Posts Tagged ‘trailwork’

Tapia Spur Trail to Undergo Shared-Use Upgrades Starting in September

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

State Parks has announced that the multi-use Tapia Spur Trail in Malibu Creek State Park/Tapia Park will undergo several changes to address the trail’s ability to sustain shared use by hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers. The work is tentatively set to begin in September of 2011.

According to State Parks’ Tapia Spur Trail project description (Tapia Spur Trail Muli-Use Work Project Report – PDF), dated April 12, 2011, Tapia Spur Trail lacks a variety of components necessary to adequately accommodate multi-use moving forward based on new multi-use guidelines, and therefore intends to implement several multi-use components that will bring the trail up to current multi-use guidelines. These components include brushing (which has already begun), improved drainage and increased tread width, speed control sections in areas lacking sight distance, and realignment of one stretch of trail  to increase sight distance and redirect the trail off the fall line.

Of particular interest to CORBA are the components of “sinuosity” (the trail weaving in and out of the topography to create a curvy alignment) and “pinch points” (placement of items such as rocks or logs that create a perceived narrow point in the trail corridor). Both of these components have been used in other areas with good results; that of slowing the mountain biker while maintaining an enjoyable experience for the cyclist, hiker, and equestrian. As I have previously stated, slowing down around other trail users can virtually eliminate the complaints by those who say that mountain bikes are dangerous because they go too fast. While most cyclists are in control of their bikes when passing other trail users, the perception of speed–even a few miles per hour–can reduce or even spoil another user’s trail experience, including other mountain bikers. We’re all out there for the same reason, to enjoy nature. Treating others with respect is part of that enjoyment.

CORBA is encouraged by this upgrade project as it will allow State Parks to work more closely with the trail user community in implementing shared use concepts and guidelines. Tapia Spur Trail can become a showcase of proper multi-use practices, and with the assistance and cooperation of the mountain bike community, we can potentially have a comprehensive example of multi-use guideline implementation. CORBA has been assured that mountain bikers will be considered in every step of component implementation on this important trail link from Malibu Creek State Park to Tapia Park.

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind the mountain bike community that CORBA’s funding and volunteer needs are ongoing. Trail work volunteers are still needed, as well as funding for CORBA Trail Crew tools and other supplies. Just recently State Parks released a comprehensive trail crew leader training schedule, and in addition to trail workers, we also need those interested in becoming trained and certified as trail crew leaders. Training starts July 7 so we need volunteers immediately. To contact CORBA, email, and go to our Join/Donate page to to help support CORBA’s efforts.

Sunset Ridge Trailwork

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Angeles Mountain Patrol and CORBA Volunteer Robin McGuire

On Saturday June 4th, CORBA volunteers worked with Mount Wilson Bicycling Association to restore the Lower Sunset Ridge trail. The one-mile trail runs between Millard Campground and the Mt. Lowe Fire Road. This portion of the National Forest had just been opened a few weeks prior, and the trail was in relatively good shape, but severely overgrown in places.

The original plan was to split into two crews and tackle both the Lower Sunset Ridge and brushing on the Sunset Ridge trail.  It was a disappointingly low turnout, with only five people coming out to give back to the trails. However, the five who came out were all experienced trailworkers, and we were able to get the entire trail brushed. That includes all the poison oak. We also rebuilt a basket that supports the trail through a drainage, carrying several tons of rock by hand to fill the void in the trail and restore the tread.

Mount Wilson Bicycling Association had done a previous day of work on State Trails day, repairing another problem drainage along this trail. We’re happy to see the MWBA getting more active once again, and look forward to working with them on future trailwork days.

Thanks to Mitch Marich of the Mount Wilson Bicycle Association, Angeles Mountain Patrol and intrepid trailwork volunteers Mike and Robin McGuire for all your sweat.

More before and after pictures after the break.


Sunset Ridge Trailwork, National Trails Day (June 4)

Friday, May 27th, 2011

On Saturday, June 4, 2011, join CORBA and the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association for a day of trailwork on Sunset Ridge trail in the Angeles National Forest front country.

