Posts Tagged ‘General Plan’

CORBA comments on Topanga General Plan

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Topanga State Park General PlanAs we reported last year, a new Topanga General Plan is being developed by California State Parks. The plan will guide Topanga State Park’s future, ensuring that management practices are in line with the mission and objectives of the Park.

The general plan does not govern trail use designations, and instead defers to the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Master Plan, which is still in development.

The current draft of the plan was released in December.  The public comment period ends today, January 23, 2012.  Below are the comments that CORBA is submitting. Members of the public are also welcome to comment on the plan, which can be found at


February 23, 2012

Luke Serna, Environmental Coordinator
Topanga General Plan Team
California State Parks
Southern Service Center
8885 Rio San Diego Drive, Suite 270
San Diego, CA 92108

Re.:  Topanga State Park General Plan

Dear Mr. Serna,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Topanga State Park General Plan. We have been involved in the process from the first public hearings, and are happy to see the plan approach its final iterations.  We congratulate you and the staff for moving the plan forward.  However, as CORBA represents off-road cyclists, there are a few items and omissions in the current draft about which we have some concerns.

1.  We read on page 49 “Eight additional focus group meetings were held to better understand a few site specific issues.” Then number 5 on page 50 mentions a focus group on user conflicts. CORBA as an organization representing off-road cyclists was not made aware of, and did not attend any such focus group. Nor did any of our members or anyone we can find in the bicycling community. There aren’t any details of who called the group or how that group’s findings may have affected the final plan. Without cyclists present, we are concerned that an unbalanced representation of user conflicts may have been made. Exclusion of one user group from such a focus group cannot possibly foster multi-use principles, just as excluding a user group from a trail furthers and deepens user conflicts when they do occur. Please document and clarify the process used to form this focus group and its findings as they pertain to the general plan. This would perhaps be suitable for inclusion as an appendix.

2. On page 65, it states “1. a. This management plan will address the ability of bikes, horses and other pack animals, and fire, construction and Park vehicles to carry and spread exotic plant seed throughout the Park.”  There is no mention of hiking boots, running shoes, shoe tread, socks or clothes as a vector for the spread of exotic seed. This should also be of concern and should be addressed, especially since hikers are much more likely than cyclists to go off-trail where they can be exposed to more seed than would otherwise be encountered by those staying on the trail. We feel this is an omission.

3. Page 53 states that “trail-use designations are not part of this plan…. However, trail corridors, as well as trail goals and guidelines, will be established as a part of this process.”  While these “trail corridors” appear in the legend of the map on page 105, the scale of the map and the visual indicators used in the legend do not allow for the easy identification of or distinction between “corridors” and existing trails.  A verbal description of each trail corridor proposed and/or a larger scale map would do much to alleviate and prevent any confusion. We feel we cannot adequately comment on the proposed trail corridors without fully understanding them.

4.  In Table 3, “Planning Matrix” on page 113, the Lagoon, Watershed Zone and Lower Topanga zones are listed as being restricted to “hiking on designated trails only.” To list an entire zone off-limits to other user groups will hamper the efforts to complete the Coastal Slope trail as it is envisioned–a multi-use long distance trail–that will pass through that zone. The Coastal Slope trail itself appears on the Lower Topanga/Lagoon Preferred Plan “Range of possible features” on page 115.  Making trail use decisions on a trail-by-trail basis, rather than a blanket closure of an entire area, will allow for better management of users in the area, and reduce impediments to the planned Coastal Slope Trail.

5.  According to the plan Musch Campground is open to bicycles.  However, the Musch Trail is currently closed to bicycle use. A formal change-in-use request has been submitted to convert that trail to multi-use including bicycles. How is Musch Campground currently accessed by bicycles?

Off-road cycling is a healthy outdoor recreational activity that entices people away from their couches and computers and into our treasured open spaces. Cyclists comprise a large portion of State Park visitors, yet only fire roads and Rogers Road are currently open to bikes in Topanga SP, concentrating bicycles on fewer trails, and placing them on wide fire roads that encourage high rates of downhill speed. This contributes to user conflicts and creates further divisiveness between user groups. We would like to see the General Plan recognize cycling as a legitimate, welcomed and, when managed appropriately, sustainable activity in Topanga State Park.

