Archive for the ‘Trail Hazards’ Category

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.

April 30 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

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.

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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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.

Bright Night Riding Lights Blind Other Trail Users

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

By Tony Hoffman, Resident of Thousand Oaks and frequent trail user

Fellow Trail Users, mountain bicyclists who are out for exercise and to enjoy nature are riding at night in greater numbers than ever before, likely due to improved lighting technology. The newer LED lighting systems are brighter and run longer than the previous generations of  bicycle lights.  But do you ever think of their impact on other trail users or wildlife?

I frequently hike at night and become momentarily blinded by the LED lights from oncoming mountain bicyclists. Often times it is group of night riders who also leave me seeing spots for 15-30 minutes after they passed me. I’ve noticed that most of the time it is two lights per bicycle, one on the helmet and one on the handlebars, so 5 bikes equals 10 extremely bright lights blinding me.

I’ve politely requested the approaching bicyclists “dim” their lights but have been ignored or told the lights will not dim. We all know that cars should dim their brights when approaching other cars to keep the driver from being blinded. Shouldn’t bicycle lights also be dimmed when approaching other trail users for the same reason? If the lights cannot be dimmed, what is wrong with turning off the lights and riding or walking past other trail users and turning your lights back on after you are past us?

Technology always outpaces the law but courtesy never goes out of style. Please consider the impact of your lighting systems on us hikers who enjoy a walk in the park in the dark.

What’s up with the new bridge in Point Mugu State Park?

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Recently a sturdy bridge was built across a short gully on the Sin Nombre Trail in Point Mugu State Park. This bridge bypasses a sharp corner that has been the location of many serious mountain biking accidents. Here’s the story of the corner and the bridge.

Climbing away from the corner. You can see the rocks on the edge that were placed to widen the trail, and how steep the drop is.

The corner in question is about 0.1 miles from the top of the trail at Ranch Center Road, where a small, usually dry stream crosses it. From Ranch Center Road, Sin Nombre Trail crosses the edge of a meadow and enters a grove of oak trees. It bends right and downhill for about 20′, rounds the corner in question to the left, turning over 90-degrees, then climbs out of the stream crossing and narrows.  On the left side of the trail is a steep drop into the rocky stream bed about 5′ below. The corner looks really easy to negotiate and that’s the deception that has caused so many crashes and injuries. The natural tendency is to brake to slow on the downhill side to negotiate the sharp corner. The climb out of the corner is unexpectedly steep, so riders who haven’t downshifted can stall and put their foot down. They always put their left foot down because they’re already leaning that way after going around the sharp left corner. Unfortunately the trail is very narrow on the climb out, so unless the bike is on the very inside edge of the trail, the foot goes off the edge of the trail, followed by rider and bike, ending in a pile on the rocks of the stream bed. The seriousness of the injury is dependent on how lucky the rider is on landing on the rocks several feet below. Some of the injuries have been very serious, resulting in broken bones and nerve damage. One rider was paralyzed and unable to feel anything below his neck. Fortunately he’d just sprained his neck, not broken it, and feelings and movement returned after about 10 minutes. In addition there have been lots of regular scrapes, gouges and sprains.

There are other ways to crash on that corner, but putting the left foot down off the edge of the trail is very common.

The new bridge on the Sin Nombre Trail in Point Mugu State Park.

CORBA with lots of help from the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council worked to improve this section of the trail in 2012. Volunteers widened the hazardous section of the trail a few inches by embedding large flat rocks at the edge. Unfortunately the trail can’t be widened further by cutting into the inside edge because of oak trees and their roots at the edge of the trail.

Widening the trail be even a few inches certainly kept some people from tumbling down into the rocks below, but still people were having serious injuries there.

A few years ago, the father of a young Boy Scout fell and sustained very serious injuries. Many falls have resulted in broken bones, including at least one broken pelvis.

Now an Eagle Scout candidate, the young man embarked on a project after consulting with State Park officials to fix this issue once and for all. The result is the new bridge and the old hazardous section has been closed off.

Some people will probably be upset that the thrill of rounding this one corner has been removed from the trail, but I hope that when they understand why, they will happy to give up one turn to save less-experienced mountain bikers from falling on the rocks and seriously injuring themselves. So far as I know, nobody has been killed on this corner, but it was just a matter of time.

Many thanks to the young Eagle Scout who completed this project and the many scouts and friends who volunteered to help him!

