Posts Tagged ‘Los Pinetos’

Los Pinetos Trailwork with SCVTU and LA County

Monday, August 12th, 2019

New LA County Trail SignageOn Saturday, August 10, 30 volunteers converged on Walker Ranch in Santa Clarita to put some finishing touches on the Los Pinetos trail. We were also joined by 6 LA County Parks department staff.

Originally scheduled for earlier in Spring this year, a few weeks ago LA County’s trail maintenance staff finally were able to work on Los Pinetos trail. As an agency, LA County doesn’t have a volunteer program tailored for doing trailwork. Instead, their staff runs trail dozers and do what appears to be a single-pass scraping of the trail, without paying any attention to drainage, outslope, or other sustainability features that the County’s own trail’s manual calls for.

This has led to much disappointment from the trails community in the County’s approach to maintaining their celebrated trails. Many, including Los Pinetos, are not sustainably aligned, and/or lack the suitable infrastructure to improve their sustainability.

The Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users, a committee of CORBA dedicated to the SCV and surrounding areas, have been busy building and maintaining City of Santa Clarita trails in East Walker Ranch and Golden Valley Ranch. This was their first opportunity to do trailwork with LA County and the USFS. Los Pinetos trail is a County-managed trail, partially on National Forest land, and partially on County-managed State Park land, which required additional coordination between the agencies.

Machine work has deepened the tread to the point where this county-installed culvert is now completely useless, showing the size of the berm created by machines.

The machine-work done on the trail by LA County’s mechanized trail crew left no drainage and a water-trapping berm that would ensure the trail becomes eroded and rutted with the next rains.  In fact, they bladed over existing drainage such as the failed the culvert pictured above. About 20 Volunteers constructed more than 20 drains on the first mile of the trail from the bottom. Meanwhile, a second crew were shuttled to the top of the trail by LA County staff, and cut back overgrown brush on the upper mile or so of trail.

Constructing a rolling-grade dip drain

Constructing a rolling-grade dip drain

While our goal had been to remove the berm and outslope the trail where possible, the depth and extent of the machine work made removing the berm by hand nearly impossible, and certainly not feasible for a one-day volunteer event. Instead we installed drains, rolling grade dips and nicks where feasible, every hundred feet or so. The upper crews brushed more than a mile of trail, where treadwork was not really needed.

LA County Parks Staff remove the fence at the trailhead, opening the trail

LA County Parks Staff remove the fence at the trailhead, opening the trail

By the end of the day, the 30 volunteers and 6 County staff put in four solid hours of trailwork, for approximately 216 volunteer hours.  In 90 degree heat and direct sun. At about noon the County staff pulled the trail closed notice and fencing from the trailhead at Walker Ranch. The trail is now officially open after three years of closure following the Sand Fire.

We thank LA County, the USFS, and the dedicated volunteer crews of the SCVTU for helping advocate for and participate in the restoration of this trail.  Currently our plan is to return to the trail in the fall, to improve the drains created and add a more in time for winter.

There remains one large downed oak tree at the last switchback near the bottom. The County crews will remove the tree this week.

Climbing 3N17 “the beast,” and descending Los Pinetos is now possible. To ride the loop, you’ll have to ride Placerita Canyon road back to the start for now. The Canyon trail is scheduled for reconstruction by LA County crews this fall. Stay tuned for updates.

The trail is popular with hikers, (and will be more popular when the Canyon trail is reopened). We encourage descending cyclists to use bells and common courtesy towards those hiking on or riding up the trail.




Enjoying a post-trailwork lunch

LA County Trail Assessment Public Meeting

Thursday, February 16th, 2012
A packed room hears the County and DC&E's presentation

A packed room hears the County and DC&E's presentation

On February 15, 2012, more than 80 people gathered at Hart Park Hall in Santa Clarita Valley to hear and weigh in on the County’s plans. Of those 80 or more people, more than 70 identified themselves as mountain bikers. The SCV Trail Users did an outstanding outreach effort to get people to come to the meeting. Many brought helmets, identifying themselves as off-road cyclists. The closure of the Canyon trail in Placerita Nature Center to bicycles has united the cycling community in the area.

The meeting was being conducted by DCE Planning, the contractor retained by the County to perform the trail assessment and make a recommendation.  After a brief round of introductions by Melissa Erikson, Sarah Sutton gave background on DC&E’s experience related to trails and planning and the trails assessment process they will be using. Stephen Copely is the non-motorized trails manager for the fifth district, and will be the contact person for the County as the process moves forward, though he did not speak during the meeting.

Melissa then gave some background of the DOJ ruling from March 2011 regarding accessibility and ADA compliance, which is her specialty. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about this DOJ  ruling. Trail and open space managers must allow personal mobility devices–which in the broadest interpretation could mean anything from quads to motorcycles to segways to wheelchairs–on any trail that pedestrians/hikers are allowed, unless they can show a “good reason” they shouldn’t be allowed. In order to show a good reason, an objective assessment of the trail is needed.  Essentially the assessment will kill two birds with one stone: determining the feasibility of personal mobility devices for the disabled and permitted uses on a trail.


Canyon Trail Closure in Placerita Canyon Nature Center

Monday, August 29th, 2011

The Canyon trail winds its way for 1.85 miles along Placerita Creek between Walker Ranch and the Placerita Canyon Nature Center. It makes a great loop with the Santa Clara Truck Trail and Los Pinetos. For many years cyclists have been riding this great loop, and it is a local favorite. It is one of very few beginner- and kid-friendly trails in the Santa Clarita Valley.

In July 2011 the trail was posted closed to bikes with no public notice, warning or input. Law enforcement have been on hand to ticket cyclists who ignore the signs, or didn’t notice them.

The alternative return route after riding Los Pinetos  is to ride pavement from Walker Ranch out to the Nature Center and back to the usual parking area. This paved, narrow two-lane road has no shoulder and no bike lanes, and is much more dangerous.  There is no alternative easy out-and-back off-road ride for beginners or those looking for an easy ride.

In County Nature Preserves like Placerita Canyon, it is at the sole discretion of the director whether trails are opened or closed to bikes. Local riders have been in contact with the park’s management about the closure, and are working to find solutions to mitigate the concerns that have led to the closure of the trail to bikes.

While it is encouraging to know the County is open to hearing the concerns of local trail users who are directly affected by this closure, to have received no prior official or public notice of the closure has left the local cycling community frustrated and angered. The reasons for the closure were unclear, though environmental impacts to Placerita Creek were initially mentioned. However the trail remains open to equestrians who have much more impact than bicycles. Trail user conflicts seem to be the real reason, though to our knowledge no specific injuries or instances have been cited. 

CORBA has long argued that excluding a user group from a trail only leads to further division among user groups, whereas including all users helps bring the trail user community together to find solutions. As the local cycling community works with the County to find a reasonable compromise to re-open the trail, cyclists should avoid riding the Canyon Trail and obey all posted signs in the area.

Read more of the local perspective from the blog or coverage from The Signal.