Posts Tagged ‘Angeles national Forest’

What CORBA Does

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

By Mark Langton

Bikes, horses, hikers and runners

Bikes, horses, hikers and runners. We all love trails.

Recently a bicycle club-team representative  contacted CORBA wanting to see what more they could do to get more of the trails that are currently closed to bicycles opened up to shared use. A couple of comments from the correspondence were that they thought that showing up in larger numbers to public meetings would help, and that they thought the main reason that trails were closed were because of an influential public anti-bicycle lobby.

I wrote back to the person who contacted me, and in doing so came up with what I think is a good overview of what CORBA has been doing for the past 26 years, and continues to do on behalf of all public backcountry trail users (see below). Yes, CORBA is a mountain bike organization, but we are more than that, and here’s why: We believe that shared use works better because it disperses use, rather than concentrating it. When you disperse use, you reduce congestion, and when you reduce congestion, you reduce confrontation. Moreover, it has been shown that where shared use trails exist, it works. Maybe not perfectly, but certainly better than where there are restrictions to bicycles, because shared use also fosters cooperation. Bicycles do mix when operated considerately and with the safety and serenity of other trail users in mind. And that’s the crux of the issue: If bicyclists would simply slow down around others, including other bicyclists, they would be solving the problem of both dangerous speed, and the “startle factor,” or the disruption of another’s peaceful enjoyment of the backcountry.

Here’s what I wrote to that bicycle club team member:

This year CORBA celebrated its 26th anniversary. In that time we have made many strides to opening trails to shared use (hiking, equestrian, bicycle) in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County, and Eastern Ventura County. We have participated in hundreds of public meetings with land managers over the years. Land managers recognize and continue to adapt to the growing bicycle population and changing demographic profile of the trail user community. They are certainly aware of the needs and desires of the mountain biking community through CORBA’s efforts, which include quarterly meetings with principal agency managers (National Park Service, State Parks, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority). We are also in constant communication with these agencies and/or when the need arises to address a specific issue. CORBA also works closely with the Mountain Bike Unit which aids the rangers and community with safety and education. CORBA also schedules and organizes regular trail maintenance work days s in conjunction with the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency. CORBA is also heavily involved with the Angeles National Forest with trail maintenance and volunteer patrol participation. Due to CORBA’s efforts, most of the singletrack trails built in the last 25 years are shared use (not to mention a lot of the singletrack that already existed not getting shut down).

 As you can see, there is more to getting involved than just showing up at meetings in large numbers. The issue of bikes not being allowed on trails is more than just politically active opponents to bicycles; it is mired in an outdated management policy of restriction that is predicated to a large degree on ignorance and a status quo mentality. Within the last few years there has been a systemic change for adopting shared use as the overriding management strategy. It is a slow moving process but we do see a very strong indication that within the next few years we will see many more trails opening to shared use on a statewide basis than currently exists. This change comes from consistent efforts not only by CORBA, but mountain bike advocates all over the state, with assistance from the International Mountain Bicycle Association (of which CORBA was a founding club in 1988).

 The one concern that is always at the forefront of managers’ minds is safety. It is agreed by everyone that bicycles are an acceptable form of public open space trail recreation. However, it is when riders go too fast around other users as to make it an unsafe or even just an unpleasant experience that gets mountain bikers a bad reputation, and gets the managers to thinking about restricting bicycles. If everyone would just slow down when passing others, and slow down into corners so they don’t scare others on the other side, we would pretty much solve the problem. I am not saying you shouldn’t go fast, I’m just saying do it when conditions are safe. 

Resolve to Solve in 2013

Monday, December 10th, 2012

How many of you have New Year’s Resolutions that you are hoping to keep? There is one you can make and keep, guaranteed. It will help you, the mountain bike community, and the trail community at large. Ready? Slow down when passing others!

How many things in life can you do that actually solve a problem? On our trails, the one justifiable complaint about mountain bikers is that they sometimes go too fast when passing others, which can be scary and upsetting,even to other cyclists. So all you have to do is slow down when passing, and you SOLVE THE PROBLEM!

Slowing down while passing others on our shared-use trails is a pure win-win proposition. The people who you pass feel good about mountain bikers. WIN! You feel good because you didn’t scare anyone, and everyone has a pleasant exchange. WIN!

Here’s a suggestion: Treat others you are passing on the trail as if you are holding the door open for them. That brief pause is a show of consideration, courtesy, and humanity that will come back to you and the mountain bike community in many positive ways.

It’s up to you. Would you rather finish your ride knowing you did something positive for mountain bikers and trails users, or that you made it worse for yourself and the mountain bike community? You CAN make a difference. And all it takes is slowing down when passing other users!


California Bicycle Access Threatened

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

ALERT! Mountain bikers stand to lose treasured backcountry riding experiences in Southern California’s national forests.