Mt Lowe Truck Trail Closure

Friday, June 19th, 2009

June 19, 2009

Due to a recent rock slide, the section of the Mt. Lowe Truck Trail (Forset Trail No. 2N50) is closed from its intersection with Eaton Saddle, continuing west 1/2 mile to its intersection with Markham Saddle as shown in the picture. The trail was closed starting on June 9th and the closure is in effect until June 8, 2010.

A 150 foot portion of the Mt. Lowe Truck Trail collapsed during a rock slide making it dangerous for public access. The rock slide has created a narrow section requiring trail users to traverse on a narrow section with loose gravel and soil. The remainder of the trail will remain open with signs posted at the beginning and end of the trail in addition to signs at the actual slide area.

Fire Danger Level Being Raised on the Angeles National Forest

Friday, June 6th, 2008

June 6, 2008

Arcadia, Calif. – The Fire Danger Level on the Angeles National Forest is being raised from “Moderate” to “High,” effective June 6, 2008 as summer temperatures continue to dry out vegetation and the forest prepares for an increase in summer visitors. The “High” fire danger level is the third in a six-level, graduated fire danger rating system. A variety of factors determine the level, including the moisture in vegetation, weather conditions and firefighting equipment needs due to national fire activity. Despite the change, there are no new campfire restrictions: Open wood and charcoal fires will still be permitted in developed campgrounds and picnic areas only. Gas and propane powered stoves and grills are permitted in non-developed areas with a valid California Campfire Permit.

Spark arrestors (required year-round) should be checked to make sure they are in good working order on all off-road motorcycles, chain saws and other equipment with internal combustion engines. Travelers through the Forest should remain on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass.

Visitors should also be reminded that some closures remain in effect. This includes areas affected by the Ranch Fire (west of I-5) and the Buckweed Fire (northwest of Hwy 14), including the popular Rowher Flat OHV area. In addition, approximately 1,000 acres in the vicinity of Cooper Canyon (north of the Angeles Crest Hwy) remain closed in order to protect critical habitat of the Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog, a federally endangered species. Williamson Rock, an area frequented by rock climbers, and a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail lie within the closed area. Hikers can take a detour around the area by departing the trail (northbound) at Eagles Roost and taking the highway to Cloudburst Summit, a distance of 4.5 miles.

Contact: Sherry Rollman or Stanton Florea at (626) 574-5208

“Know Before You Go” to the Angeles National Forest. Find out about local conditions at your destination prior to leaving by contacting the following offices:

  • Forest Supervisor’s Office – Arcadia, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (626) 574-1613
  • Los Angeles River Ranger District, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (818) 899-1900
  • San Gabriel River Ranger District, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (626) 335-1251
  • Santa Clara-Mojave Rivers Ranger District, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (661) 296-9710

 

Poop Predicament Has Los Angeles Horse Owners Raising a Stink

Friday, April 25th, 2008

April 25, 2008 (Bloomberg) — The poop hit the fan when the last manure mulcher in Los Angeles closed shop.


Fritz Bronner, a local horse owner and activist, feeds two of his five Arabian geldings in the corral behind his house in the Lake View Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles on April 8, 2008. Los Angeles is home to some 1,500 legally registered horses, but the actual count is more like 10,000, according to Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. Photographer: Nadja Brandt/Bloomberg News

The price of poop disposal is breaking the budgets of Los Angeles horse owners, as stable owners pass along the expense of taking horse droppings to landfills.

“The cost to get rid of this stuff has just skyrocketed,” said Royan Herman, 65, who runs the Peacock Hill and J-Bar Ranch stables in the San Fernando Valley with her husband, Mark. “A lot of young families aren’t able to afford a horse anymore.”

Los Angeles, the city of Hollywood stars, is also home to about 10,000 horses, said City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel. Some estimates of the horse population run as high as 20,000 within city limits and 45,000 in all of Los Angeles County, which has 9.9 million residents.

The waste produced by horses living in a big city wasn’t a problem for decades, as plant nurseries and compost yards accepted manure and turned it into fertilizer. When zoning officials allowed developers to build homes close to those sites, new residents complained of the stench and nurseries began turning away the dung. The owner of the last compost yard, Dickran Sarkisian, said he closed in October because he wasn’t able to renew the lease.

Depositing manure at a landfill costs as much as $47 a ton, five times what the mulchers charged, said Mark Herman of Peacock Hill and J-Bar. Stable owners can’t afford to stay in business unless they pass that expense to boarders, he said.

“In the last four to five years, the cost for individual horse owners has doubled,” said Herman, 85. He said the 120 horses at his stables produce as much as 5 tons (4.5 metric tons) of manure a day.

Equine Surrender

Some Angelenos said the rising stable fees are forcing them to give up their beloved horses.

