Archive for the ‘Trail Crew’ Category

Station Fire 10 Years Later

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019
Ten years ago today, CORBA’s trail crew set out to do trailwork on Sunset Ridge trail in the Angeles National Forest. When I arrived at the chaney trail gate, it was closed. I rode up to Millard, from where I could see that a fire was burning in the Arroyo Seco Canyon, on the western flank of Mt. Lukens. We cancelled CORBA trailwork for the day, while I rode Sunset Ridge and El Prieto for what would be the last time in several years. The Station Fire burned for 50 days, until it was essentially extinguished by the first rains of the El Nino winter season in October. Over 160,000 acres burned, including most of our favorite trails. 
 
This changed my life, and changed CORBA’s focus. Trails were closed with no indication of how much destruction there would be. Torrential rains over the next few months dealt a blow to the barren, burned earth. CORBA began focussing on rebuilding trails that had been damaged by the Station Fire.
 
Over the course of the next nine years, CORBA switched gears to begin rebuilding trails. Sam Merrill trail was our first volunteer work day a year after the fire. We had 70 volunteers show up, many of whom just wanted to get into the closed Forest and see the destruction first hand.
 
CORBA, working in tandem with other groups, restored: El Prieto, Brown Mountain, Sunset Ridge, Sam Merrill Trail, Rim Trail, Gabrielino Trail (Redbox-Switzers), Silver Moccasin Trail, Colby Canyon Trail, Strawberry Peak trail, Upper Brown Mountain fire road, Ken Burton trail, Mt. Hillyer trail, Doc Larson Trail, Rattlesnake Trail, Fascination Springs Trail, Vetter Mountain Trail, Charlton Connector, Silver Moccasin trail and others. We had tremendous support from the community, with grants from REI and Edison International. More than 10,000 volunteer hours were recorded.
 
A year ago CORBA and MWBA re-opened the last trail still closed because of the Station Fire. The Gabrielino National Recreation Trail. Since then, we have restored the Los Pinetos Trail (closed due to the Sand Fire), and have begun work on Woolsey Fire restoration efforts in the Santa Monica Mountains.
 
In the aftermath of the Station Fire, many in the mountain biking community gave back to get trails reopened for which we are truly appreciative. In that time the sport has grown, there are more people than ever using the trails, and the need for continued volunteerism and efforts to maintain our public lands is growing.
 
Thank you to the mountain biking community and the trails community at large for giving back to our trails over these last ten years. Let’s keep up the momentum as we look forward to maintaining the trails we’ve restored and ensuring we all have places to ride our bicycles and connect with our public lands.

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

Sullivan Canyon to Close for Maintenance 6/3 – 7/12

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

SoCal GasSoCalGas has two upcoming projects in Sullivan Canyon. This trail is popular for mountain bikers, and we want the public to be aware that upcoming maintenance projects will impact public use of the trail.

The popular Sullivan Canyon trail is on land owned by SoCalGas. The old road along the canyon bottom is a service road for the gas company to access gas transmission pipelines that run underground through Sullivan Canyon to cross the Santa Monica Mountains.  SoCalGas is gracious enough to allow public use of their land and the trail through it, except when they need work on the roadbed, trail or pipeline. This is a temporary closure, and we ask that all trail users respect it.

5/17/2019 – 5/31/2019 Sullivan Canyon Open during Brush clearance (watch for maintenance workers): Crews will clear vegetation along the canyon from the Queensferry entrance to Mullholland. They will clear the vegetation along the roadway toward the bottom of the canyon. Their focus will be on the North Side of the roadway. Please use caution as you pass construction equipment, and we recommend keeping dogs on a leash so they are not harmed by equipment as well.

  • The canyon will be fully open.
  • Minor impact to walkers, bikers, runners, etc. They will need to slow down for the landscape crews.
  • We will have signs up at both ends of the work area warning of the work taking place.
  • LMI (Landscape Maintenance Inc), our contractor, will be accessing the canyon from Queensferry entrance on the South side.

6/3/2019 – 7/12/2019 Sullivan Canyon Closed for Pipeline Exposure Remediation:  Heavy equipment will be brought in and staged on site. Signs will be placed at each end of the closed area. 

  • -South side (Queensferry Entrance) will be open during construction
  • -The location of the exposure is on the map (approx. middle of the canyon)
  • -Project site will NOT allow walkers, bikers, and runners to pass.
  • -Crew will be using the North Entrance to access the site.
  • -Between the North Entrance and the project site, the canyon will be inaccessible. However, from the South Side (Queensferry Road) everyone will be able to access the canyon up to the work area.

If there are any changes to the schedule, we’ll post them here and on our social media. For the latest information, you can contact SoCalGas Public Affairs Manager, Mike Harriel at 213 244-4633.

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.

Edison Grant for Trail Restoration at Sturtevant Falls

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
Trail Damage near Sturtevant Falls

Trail Damage near Sturtevant Falls

CORBA is once again honored and grateful to receive a grant from Southern California Edison. The $15,000 grant will cover restoration and resource damage along a section of the Gabrielino Trail near Sturtevant Falls. For the past three years, we’ve worked on reopening the western end of the trail and maintaining much of the rest.

At Sturtevant Falls, one of the most-visited waterfalls in the San Gabriel Mountains, there has been significant resource damage from people scrambling up a steep slope to get to the top of the waterfall. The erosion caused by that off-trail travel has caused a section of the Gabrielino trail to collapse. While not a popular section for mountain bikers, this is one of the most beautiful trails in the Angeles, following the watercourse with views of the waterfall.

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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!