No experience necessary. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided. Must be 18+ years of age. As always when in the open spaces, be aware of poison oak, ticks & rattlesnakes. Everyone works at their own comfort level.

Follow instructions of park rangers and trail crew leaders at all times.

Directions: From the 101 Freeway in Newbury Park, exit at Rancho Conejo Blvd heading north. Drive 1.8 miles, almost to the end, then turn left onto Conejo Center Drive. Continue 0.3 miles then park in the dirt lot on the right or at the side of the road.

Map: Use this Google map to help you find your way http://bit.ly/UchB4u

Help us prepare for the number of volunteers who will be participating by registering on our Meetup event.

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.

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