“The prices for boarding a horse are crazy,” said Rachel Rosenberg, 24, an aspiring actress who keeps her mustang, Indie, at Ravensview Ranch. “If I don’t get enough hours together at work, I won’t be able to afford him.”

Jack Quigley, a retired oil field production technician, already had to sell his mare, Fancy.

“I loved her to death,” said Quigley, 67. “But I couldn’t afford to keep her.”

Barbara Underwood, 65, who owns Ravensview, a 27-horse stable near Burbank, said she lost eight boarders when she raised prices. She charges $300 a month for a small corral and $400 for a box stall, following the $15 increase in December. She expects to boost rates again soon, by $20.

At Peacock Hill and J-Bar, Royan Herman said she may have to raise fees by $100 from the current $300 to $450 a month.

Riding Territory

Los Angeles offers plenty of space and varied terrain for riding. The county encompasses 4,000 square miles (10,000 square kilometers), including a 70-mile (110-kilometer) Pacific Ocean coastline, mountains, forest and desert.

Some horse-friendly enclaves cater to riders. In Lake View Terrace, a dry cleaner has a hitching post, and street-crossing buttons at some intersections are at a height where they can be reached from horseback.

“It’s this incredible feeling of being in a different world,” said Fritz Bronner, 49, riding Faz, one of his five Arabian geldings, on one of Lake View Terrace’s bridal paths. “All along my street, there are horses and chickens and dogs. It’s a little country feel on a half acre.”

Much of the Los Angeles horse population is off the books. Only about 1,500 are registered, which is required by law, according to city officials.

Registration Drives

That doesn’t help the equine community’s cause, said Greuel, the councilwoman. She’s pushing for a Horse Advisory Task Force to get more owners to comply, so they’ll have a bigger voice in municipal affairs.

Some residents including formed “poop councils” and staged registration drives to educate owners and encourage them to sign up their animals for $14 a year.

“I’ve never even heard of registering your horse,” said Sari Sarlund, 41, who boards her Frido at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Horses generate an estimated $900 million in ancillary revenues a year, Bronner said, sustaining riding teachers, veterinarians, blacksmiths, and feed and tack stores. Bronner, an actor, runs a non-profit service that provides Arabian horses for military re-enactments, parades, films and television.

“It’s an underground economy,” said Bronner, who serves on the Foothill Trails Neighborhood Council. “We never get credit for it. It’s never properly accounted for.”

Poop could add even more cash to city coffers. Councilman Richard Alarcon started a pilot program to recycle some of the manure into compost.

“We are looking at every option available to us, including the generation of electricity,” Greuel said.

Bronner said he’s worried that the poop-disposal crisis and lack of political clout may spell an end to the intangible benefits of sharing Los Angeles with horses.

“The clip-clop on the streets is soothing,” Bronner said. “Horses just slow everything down a bit. Traffic slows down, you slow down.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at nbrandt@bloomberg.net

Fire Breaks

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

August 8, 2007

The City of Los Angeles Fire Department’s Special Operations Division and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy noted that the current fire potential is extremely high and unprecedented. The LA City Fire Department Special Operations Division, with the permission of the Conservancy, took “fire life safety” actions to protect the community from wildfire this coming season. The Fire Department’s goal was to re-blade pre-existing fuel breaks (ridges) that run perpendicular to the northeast Santa Ana winds to a width of at least 50 feet wide. While we warmly refer to them as ridges, the fire authorities cut them decades ago to serve as fuel breaks, yet they have not been re-bladed in approximately 20 years. Should fire occur, a DC10 will be flown along the fire-side of the ridges and drop a swath of fire retardant 1/4 mile long per each pass. Fire crews and helicopters will be positioned to fight fire on the leeward side of the fuel breaks, if it is deemed safe.

The ridges that were re-bladed were Kenter Ridge, East and West Mandeville ridges, Westridge and Sullivan Ridge. Per the Fire Department, those are the only ridges that are being “re-bladed.” Only ridges that are, according to the Fire Department, pre-existing fuel breaks, were bulldozed. Trails adjacent to the ridges, such as the Whoops, were not and will not be touched. The Assistant Fire Chief would not commit to including community groups such as CORBA in the fire life safety planning process. While CORBA is not in the business of fire prevention planning and we have no intention of interfering with fire prevention efforts, we are in the business of saving trails. We have requested to be contacted prior to future work projects and that such projects be posted so trail users are aware of what and why a project is being done. We believe that trails can be preserved while authorities accomplish their goals of fire protection.