Posts Tagged ‘national park service’

Santa Monica Mountains Rec Fest 2015

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

2015-10-24 09.33.01The 2015 Rec Fest was held at Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains on October 24, 2015. The 2014 event was such a success we were delighted to hear that the event would be repeated again this year, thanks to grants and donations from the SAMOfund, Coke and others.

20151024030-Santa Monica Mountains Rec Fest Corba Youth AdventuresThe Rec Fest is all about opening the doors to the many forms of recreation available in our local mountains to people who may not know what’s possible. Visitors to the event were able to try their hand at casting a fishing line, riding a covered wagon, pitching a tent, riding a horse, rock climbing, or doing a nature hike. The local audobon society chapter was there to tell kids – and show them – some of the abundant birdlife found in our mountains. An astronomy club was there to show them what there is to be discovered in our skies (they pointed at the moon, visible during the day). At noon was a one-mile fun run on the trails, where each participant received a medal for finishing. There were plenty of interpretive stations along a nature hike, and craft and hobby activies.
And of course, thanks to the tireless efforts of Mountain Bike Unit volunteers

Lance, Larry, Dan, Joyce, Dave and Regina, and Walk & Rollers’ Jim Shanman, more than 160 kids, and some of their anxious parents, were able to try mountain biking through CORBA’s Youth Adventures program.

CORBA’s Youth Adventures program takes out at-risk youth from areas all over Los Angeles County for a half-day mountain bike ride in Malibu Creek State Park, Paramount Ranch, and other locations. About twice a month, ten to fifteen students, some of whom have never visited a State Park or any form of mountains, are taken out for an interpretive mountain bike ride. The program is run on behalf of CORBA by the Mountain Bike Unit. They’re the great volunteers we see patrolling the Santa Monica Mountains in their signature yellow jerseys. CORBA is truly grateful to have the Youth Adventures programs administered by MBU volunteers, and today’s event was no exception.

Walk & Rollers also brought tot’s balance bikes and smaller bikes with training wheels for the younger set. Throughout the day we had parents putting their kids on tot bikes. It’s always a blessing to see the kids’ eyes light up when they roll down the wooden ramp we had set up, and remind us of why we all ride bikes.

One of the truly great aspects of the event are the attendees. Families are bused in to the event from park-poor communities such as East Los Angeles, South Central Los Angeles and other underprivileged areas. It’s sad to see how many of these kids had never been to a park, never ridden a bicycle, or have never really discovered the outdoors. But at the same time that sadness is reversed as this new world of opportunity is opened up to them. They come back from the mountain bike ride breathing hard, but with an ear-to-ear grin.

With a fleet of about 35 bikes in operation, plus ten or so smaller bikes from Walk & Rollers, we still ran out of bikes (and guides) three or four times during the day’s festivities. That puts our estimate over 160 people who rode a mountain bike, most for the first time.

CORBA’s Youth Adventures is a great place to retire your old bikes. We’re gratefully accept tax-deductible donations of complete bikes or bike parts. Youth Adventures depends on volunteers and donations to continue giving underprivileged kids a chance to experience the joys of riding a bike in the great outdoors. If you’d like to make a donation please contact us.

Thanks to the National Park Service for having the foresight to organize this special event, and to the many docents, volunteers and staff who help make it happen. By all measures, the event was a great success and we look forward to it becoming an annual event.


20151024028-Santa Monica Mountains Rec Fest Corba Youth Adventures

Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Released

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
The NPS Preferred Alternative
The NPS Preferred Alternative

The National Park Service (NPS) today released the findings of the Rim of the Valley (ROTV) study, including a draft Environmental Impact Report and Proposed Alternatives. The study has been underway since 2010. CORBA has commented on previous phases of the study and has also encouraged our members and the mountain biking community to do so.

