Posts Tagged ‘El Prieto’

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).



Multi-Use Signs on El Prieto

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Since the trail re-opened in May this year, El Prieto has seen heavy use by cyclists eager to get back to the trails Friends of El Prieto, Banner Moffat mounts the multi-use sign to the newly installed post.they love. Recently there have been a few complaints from hikers being startled by bicycles on El Prieto.

Multi-Use SignCORBA donated to the Forest Service a set of IMBA multi-use trail guideline signs to be installed on El Prieto. Signs are needed to help inform and remind cyclists to be aware of other trail users and slow down and yield to hikers and equestrians. If cyclists want respect on the trails, we have to give respect to other trail users. IMBA’s “Rules of the Trail” are the standard to which we need to hold ourselves and our fellow riders.

Banner Moffat of the Friends of El Prieto and Steve Messer from CORBA spent Thursday afternoon, August 25, carrying in the signs, posts and tools. They installed the first sign near the picnic bench mid-trail that afternoon. The remaining signs at the top and bottom of the trail were installed by Banner and volunteer Ben Bertiger the following day.

All of the trails open to bicycles in Southern California are multi-use, and hikers or equestrians love the trails as much as we do. We urge riders to be respectful of other trail users, to help ensure that these trails remain multi-use, and to strengthen our case to open new trails to bicycles.


Banner and Steve with the newly installed sign


Eagle Scout El Prieto Trailwork

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011, Connor Ryken began his Eagle Scout Project: to restore at least el prieto trailwork plansnine sections of El Prieto that were hit hardest by this past winter’s storms.

CORBA Trail Crew volunteer Steve Messer and Friends of El Prieto’s Banner Moffat provided technical guidance for the project, helping lead today’s trail crews that were organized by Connor.

A lot was accomplished today with four of the nine planned sections being completed. Two of the sections were completely wiped out by last winter’s storms, leaving fine singletrack that disappeared suddenly in the sandy streambed. With the eager help of Connor’s boy scout and high school mountain bike league friends, we were able to move tons of rock to provide a stable trailbed above the stream area. We also completed a rip rap wall and rock armoring of the last creek crossing (as you descend), and repaired some other smaller sections.

Recently, Deputy Superintendent Marty Dumpis talked of the Forest Service’s goal of opening up to 110 miles of trails and 98,000 acres of the closure before summer.  We hope Brown Mountain and El Prieto will be on that list soon.

There’s still a lot to do on El Prieto. Connor will be out there next Saturday, May 14, 2011, continuing on his project. Come out and volunteer to help restore one of everyone’s favorite trails.

Connor on the completed section:

Connor Ryken on the completed section of El Prieto trailwork

Mountain Bikers Preserving the Trails

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Sunday’s trailwork on El Prieto went exceptionally well. We had perfectly cool, clear weather, damp soil that was easy to work with, and good spirits all around. Thanks to the approximately 50 people who came out to show this heavily damaged trail some much-needed love.

Rock Armoring Teamwork

Rock Armoring Teamwork

In over 320 person-hours of labor, several washed out drainages were restored, brush was cut back, and many vulnerable sections of the trail tread received rock-armoring treatment. We were even able to restore one section of the original trail that had all-but vanished since the fires. With some diligent hand-tool work and brush cutting, the “cactus corner” section was re-cut and benched, and is ready for finish work.

Special thanks to the St. Francis high school mountain bike team, who came out in force to contribute. Of today’s volunteer trailworkers, more than half were high school team mountain bikers.

As high school students, not only did they learn about trail construction and sustainability, they also gained insight into what makes a “good” trail: how it flows, how it handles water, how sight-lines affect safety on the trail and many other tidbits that one usually doesn’t have time to think about when riding a trail.

Another wonderful aspect of high-school team riders is that many of their parents also get involved. Many are introduced not only to the sport of mountain biking, but to volunteerism and trail stewardship. At least eight parents of high school racers also put sweat equity into the trail on Sunday.

The Forest Service is also requiring all volunteer trail working groups to use safety gear including gloves and hard hats. Thanks to the generous support of REI we were able to outfit all our volunteers with hard hats, a first for CORBA trail crews. We also thank Flat Attack tire sealant for their support of CORBA’s programs.

Special thanks also to Banner Moffat and the Friends of El Prieto, for their ongoing regular work that has helped keep this trail from disappearing altogether since the Station Fire, even though it remains closed to the public. We’re hoping that El Prieto will be a top priority for re-opening by the FS after the rain season ends.

El Prieto trailwork

The original trail restored

Flash flooding and unstable hillsides are still major concerns, and the reason this and many other Station Fire trails will remain closed at least through next spring. In a recent meeting with the non-motorized trails supervisor for the forest, we discussed some creative ways that CORBA, the Friends of El Prieto and other volunteers might work together to open this trail sooner, rather than later. Some possibilities might include a “conditional” opening, where the trail would be closed at any sign of rain, and surveyed after each rain for safety. At this point, the mountain bike community would welcome any access to El Prieto.

Keeping the trail in good shape is the first and most important step towards that goal. Thanks again to everyone who came out!

El Prieto Trailwork Day – Nov 7

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Join CORBA, the Friends of El Prieto, the St. Francis High School MTB Team and others to help restore this favorite trail in the Angeles front country.

We will meet at 7:45 so we can head out by about 8:00 a.m. Join us to do brush removal and trail repair on one of So Cal Mountain Bikers’ favorite trails.

The trail repair work may involve some heavy lifting, rock-reinforcing some sections and rebuilding sections of trail. We’ll also be clearing brush from much of the trail, which has grown back since the Station fire. We need to prepare the trail for the coming winter and to keep it in good shape for when this part of the forest eventually opens (Note that it is still closed, and we will be working in the area with Forest Service permission).

Flat Attack Tire Sealant

This trailwork day is being sponsored by Flat Attack. The first 20 people to RSVP at will get a bottle of this great flat-prevention product.  CORBA’s trail crew also receives generous support for REI.

No experience necessary. Tools and instruction will be supplied. Be prepared with long sleeves, long pants, sturdy hiking shoes and drinking water.

Please RSVP at is available for you to download, print, and spread the word. Rain cancels.

If you can’t make November 7th, but still want to help, there is another opportunity this weekend. 8 a.m. on October 30th, Conor Uhlir will be restoring the picnic table area along the El Prieto trail as part of his Eagle Scout project. Download the PDF flyer for his trailwork day here.