Posts Tagged ‘eagle scout’

Boy Scouts Take on Mountain Biking

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Over the past three years, CORBA’s trail crew has assisted in several eagle scout projects. Most were from eagle scout candidates who were also involved in the High School Mountain Bike League.   After discussions with local Boy Scout Troops and Councils, we put together a suggested set of requirements for a Mountain Biking Merit Badge in 2010. Apparently demand for a mountain biking badge was more widespread than what we saw locally, and the BSA leaders have listened.

During the 1990’s, IMBA and CORBA had approached the BSA about this very issue. At the time mountain biking wasn’t a mainstream sport, and wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now, especially with the younger generations, and the requests and suggestions fell on deaf ears.

How times have changed. Mountain biking has gone mainstream, and been legitimized as an Olympic sport. NICA is making great strives towards establishing the sports as a legitimate high school sport. The time is ripe for things to change.

According to a June 5 post by Scouting Magazine blogger Bryan Wendell, “The trail to Cycling merit badge just got a bit rougher.”  He explained: “The BSA has approved a mountain biking option for Cycling, a merit badge mainstay since 1911. So for the first time, Scouts who prefer fat tires instead of thin can earn the badge.”

We’re excited about this news, and commend the BSA for listening to their membership’s needs. Because the Boy Scouts like to keep a relatively steady number of available badges, it was much easier to have a mountain biking option added to the existing cycling merit badge instead of adding a new badge. This makes complete sense, as there is a lot of overlap in the skills, fitness, basic mechanical knowledge and safety aspects in both cycling disciplines.

We also feel that mountain biking has a definite place in the Scouting movement, as many of the scouting principles can be directly applied to the sport. Mountain bikers must be prepared, they need to be kind and exercise good trail etiquette to share trails with other users, the sport encourages health and fitness, and stewardship of our public lands.

CORBA invites any and all boy scouts (and the general public) to our free Skills Clinics, offered on the first Saturday of each month at Malibu Creek State Park. These free clinics will help get new riders the basic skills to get started in mountain biking.  IMBA also offers a youth-oriented publication, aimed at teen mountain bikers.


Trailwork Report: El Prieto Trail, January 2012

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Keenen (front and center) and part of the Day 2 crewAlmost eight months ago, the CORBA was approached by Keenan Koch, a student at St. Francis high school in La Canada, a member of the school’s mountain bike race team, and an eagle scout candidate with troop 355. He wanted to work on El Prieto for his eagle scout project, the closest singletrack to his school. After consulting with Banner Moffat from the Friends of El Prieto and CORBA over the ensuing months, a plan was developed and submitted to the Forest Service.

The section of trail in question was “built” by users blazing their way down the canyon after the Station Fire and subsequent floods ravaged and destroyed the trail.  The original trail through this section was completely obliterated. The resulting user-made trail was on the edge of a cliff that was getting undercut by the stream and was gradually narrowing. It was a hazardous section of trail where several people have reportedly gone over the edge and crashed. It was too narrow and unstable for equestrians, and nerve-wracking for anyone concerned with heights or exposure.

With Forest Service and Boy Scout Council approval, Keenan rallied his St. Francis and San Gabriel Valley Composite mountain bike team mates, fellow scouts, and a few willing parents to come out and rebuild this section of trail.  The trail was flagged out by Banner Moffat and after two days of prep work by him and Steve Messer of CORBA, was ready for the project.

The newly built section of trail, passing between two trees.Initially planned for the weekend of January 21/22, rain forced a cancelation for the work on Saturday. In reality it was a blessing as the dampened earth was much better to work with on Sunday. Crews re-cut the bench away from the cliff edge, filled three substantial drainages with rock supporting walls and rock armoring, and built up rock supporting walls either side of a “split tree,” through which the trail would pass. With 19 volunteers this section of trail, about 45 yards, was restored. An intrepid crew of four stayed on an extra two hours beyond the finish time to ensure the rebuilt section was completely passable for all trail users.

During the course of the work, two generous mountain bikers made on-the-spot cash donations to CORBA’s trail crew fund (and who still need to email Steve for receipts), a sure token of the appreciation all trail users have for the work we are doing. One regular El Prieto hiker has made similar on the spot donations in the past, and came through very much appreciative of how the funds have been applied (new tools and rock slings for the trail crew and for Friends of El Prieto).



Eagle Scout Project at Verdugo Peak

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

On Sunday, September 11th, 32 volunteers headed up Hostettor road (La Tuna Canyon) in the Verdugo Mountains. Eagle Scout candidate and Verdugo Peak Trailwork St. Francis High School racer Steven Ayoob had chosen to work on the trails at Verdugo Peak for his Eagle Scout project. Verdugo Peak is the highest peak in the Verdugo Mountains. CORBA trail crew volunteer Steve Messser served as an advisor for the project, supplying CORBA’s tools and expertise.

After a round of coffee, juice and donuts, the group held a moment of silence in memory of the victims of September 11, 2001. Steven gave instructions and organized the group before heading up to the peak and trailwork site. At the top Steve Messer gave a talk on safety, tool use and the objectives of the trailwork.

Steven Ayoob is a member of Boy Scout Troop 127 out of Glendale, and is the troop’s fifth Eagle Scout candidate for 2011. He has ridden the trails in the Verdugos and wanted to help improve and preserve them. The user-created trails that lead up to the peak along the old firebreaks have been ridden and hiked for decades. They have been becoming increasingly rutted and eroded in recent years. About 32 volunteers came out to help with the project, filling ruts, cutting in rolling dips and nicks to divert water, and trimming brush.

Ayoob also had some of the volunteers install a restored and freshly painted park bench on an overlook near the top of Whiting Woods motorway, giving weary hikers and riders a place to sit and enjoy the views of the Crescenta Valley and San Gabriel Mountains.

One of the volunteers who came out was Eagle Scout Chris Sercel, whose Eagle Scout project was the restoration of the Doc Larsen trail in 2010. He put the leadership and trailbuilding skills he’d learned in his project to good use, helping direct one of the two crews working on different sections of the trail. Sercel’s Court of Honor, the ceremony and final step in the long trail to become an Eagle Scout, was held the day before on Saturday, September 10th. At that ceremony Chris surprised CORBA’s Steve Messer with an Eagle Scout Mentor pin for his guidance on the Doc Larsen project, a true honor.

Ayoob’s Eagle Scout project was coordinated with the City of Glendale’s Community Services and Parks Department. CORBA thanks Steven and all the volunteers for their contributions to Glendale’s trails, and we congratulate him on a successful Eagle Scout Project.

Trailwork Days: Doc Larson Trail June 26, July 10

Monday, June 21st, 2010

CORBA will be assisting Chris Sercel with his Eagle Scout project to restore the Upper Doc Larson trail in the Sunland area of the Angeles National Forest. Doc Larson trail is a multi-use singletrack. We’ll be working on the upper section, and a singletrack connector trail that ties it into a loop with the surrounding fire roads. Meet in Lake View Terrace at the address above and either carpool or ride to the trailhead.  Meet at 7:30 at the address listed on the CORBA trailwork calendar, and we’ll carpool or ride up from there. Be sure to bring sturdy shoes, long pants and long sleeve shirts. We’ll be doing brushwork and some treadwork. This area is still within the Station Fire closure area, so we’ll be working with special permission from the Forest Service. A second day of work will happen on July 10th to complete the project. Lunch will be provided so please RSVP to and/or to, or on the CORBA Google Calendar if you have a google account.