The NPS has developed five alternatives for the public to comment upon. Their preferred alternative expands the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) to include much of the study area, which would allow the NPS to provide technical assistance to other land managers within the NRA.  Other alternatives include a “no action” alternative, meaning that nothing will change, a Conservation Partnership alternative, and a boundary expansion plus conservation partnership alternative.  A fifth alternative, which would have only provided planning assistance for a Rim of the Valley trail, was rejected as it didn’t meet the objectives of the study.

None of the proposed alternatives would affect or include any Angeles National Forest or San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which would remain under the management of the Forest Service. All alternatives (except the “no action” alternative) include the conceptual Rim of the Valley Trail, as originally envisioned by Marge Feinberg in her 1976 Masters thesis.

CORBA will be analyzing the study’s findings and will report back. Comments must be submitted before June 30, 2015.  An executive summary can be found here. The comprehensive set of related documents and maps, and a comment submission form can be found on the NPS Park Planning web site, while a more user-friendly overview of the process can be found at

The NPS is hosting six public meetings between April 21, 2015 and June 2, 2015 to discuss the findings and alternatives presented in the draft study report. We invite and encourage all CORBA members and supporters to attend one of the public meetings. For those unable to attend, we’ll post a full report after the first meeting.

Online/Virtual Public Meeting:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 12:30 p.m.(PDT)/ 3:30 p.m.(EDT) (WebEx Connect Time)

Please check-in early as there could be some software downloads that you may need to install to participate. The meeting presentation will start promptly at 1:00 pm PDT/4:00 pm EDT.

Click here for instructions on how to participate in the online meeting.

Local Public Meetings Schedule:

Monday, May 4, 2015, 7–9 pm
La Crescenta Public Library, Community Room
2809 Foothill Blvd.
La Crescenta, CA 91214

Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 7–9 pm
William S. Hart Regional Park, Hart Hall
24151 Newhall Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321

Wednesday, May 6,2015, 7–9 pm
Conejo Recreation and Parks District
Community Room
403 West Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Thursday, May 21, 2015, 7–9 pm
Mason Recreation Center
10500 Mason Ave.
Chatsworth, CA 91311

Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 3-5 pm*
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
Hellman-Quon Building
130 Paseo de la Plaza
Los Angeles CA 90012

West End of Etz Meloy Gets Another Gate

Friday, October 31st, 2014

IMG_2132CORBA was alerted to the fact that a private property owner at the west end of Etz Meloy Motorway (a section of the Backbone Trail) at Yerba Buena Road has erected a second, new gate to deter the public from using the route. From the National Park Service:
The 1-mile stretch of Etz Meloy Mtwy. heading east from Yerba Buena Rd. is not open to the public.  The stretch of Etz Meloy Mtwy. across this area is not to be used by trail visitors. By using it, visitors will only aggravate the situation.

CORBA reminds everyone to respect private property and not go over/around the gate as this action is not only illegal, it can also jeopardize negotiations with the landowners and NPS moving toward some kind of easement agreement.

An earlier blog has more details, history and several comments on the gate that prevents access to the Etz Meloy Mtwy from the west end.


SMMNRA Superintendent Smeck to Leave for New Yosemite Position

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Woody Smeck, Santa Monica MountainsCORBA congratulates Woody Smeck, Superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) on his new appointment.  He’s leaving on March 30 to become Deputy Superintendent at Yosemite National Park.  Woody came to the SMMNRA as a landscape architect in 1990.  He worked his way up and was appointed Superintendent in 2001.  During his tenure, the SMMNRA grew in stature in the National Park system.  Woody helped politicians understand the importance of National Parks near developed urban areas.  He helped foster interagency coordination and cooperation with the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, and other agencies in the SMMNRA.  He helped keep park programs on track in difficult budgetary times.

Most important to the mountain bike community, Woody was always accessible, fair, and honest in his dealings with us.  There is more mountain bike access on NPS land in the SMMNRA than anywhere else in the country.  Woody has been clear that responsible mountain biking is manageable on public lands and has expressed that view to his NPS peers.  We owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

Woody has been a pleasure to work with and we’ll miss him.  Our loss is Yosemite’s gain.  A search is underway for a new NPS Superintendent in the SMMNRA.

