Posts Tagged ‘Conference’

California Trails and Greenways Conference 2016

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
The Historic Mission Inn, Riverside, was the official conference hotel.

The Historic Mission Inn, Riverside, was the official conference hotel.

The 2016 California Trails and Greenways conference was held in historic downtown Riverside from April 7 – 10, 2016. The conference theme was “loving our trails to death,” something many long-time trail users are realizing is becoming the norm, not the exception. This is especially true on our crowded and increasingly popular trails in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

Equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers talk trail etiquette

Equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers talk trail etiquette

Steve Messer, CORBA’s President, was on hand. Laurel Harkness, IMBA’s California Regional Director, had a booth and gave a presentation on “providing great, sustainable trail experiences. IMBA chapters from Orange County, San Diego County, Folsom, and the Central Coast were also represented. We took the opportunity to get the IMBA chapters together for an update on issues, strategies, and directions for each of the chapters.

The conference is also a great way to network with land managers, decision makers, trail professionals, and other user group advocates. In the six years that I’ve been attending these conferences, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Mountain Bikers are, more and more, being considered a legitimate and valuable contributors to the trail user community. With more IMBA chapters attending, and many presentations by mountain bikers and mountain-bike-friendly land managers and professionals, its obvious we are here to stay.

CORBA Founder Kurt Loheit introduces the dignitaries from the Santa Monica Mountains NRA

CORBA Founder Kurt Loheit introduces the dignitaries from the Santa Monica Mountains NRA

As a great example of the improving relations with the trail community, Steve Messer teamed up with the California State Horsemen’s Association, Trails4All, Riverside County Backcountry Horsemen and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council to give a presentation on trail etiquette best practices. The presentation was well-received, but it was apparent we were “preaching to the choir.” The last slide of the presentation actually thanked the choir for listening to us preach!  During the presentation, Dale Skinner, State Park Trails Manager for the Angeles District (Santa Monica Mountains), gave Steve and CORBA kudos for our approach to providing solutions and being exemplary stewards of our trails.

David Szymanski, Joe Edmiston and Craig Sap talk about completing the Backbone Trail

David Szymanski, Joe Edmiston and Craig Sap talk about completing the Backbone Trail

Another important presentation was Thursday’s lunch time plenary by Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area superintendent David Szymanski, State Parks Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap, and Santa Monica Mountains Conservency executive director Joe Edmiston. They discussed the current status of the Backbone Trail, and the 65 years it has taken to bring a 65 mile trail from concept to completion. Currently there are two incomplete segments. One is the bypass around the gates at the west end of Etz Meloy motorway. The NPS has begun construction on a re-route that will bypass the closed gates. It’s constrained by a narrow easement from the private property owners, forcing a less-than-ideal alignment, but it will be much better than a closed segment of trail and no alternative. The other outstanding issue is a private parcel owned by former governer Arnold Schwarzenneger, west of Kanan. The NPS is hoping to secure a trail easement from Schwarzenneger and his partners soon.

During the talk Craig Sap gave a noteworthy shoutout to CORBA and to the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council for our contributions to keeping the trails in good shape, and making up for some of the agency’s deficiencies with their reduced budgets.

They hope to open the complete Backbone trail on June 4th, as part of National Trails Day. They also plan to submit the trail for inclusion in the National Recreation Trail system. We believe the trail is worthy of such recognition.

Other notable presentations were from Rick Gunn who rode a bike around the world. Not only was he an amazing storyteller, he had an amazing story to tell. As a former journalist and photographer, his photography and the range of emotional lows and highs he experienced over two years had all the conference attendees in silence, awe, and at times, even in tears.

Aside from the State Parks employee training, for which they get continuing education credit, the sessions covered a range of topics, from sustainable trail building, trail surveying, working with public-private partnerships, and a number of project-specific presentations.

Project specific presentations were given on the current status of the Castaic Trail Master Plan, the LA River Trail (bike path), and a number of other project-related presentations. There were presentation by the Backcountry Horsemen on how they can assist in trail maintenance by packing in tools and supplies.