Take Action! Let the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) know that you support IMBA’s position to protect mountain bike access. We made it easy, just sign our petition (click on Take Action! at the beginning of this paragraph). Comments are due Mon., June 11.

In the four Southern California national forests: Los Padres, Angles, San Bernardino and Cleveland the USFS is currently planning for management of their backcountry lands. In order to maximize riding opportunities and not lose mountain bike access to trails, it is imperative that you ask the USFS to use a “Backcountry Non-Motorized” designation.

The plans for these forests will decide where mountain bikes are allowed and where we are banned. Their current proposals include “Recommended Wilderness” (banned) and “Backcountry Non-Motorized” (allowed) designations.

In several previous decisions, the USFS decided to manage “Recommended Wilderness” as if it were congressionally designated Wilderness. IMBA strongly objects to this policy.

IMBA needs your help to maximize the riding opportunities in these great forests.

Read more about the project.

San Gabriel Watershed – CORBA Supports Alternative D

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Rescource Study CoverThe process of determining the future of the San Gabriel Watershed region started in 2005 in a series of initial scoping sessions. In 2009 the first draft alternatives were presented for public comment, as we reported in 2009. After the 2009 series of public hearings, the alternatives were revised and released In October 2011.

In October and November of 2011, the National Park Service (NPS) held another series of public meetings to discuss their preliminary study findings about the San Gabriel region, and present their revised draft alternatives. There were between 75 and 150 stakeholders at each meeting, a clear indication of how important the San Gabriel Mountains are to Southern California residents.

The report is an extensive 300 page document. It discusses a broad spectrum of the natural, cultural and recreational resources in the study area. For those interested in the geologic, cultural and natural history of the San Gabriels it is a handy reference, well worth reading. The document further describes the national significance of the resource, and ultimately finds the region suitable for NPS protection. It discusses the feasibility of NPS involvement, then presents the alternatives as to how the NPS may be involved.

As we reported in October, one of the original Alternatives, B, had been dropped, and one, D, added. The three remaining Alternatives, A, C and D were summarized and outlined by Barbara Butler, who is leading the study for the NPS. The presentations essentially recapped the Executive Summary. Members of the audience were then invited to ask questions.

Many of the questions were very specific, addressing the current shortfalls in maintenance, funding, staffing and infrastructure within the Angeles National Forest. People asked for more rangers to patrol for litterers and graffiti, funds for trail restoration and maintenance, more staff to handle volunteers and funding for recreation facilities.

Some were concerned that there may be an increase in bureaucracy and red tape if the NPS were to come in. The presenters again assured everyone present that all land use decisions would continue be made by the current land managers. They defined the NPS roles more as “Management Partners,” sharing resources with the Forest Service and other agencies, as well as facilitating better coordination and cooperation between agencies.


Beware the Poodle Dog Bush

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Poodle Dog Bush, this example about six feet tallThis pretty but toxic native bush is wreaking havoc on many trail users in the recently opened Station Fire area.

Many people have been returning to the Angeles National Forest since the opening of the trails in May. As summer weather entices riders to the high country, many are getting their first glimpses of a changed forest. One of those changes is the abundant Poodle Dog Bush.

Poodle Dog Bush, also known as Common Turricula, or Purple Flower Poodle Bush, is a beautiful purple flowered native bush. It’s an opportunist. Its seeds will lie dormant in chaparral areas for many years waiting for a major disturbance of the soil. Fire is one such disturbance, and the Station Fire has brought the bush back to life with a vengeance.

People often stop on the Angeles Crest Highway or along trails to pick the pretty purple flowers. It is unfamiliar to most people, and quite attractive. It has long slender serrated leaves and flower stems similar in appearance to Phacelia, though it has an upleasant, slightly pungeant odor. The stems grow from the base of the plant and it can grow to eight feet tall.

What people don’t realize is that the bush is covered with tiny hairs similar to stinging nettle, seen clearly in the close-up image below. However, there is no immediate pain or sensation like nettle gives. Poodle Dog hairs will latch on to bare skin or clothing and release a toxin to which most people will have a severe contact dermatitis type reaction. The swelling, rash and itching appear twelve hours to two days after contacting the bush, and the rash can last for two weeks or more and require medical attention. Severe cases can result in large blisters.

Poodle Dog Bush Stalks, clearly showing the fine hairs

The bush is more prevalent at higher elevations, but can appear throughout the recently burned areas. Forest Service officials have stated that the current post-Station Fire bloom is the largest in recent history. Trail users and trail maintenance volunteers need to be especially cautious, as it has appeared along many trails including narrow single track trails where it is difficult to avoid.

If exposed to the bush, avoid scratching the affected area. Clothes, tools or other equipment that has come into contact should be handled with caution and washed separately from other clothes. Calamine or over-the-counter Hydrocortizone cream may provide some relief, but if blisters begin to form medical attention may be required. Poison Oak remedies such as Zanfel or Tecnu have little effect, but washing the area as soon as possible after exposure is advised.