San Gabriel Watershed – CORBA Supports Alternative D

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Rescource Study CoverThe process of determining the future of the San Gabriel Watershed region started in 2005 in a series of initial scoping sessions. In 2009 the first draft alternatives were presented for public comment, as we reported in 2009. After the 2009 series of public hearings, the alternatives were revised and released In October 2011.

In October and November of 2011, the National Park Service (NPS) held another series of public meetings to discuss their preliminary study findings about the San Gabriel region, and present their revised draft alternatives. There were between 75 and 150 stakeholders at each meeting, a clear indication of how important the San Gabriel Mountains are to Southern California residents.

The report is an extensive 300 page document. It discusses a broad spectrum of the natural, cultural and recreational resources in the study area. For those interested in the geologic, cultural and natural history of the San Gabriels it is a handy reference, well worth reading. The document further describes the national significance of the resource, and ultimately finds the region suitable for NPS protection. It discusses the feasibility of NPS involvement, then presents the alternatives as to how the NPS may be involved.

As we reported in October, one of the original Alternatives, B, had been dropped, and one, D, added. The three remaining Alternatives, A, C and D were summarized and outlined by Barbara Butler, who is leading the study for the NPS. The presentations essentially recapped the Executive Summary. Members of the audience were then invited to ask questions.

Many of the questions were very specific, addressing the current shortfalls in maintenance, funding, staffing and infrastructure within the Angeles National Forest. People asked for more rangers to patrol for litterers and graffiti, funds for trail restoration and maintenance, more staff to handle volunteers and funding for recreation facilities.

Some were concerned that there may be an increase in bureaucracy and red tape if the NPS were to come in. The presenters again assured everyone present that all land use decisions would continue be made by the current land managers. They defined the NPS roles more as “Management Partners,” sharing resources with the Forest Service and other agencies, as well as facilitating better coordination and cooperation between agencies.


Reply to Cheeseboro Canyon Responses

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Thanks to all of you who posted your comments regarding our recent blog posting about the possibility of mountain bike access being threatened in Cheeseboro Canyon.

Although the “bonus run” damage may not look like much to most users, one of the top mandates of the National Park Service (“agency”)  is resource conservation. Whether you agree or disagree with the agency, if they view it as damage, they are responsible for mitigating that damage. I’m not saying I agree with their assessment, but if that’s their job, we have to respect it. Part of the process is becoming as educated as possible and working with the land managers to the benefit of all concerned, something CORBA has been doing for 24 years.

One responder brought up the question of damage created by horses as they walk on the soft/muddy trails. This is a very good point, one which I brought up with the agency in an email I sent earlier today (see below). I will report back on their response. CORBA representatives also have a meeting with agency representatives in February and we will make sure this topic is revisited.

For those of you who requested examples and locations of the bonus runs, I went there yesterday and took a few photos (see below). It’s not all of the examples, just the more pronounced ones. A couple of the “bonus runs” are actually mud pit bypasses, which hikers seem to be using as well to go around sections where horses have chewed up the trail. Sorry to not have GPS coordinates attached, but if you ride Cheeseboro with any regularity, you’ll know where they are.

As far as the short section of single track that parallels the fireroad that the agency has posted with a sign, I don’t get it either. But again, just because something has been there for a while, it doesn’t mean that the agency doesn’t view it as a problem.

E-MAIL FROM MARK LANGTON  TO NPS REGARDING TRAIL DAMAGE IN CHEESEBORO CANYON:        Several people have contacted CORBA regarding the recent sign posting closed the short singletrack section of trail in Cheeseboro that parallels the fireroad about .2 miles from the parking lot. Also, a ranger recently commented that the “bonus runs” in Cheeseboro are causing the agency to be concerned about future mountain bike access. We have also noticed that several of the bonus runs (some of which are really mud pit bypasses) have had branches put in place at either end.