CORBA has a long history with State Parks in the Santa Monica Mountains. Our trail crew volunteers have worked on Rogers Road and many other trails in neighboring State Park units for many years. We note in the plan that there is a recommendation to continue to work with volunteer and non-profit groups. We work side-by-side with other user groups at State Trails Day and other events. CORBA works constantly to educate, inform and encourage off-road cyclists to practice good trail etiquette, and the vast majority do. We look forward to continuing and furthering our relationship with Topanga State Park and other SP units in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Thank you,

Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association

Notice of EIR for Topanga State Park General Plan

Friday, December 9th, 2011


Date: December 5, 2011

The California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) has directed the preparation of and intends to adopt an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed project, in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and State CEQA Guidelines. CDPR is the lead agency for the proposed project under CEQA.

PROJECT LOCATION: Topanga State Park is a CDPR park unit located within Los Angeles County.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT: The General Plan directs the long-range management, development and operation of Topanga State Park by providing broad policy and program guidance including goals, guidelines and objectives for the management of the Park. The plan will set aside a number of management zones including; a I/Ihldlands Zone constituting over 70% of the Park’s acreage that shall contain minimal development with modest camping opportunities; a Cultural Presen/e to heighten the interpretation and protection of outstanding cultural resources; a Historic Zone whose core includes the former Rancho Las Lomas Celestiales (now known as Trippet Ranch); as well as other zones for resource management, visitor use and accessible interpretive and recreational programs. The Plan also contains specific proposals to consolidate the Park’s trail system through eliminating duplicate trails and relocating trails away from sensitive resources.

PUBLIC REVIEW PERIOD: The Draft EIR is being circulated for public review and comment for a period of 45 days, beginning Thursday December 8, 2011 and ending on Monday January 23, 2012. Your views, comments and questions regarding this Plan are welcomed. They should be directed to:

Luke Serna, Park & Recreation Specialist
8885 Rio San Diego Dr., Suite 270
San Diego, CA 92108

or by email at

Copies of the EIR may be reviewed at the following locations during normal business hours or downloaded from the CDPR website at the following web address:

California State Parks, Angeles District Office, 1925 La Virgenes Road, Calabasas, CA 91302

Third Public Meeting for Topanga State Park General Plan on June 14th

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

California State Parks is inviting the public to the third public meeting for the Topanga State Park General Plan. The purpose of this meeting is to present the single (preferred) plan and support materials. After the presentation, the General Plan team, comprised of CSP landscape architects environmental scientists, historians, archaeologists and park staff will be available to discuss this preferred plan. The single plan was developed with the input received at the first and second public meetings held in September 2009 and July 2010.

Following the third public meeting, the General Plan team will prepare the preliminary General Plan which will then be available for public review and comment as per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process.

After the completion of the CEQA process, the General Plan Document will be presented to the California Parks and Recreation Commission which will entail a public hearing process including additional opportunity for public comment.

A General Plan is mandated for state parks units by the Public Resources Code. The plan becomes the primary management document for a unit of the State Park System, establishing its purpose and management direction for the future. The plan does not provide specific physical designs but does provide a vision for the park and guidelines for future development.

Meeting location:

June 14, 2011 (Tuesday)

6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Stewart Hall @ Temescal Gateway Park

Sunset Blvd. & Temescal Canyon Road

Pacific Palisades

Topanga State Park General Plan Meeting #3

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

California State Parks is holding its third public meeting to determine the new general plan for Topanga State Park on June 14 at Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades. Mountain bikers who use Topanga State Park and surrounding trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation area are strongly encouraged to attend the meeting and comment on the plan. For details click here Scan 4.

Topanga State Park Meeting #2

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

On July 28, Jim Hasenauer and Jeff Klinger attended the second General Plan Meeting for Topanga State Park. It is important that riders weigh-in on this process and view the planning website at:

Most of this meeting focused on the vision for the park and the idea of management zones. There are several important concerns for cyclists. Input at this phase of the General Plan process will be used to formulate the Preferred Plan. Please read the following, check out the website and comment at:

1. The plan emphasizes preservation of Topanga’s significant natural resources. We support that. Unfortunately, the vision does not give strong enough commitment to trail recreation in the park. The mission of California State Parks is: To provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Topanga’s vision needs to be consistent with the agency’s mission. The Vision should include a statement such as: “Provide outstanding sustainable and diverse trail experiences for hikers, mountain bicyclists, equestrians and other park visitors.”

2. Mountain bicyclists have enjoyed Topanga since the very first days of our sport. One of the early mountain bike pioneers, Victor Vincente of America, developed his prototype “Topanga” mountain bike there. When CORBA was formed in 1987, it was partially in response to the closing of singletracks in Topanga State Park. Mountain bicyclists want equity of trail experiences, diversity of trail experiences, and connectivity of trails. The plan will influence each of these for many years, so it’s important that you submit comments now.