We need to be aware of Poodle Dog Bush. It’s life-cycle can last up to ten years after a significant fire or other disturbance. Eventually it will die off and lay dormant once again, waiting for the next big fire to come back to life.

Sunset Ridge Trailwork

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Angeles Mountain Patrol and CORBA Volunteer Robin McGuire

On Saturday June 4th, CORBA volunteers worked with Mount Wilson Bicycling Association to restore the Lower Sunset Ridge trail. The one-mile trail runs between Millard Campground and the Mt. Lowe Fire Road. This portion of the National Forest had just been opened a few weeks prior, and the trail was in relatively good shape, but severely overgrown in places.

The original plan was to split into two crews and tackle both the Lower Sunset Ridge and brushing on the Sunset Ridge trail.  It was a disappointingly low turnout, with only five people coming out to give back to the trails. However, the five who came out were all experienced trailworkers, and we were able to get the entire trail brushed. That includes all the poison oak. We also rebuilt a basket that supports the trail through a drainage, carrying several tons of rock by hand to fill the void in the trail and restore the tread.

Mount Wilson Bicycling Association had done a previous day of work on State Trails day, repairing another problem drainage along this trail. We’re happy to see the MWBA getting more active once again, and look forward to working with them on future trailwork days.

Thanks to Mitch Marich of the Mount Wilson Bicycle Association, Angeles Mountain Patrol and intrepid trailwork volunteers Mike and Robin McGuire for all your sweat.

More before and after pictures after the break.


Angeles Crest Highway Open to the Angeles National Forest

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Cyclist and others gather for the ACH highway 2 opening ceremony and press release This morning, June 3, 2011, at 10 a.m. the Angeles Crest Highway was opened to motor traffic, bicycles and pedestrians. It has been closed since the Station Fire of 2009, while numerous repairs were made to the highway. It had been scheduled to open last November, but one of last winter’s heavy storms brought down the hillside onto the newly repaired road. Repairs have been completed on the section between La Canada and Clear Creek. Construction continues on a few sections beyond the Mt. Wilson road junction, but traffic is being flagged through the construction zone.

Caltrans also removed the winter closure of the highway at Islip Saddle. ACH is now open all the way through to Wrightwood.

Dozens of cyclists were among the first to pass the ceremonially opened gate, just outside the Angeles National Forest border. CORBA volunteers Steve Messer, Mike and Robin McGuire were also on hand, and took the opportunity to do some trailwork along the Grizzly Flat fire road after climbing Mt. Lukens.

This has been a much-anticipated day, welcomed by hikers, mountain bikers, and everyone who just wants easier access to the forest.

Angeles Crest Highway 2 openingThe highway opening has come just a few weeks after the May 16 opening of many trails that had been closed due to the Station Fire. A complete list of opened trails can be found in our previous story.

Angeles National Forest Trails to Open May 16, 2011

Friday, May 13th, 2011

The two questions we have been asked more than any other recently: “which trails are closed in the Angeles National Forest?  and “which trails are open in the Angeles National Forest?”

According to the Forest Service map of the station fire closure area at the list below shows the status, effective May 16 2011, of some of the more popular trails that were affected by the Station Fire. Keep in mind that even though these trails are in the newly opened areas of the forest, the individual trails may be signed closed.  Please respect any trail closure signs and stay off those trails for your own safety and the recovery of the forest.

Many of the trails will not be in good shape, so be prepared for surprises like downed trees, slides, washouts, ruts, and other hazards. Many trails have been drastically changed from before the Station Fire. Many fire roads have not yet been graded and may be much narrower and in very poor condition with ruts and washouts. All the usual caveats about trail safety apply so use the trails safely and responsibly, and be especially careful the first time you travel on one of the newly opened trails.

Opened Trails (As of May 16, 2011 – Updated July 31, 2011) – 

  • Brown Mountain (to the saddle)
  • El Prieto
  • Gabrielino (JPL to Paul Little)
  • Gabrielino (Switzers to Redbox to Chantry)
  • Bear Canyon Trail
  • Sam Merrill Trail
  • Castle Canyon Trail
  • Sunset Ridge Trail
  • Mt. Lowe West Trail
  • Idlehour Trail
  • Kenyon Devore Trail
  • Rim Trail
  • Sturtevant Trail
  • Santa Clara Divide Truck Trail (Dillon Divide to Mt. Gleason to Three Points – non-motorized only)
  • Chilao Loop/Mt. Hillyer
  • Silver Mocassin
  • Shortcut
  • Valley forge
  • Mt. Lukens road (once the highway opens)
  • Earl Canyon
  • Haines Canyon
  • Mt Lukens Fire Road (as of June 3 opening of Angeles Crest Highway)
  • Graveyard Truck Trail
  • Grizzly Flat Fire Road
  • Doc Larsen
  • Everything east of Chilao

Keep in mind that even though these trails are in the opened area, the individual trails may be signed closed (And those signs mustl be respected). Many of the trails will not be in good shape, so be prepared for surprises like downed trees, massive ruts or slides, washouts, and other hazards.