Ride, Hike, and Bike event on Santa Ana River Trail

Ride, Hike, and Bike event on Santa Ana River Trail

After the conference sessions were completed, a group headed out for the traditional multi-use ride/hike/bike event. Local equestrians, mountain bikers and hikers converged on the Santa Ana River Trail to ride/hike together, as an expression of solidarity and multi-use cooperation.

Each year we look forward to participating in this increasingly useful and relevant conference. It covers issues unique to California, is attended by both land managers, conservancies, trail advocates and user groups. It brings everyone together, simply for a passion for trails. We are loking forward to next year, to be held in Monterey about the same time as Sea Otter.

Save the Date: California Trails & Greenways Conference, April 18-20, 2012

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The California Trails & Greenways Conference is

Coming to Los Angeles!!!

Excitement is building as California State Parks and its trail allies prepare for the 27th California Trails & GreenwaysConference taking place April 18 to 20 at the Woodland Hills Marriott.

Conference registration is scheduled to open February 22nd. For the registration link and further details about the 2012 California Trails & Greenways Conference, including sponsor, exhibit and raffle donation information log onto our website at or call 877.776.3619.

The California Trails & Greenways Conference is a forum for networking and building support for accessible, inter-connected, quality trail systems; and a venue for trail professionals and advocates to learn practical, up-to-date, trail skills.  This endeavor by California State Parks and the California Trails Conference Foundation helps ensure effective trail stewardship and leadership for generations to come.

The California Trails & Greenways Conference provides opportunities to:

  • Network with, and talk directly to, California’s leading trail experts
  • Find collaborative partners to build support for trail endeavors
  • Learn a full range of trail topics in high quality, innovative sessions
  • Experience hands-on learning through day-long field workshops
  • Address your specific concerns through our table topic sessions
  • Explore exhibits featuring innovative trail-related products and services

All activities are designed to increase the knowledge of trail, recreation and wild land management professionals and advocates, both novice and expert, in order to improve non-motorized, recreational and heritage trail systems and programs throughout California.

Day-long workshops, 27 concurrent sessions, keynote presentations and exhibits all serve to draw California’s leading trail designers, builders and managers to this 3-day event.  The theme for the 2012 Conference is “Navigating Radical Change — The New Normal.” With attendance expected to reach 500, we anticipate the theme will elicit stimulating and creative discussions that will generate new ideas and partnerships.

We live in a tumultuous time, unprecedented in many respects. Believing that “knowledge is power,” the 2012 California Trails & Greenways Conference will explore the multiple challenges facing trails and public lands, what’s known about the trends affecting those challenges, and how to pursue creative solutions while preserving the integrity of the resources we hold dear. We’ll also explore innovative approaches and new collaborations that may inspire your own new solutions for navigating the path ahead.


The preliminary schedule for this 3-day event is as follows:

  • ·        April 18th, Wednesday

o       Optional day-long workshops

o       Exhibits open at 4:00 p.m.

o       Opening reception, dinner, keynote presentation

  • ·        April 19th, Thursday

o       Concurrent sessions throughout the day (5 sets)

o       Awards & Remembrance Luncheon

o       Celebration reception, dinner, keynote presentation

  • ·        April 20th, Friday

o       Breakfast with Table Topic Discussions

o       Concurrent sessions (2 sets)

o       Closing plenary

o       Conference ends at 1:00 p.m.

Planning is also underway for the 3rd Annual Hike, Bike, Ride, Run Event taking place Saturday, April 21st. This post-conference outing and BBQ is a wonderful way for all trail users to come together to show that we can share our trails and all get along. Conference attendees and friends are invited. Reservation and other details will be posted on the conference website March 1.

For further details about the 2012 California Trails & Greenways Conference, including sponsor, exhibit and raffle donation information log onto our website at or call Lauralee at 877.776.3619 or541.547.3640.