Equity of trail experience – If you ride Topanga, you know that on any given day, most of the trail users are on bicycles. In contrast, we’re only allowed on less than half the trails/roads. All singletracks, with the exception of Roger’s Road, are closed to us. It’s fine to have one or two singletracks “hiker only,” but it is not fair to have all but one of them closed. An early descriptive statement on the Planning web page says “singletrack trails host hikers and sometimes equestrians.” It’s time for this to change. Let the Park Service know which singletrack trails would be important to you. Ask them to open them. Another concern is that the park is considering “natural and cultural preserves.” In most cases, preserves ban bicycles. We are, of course, committed to protecting these wild and significant areas, but there should be bicycle access to and through these preserves.

Diversity of Trail Experience—Mountain bicyclists, like other outdoor recreationalists, are diverse in our interests and abilities. Topanga riders range from beginners, including children first learning to ride, to skilled, technical, even professional riders. The one size fits all view of “fire roads yes/singletracks no,” does not serve the public’s recreational needs. Our highest priority for the Santa Monica Mountains has always been access to the entire length of the Backbone Trail. In Topanga, Hondo Canyon and the Musch trail are sections of the Backbone that mountain bikers want open. In the planning meeting, they presented a “Visitor Based Camping and Trail Map” that shows the Hondo Canyon section of the Backbone open to bikes. We need to support that. It is true that not everyone could ride all of the Hondo Canyon trail without walking, but that doesn’t mean it should be closed to us. In fact, part of the experience of mountain biking is the adventure of exploring new trails and to hop off and hike-a-bike sections that are too steep or technical for our abilities. Land managers don’t seem to understand this concept, or mountain bikers in general. The Musch Trail is a significant missing link in all of their plans. There’s a trail camp there, which we need access to. The Backbone Trail is the most significant, long distance trail in the Santa Monicas. It should be open to us. The Plan also envisions a major trailhead for the Coastal Slope Trail, a long distance trail on the ocean side slope of the mountains. This too must be multiple-use.

Connectivity of trails – There are at least two major obstacles to connectivity in Topanga. The first is the cyclist missing link to the Backbone mentioned above. The second is bike access to Temescal Canyon. Over the last several years, Temescal Canyon has become the site of regular meetings, seminars, interpretive events, family activities, etc. Those of us coming from the San Fernando Valley side cannot get there by bike. That’s particularly frustrating because there are two trails that go from Topanga State Park to Temescal and one trail that goes from Will Rogers State Park to Temescal. All three of these are closed to us. The Visitor Based map indicates that the Temescal Ridge Trail would be open to bikes. This is significant and needs to be supported.

Vehicles on dirt Mulholland – State Parks is considering allowing cars to drive along dirt Mulholland in the Mulholland Corridor Zone (see map). We oppose this. Note that it does not have to be either “visitor based” or “preservation based,” it can be a mix of both.

It’s important that you let State Park officials know that you love Topanga State Park and have specific recreational needs there. We have seen the Angeles District of State Parks spend tax dollars on new “No Bikes” signage in Topanga and we’ve seen their employees attempt to re-designate Sin Nombre and two Foxes trails in Pt. Mugu to hiker-only (which CORBA literally caught in the act and prevented). Overall, they APPEAR to be biased against, and turning a blind-eye to the needs of the State’s residents who visit and recreate at State Parks via mountain bicycle. Well, State Parks is reaching out to the public for input and support. Let them know that you, as a State Parks visitor, supporter, and enthusiast, expect more from them, and equitable representation in this plan. Email comments to: or write: SOUTHERN SERVICE CENTER / Project Lead, 8885 Rio San Diego Dr., #270, San Diego, CA  92108-1627


Jim Hasenauer & Jeff Klinger

Topanga State Park General Plan Meeting CANCELLED

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

This meeting has been canceled. When State Parks reschedules it, we will let you know. Be a part of Topanga State Park’s future by attending a workshop on May 11, 2010 at Stewart Hall, Temescal Canyon Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades. The California Dept. of Parks and Recreation is preparing a General Plan and an environmental impact report on the potential impacts that the Plan may cause. The Plan will identify management areas/corridors and recommend goals and guidelines for the park that will address future management of park resources, land-use and development, visitor use, and operational issues. The Plan may recommend levels and types of use, capacities and visitation, special designations and protections, as well as location and type of future facilities.

It is important that the agencies hear from mountain bikers as we are key members of the park’s community and stakeholders in the park’s future. The first workshop was held September 29 and focused on the existing conditions and issue identification. State Parks personnel will present project alternatives for public consideration and comment at the upcoming meeting. For more information visit and check for future developments.