Closed Trails (Until Further Notice)

  • Strawberry Peak
  • Tom Sloan
  • Dawn Mine
  • Millard Falls
  • Upper Brown Mountain (Saddle to the Summit/Ken Burton)
  • Ken Burton
  • Gabrielino from Switzers to Paul Little
  • Hoyt
  • Stone Canyon
  • Crescenta View
  • Rim of the Valley
  • Condor Peak Trail
  • Trail Canyon
  • Alder Creek
  • Colby Canyon
  • Josephine
  • Mueller Tunnel
  • Vetter Mountain

In addition to the above a separate closure remains in effect for the Williamson Rock area  (Closure Map is available).

Voice Your Support of Trails TODAY!

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Our partners at America Bikes just found out late last night that the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee is deciding what goes into the next federal transportation bill today and tomorrow.

We need every advocate in California to take action TODAY!

If we don’t act now, dedicated funding for biking and walking programs may be written out of our transportation system for the next six years.

Senator Barbara Boxer is the chair of this committee and we need you to get word to her in every way and medium possible TODAY that we’re counting on her continued support for dedicated funding for biking and walking.

In every media interview related to Bike to Work Week, please be sure to thank the Senator for her continued support for dedicated funding for biking and walking, specifically Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program.

In addition, we ask that you alert all your members and supporters as soon as possible, urging them to call the Senator’s office today. Please use the message below.

Our apologies for hitting you on a day when you’re already very busy, but we just learned of this after 10 p.m. last night and with all the media being generated about Bike to Work Week this is a great opportunity for maximum impact. Again, we can’t stress the urgency enough: To preserve dedicated funding for biking and walking in next transportation bill we need California to get Sen. Boxer to take action today.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (916) 446-7558 or

Dave Snyder

Relaunch Director/CEO


Senator Barbara Boxer needs to hear from you RIGHT NOW.

The committee she leads in the US Senate, the Environment and Public Works Committee, is deciding what goes into the very important federal transportation bill today and tomorrow. She needs to know that we want her to fight for bicycling and walking programs like Transportation Enhancements (the federal funding sources that helps pay for bicycling and walking facilities and programs throughout California), Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails program.

If we don’t act now, bicycling and walking programs may be written out of our transportation system for the next six years.

At this very moment, she is negotiating with other senators who don’t think bicycling and walking are an important part of the transportation bill. She needs to know that we have her back on this issue and she shouldn’t give up on these crucial programs.

Call Senator Boxer right now and tell her:

“I am one of your constituents and I think bicycling and walking need to be a part of the transportation bill. Please ensure that Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails program continue with strong and dedicated funding as they are today.”

Calls to DC are best. Her Washington, DC office number: (202) 224-3553. If it’s busy and you’re short for time, here’s her LA office number: (213) 894-5000.

Friends of the Angeles Formation Meetings

Monday, April 18th, 2011

The Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation (NFF) are planning to host several meetings with existing and potential supporters of the Angeles National Forest to determine public interest in forming a Friends of the Angeles organization. The meetings will be held during the last week of April in three locations. A CORBA representative will be attending, and we hope to see other mountain bikers and multi-use trail advocates attend as well.

During the course of each meeting, there will be talk about the challenges the Angeles National Forest faces–particularly in light of the Station Fire–and how a Friends group could help. There will be a discussion of what form such a group might take, what supportive activities it might take on, and the steps involved in creating the organization.

All users of the Angeles National Forest to attend one of these sensing sessions, both to provide input and also to hear what others have to say. These meetings will provide an opportunity for us to share what we are already doing as “friends” of the Angeles, and how our efforts may be helped by an official Friends organization.

The information gathered at the meetings will be used to shape a Friends group that truly meets the needs and passions of all who care about the well-being of the Angeles National Forest.

Other similar groups can be found in the Inyo National Forest (Friends of the Inyo) and the San Bernadino National Forest (San Bernadino National Forest Association). The National Park Service has a web page with information on how to start a Friends group at

If you have questions about the meeting, call Kathy Peterson, the partnership coordinator for the forest at 626-437-5789.

Meetings will be held:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 701 N. Santa Anita Ave, Arcadia, CA 91006.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 6:30 pm. – 8:30 pm
Big Pines Information Center, Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy 2), Wrightwood, CA 92397.

Thursday, April 28, 2011, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
San Gabriel Canyon Gateway Center, 1990 North San Gabriel Canyon Road (Hwy 39), Azusa, CA 91702