We certainly want to protect the resources, but the question comes up about horse use in the parks and the damage caused by walking on the soft/muddy ground, which causes as much if not more damage and subsequent maintenance workload than the off-trail routes caused by bicycles. In fact, if you look at a couple of the bypass trails (and I know this from experience as well), they are bypassing the horse hoof holes created by horses walking through the mud, and hikers are creating/using them too. Damage is damage, and if one user group (mountain bikers) is being singled while another is not being held accountable (equestrians), especially when the equestrian group represents a much smaller percentage than the mountain bike group while creating much more damage per user, it seems unfair at the least.  Please advise.

Mountain Bike Access Threatened in Cheeseboro Canyon

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Recent comments by National Park Service ranger personnel indicate that resource damage caused by mountain bikers in Cheeseboro Canyon Park in Agoura Hills could threaten future access.

Over the last few years increased off-trail “bonus runs” have been created by mountain bikers and is a fairly serious breech of accepted activity. These bonus runs include parallel routes along designated trails for the purposes of creating a more challenging experience.

Bonus runs are a direct example of mountain bikers not adhering to posted designated trail routes. Continuing this practice could lead to access restrictions. Please think twice about going off-trail: A little personal fun now could cost a lot of fun for a lot of people in the future. Remember, your individual actions speak for the entire mountain biking community.

Rim of the Valley Study Comments

Friday, October 29th, 2010

As we reported back in August, the National Park Service has been holding public hearings on the Rim of the Valley Special Resource Study.  The public meetings have provided an opportunity for many to voice their support and/or concerns for the concept study.  Until midnight tonight, you can email your comments to the National Park Service.

Rim of the Valley Study Area Map

Rim of the Valley Study Area

The Rim of the Valley is comprised of the open spaces that surround the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys. This area spans both Los Angeles and Ventury County, and a bevy of land managers from different agencies. CORBA fully supports the prospect of having these various land managers come together under the direction of the National Park Service, with the goal of permanently protecting this vital ecological and recreational resource.


Rim of the Valley Corridor Public Meetings – Mountain Bikers Needed!

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Rim of the Valley Study Area

Rim of the Valley Study Area

The National Park Service is in the initial stages of conducting a “special resource study” of the area known as the “Rim of the Valley Corridor.” This is the area that generally includes the mountains encircling the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo Valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties in southern California.

On May 7 2008, P.L. 110-229, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 received final approval. Within that legislation the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to complete a special resource study of the Rim of the Valley Corridor. Specifically, this is a study to determine how to manage this special resource for environmental and recreational purposes.

It is vitally important that mountain bikers are represented at these public hearings to ensure that we are included in the planning process. There are some individuals and groups who would rather see mountain bikers banned from trails in the study areas. We want to ensure multi-use designations throughout the trail systems. The study corridor covers numerous land managers’ and agencies’ jurisdictions, complicating the process. We want to ensure access and trail connectivity for mountain bikers throughout the corridor.

Visit to learn more.

Meetings are scheduled:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 7-9 p.m.

Mason Recreation Center

10500 Mason Ave.

Chatsworth, CA 91311

Wednesday, September 15, 2010***

2-4 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Los Angeles River Center and Gardens

570 W. Avenue 26

Los Angeles, CA 90065

Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 7-9 p.m.

George A. Caravalho Santa Clarita Sports Complex-Activities Center Building

20880 Centre Pointe Parkway

Santa Clarita, CA 91350

Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 7-9 p.m.

Conejo Recreation and Parks District

Community Room

403 W. Hillcrest Dr.

Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Monday, October 4, 2010, 7-9 p.m.

King Gillette Ranch

26800 West Mulholland Highway

Calabasas, CA 91302

Tuesday, October 5, 2010, 7-9 p.m.***

Northeast Valley City Hall

7747 Foothill Blvd.

Tujunga, CA 91042

Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 7-9 p.m.

Charles S. Farnsworth Park

Davies Building

568 East Mount Curve Ave.

Altadena, CA 91001