The Sunset Ridge trail is among those that was recently re-opened to the public. It is a popular hiking and mountain biking trail in the foothills above Altadena and Pasadena. It is often ridden as a loop with the Sam Merril Trail or Mt. Lowe Fireroad.

The trail has seen many days of volunteer maintenance since the station fire by several different volunteer groups, and the tread is in reasonably good shape. However, this season’s ample rains and a lack of traffic on the trail have allowed the trail to become severely overgrown in many sections. Our primary focus for this trailwork day will be brush removal, with some treadwork on sections that need it.

Meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Millard Campground parking lot at the top of Chaney Trail in Altadena. From there we will carpool one group to the upper section of trail while another group starts at the bottom and works upwards. Be sure to wear long pants, long sleeves, and sturdy shoes, as you may be turned away if you don’t meet these minimum Forest Service requirements for trail volunteers.  We will have gloves and hard-hats for volunteers (required for all trailwork volunteers in the National Forest), but bring your own if you have them.

Where:   Millard Parking Lot   (Top of Chaney Trail in Altadena)

When:  Saturday, June 4, 2011, 8:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bring:  Long sleeves, long pants, sturdy shoes, water/snack or energy food, gloves and hard hats (These will be supplied if you don’t have them).

Let us know:  RSVP to or on our Facebook Event

MRT Begins Mustard Eradication on the New Millennium Trail

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
New Millenium Trail in 2008, without eradication efforts

New Millenium Trail in April 2008, without eradication efforts

Today, March 28, the Mountains Restoration Trust will begin eradication of the invasive Mustard plants along the New Millennium Trail. Each year by early summer the mustard can choke off the trail and render it near-impassable. This is especially true after above-average rainfall seasons like we’ve experienced this year.

This picture from April 2008 shows how the New Millennium Trail will likely look again if no eradication effort is undertaken.

CORBA has provided funds to the MRT to help support their efforts. This will save many days of brush-clearing trailwork in the early summer, allowing us to concentrate on other trailwork efforts.

We thank the MRT for helping keep this much-loved trail rideable for all.

Rogers Road Trail Update

Monday, November 15th, 2010

On November 10, CORBA Board members Mark Langton, Jeff Klinger, Hans Keifer, Danusia Bennet-Taber, and Steve Messer, along with Jim Hasenauer of IMBA and Bryan Gordon of the Canyonback Alliance, walked/rode the upper section of Rogers Road Trail with Topanga Sector Superintendent Lynette Brody and Maintenance Supervisor Dale Skinner.  This tour was arranged by CORBA with these State Park employees in response to intense public input regarding recent work performed on the “re-route” (singletrack) section of trail (west where it meets Temescal Ridge Fire Road) as well as about a mile and a half of the wider road bed to the east of the singletrack. In the past few weeks, Supervisor Skinner has used a Sweco trail tractor/dozer to fix and install several drainage channels, as well as bring the trail up to vegetation clearance guidelines for multiple use, specifically, equestrians. Many local trail users have complained to State Parks that the work was overdone and that a once narrow, serene singletrack trail has been obliterated into a road.

There are actually two separate sections, the “re-route” which was built as a true narrow trail, and the main Rogers Road Trail, which was originally a road cut that supported wide and heavy equipment.

Earlier comments on CORBA’s web site began by trying to assuage concerns of trail users not familiar with this kind of work by saying that typically trails “come back” to a more natural state after a couple of seasons. This can be said for the “re-route” section, although CORBA noted to Supervisor Skinner that the widening created a “faster trail” and suggested that possible speed control devices such as pinch-point structures be considered.

As for the wider section, based on the tour that took place on November 10, CORBA’s original comments were premature. After witnessing the complete section of the work area and hearing comments made by Supervisor Skinner, as well as an evaluation by professional trail contractor Hans Keifer, it is evident that the work that was performed lacked forethought and consideration for minimal impact. In fact, no Project Evaluation Form (PEF) was submitted for this work and therefore is in direct violation of the department’s own policy. We were assured by both Superintendent Brody and Supervisor Skinner that the work will not continue until a Project Evaluation Form is completed and that trail users will have a say in the process, which they said could take several months to over a year.

It’s true that after new construction or trail maintenance, trails look bare and lose their natural character.  Typically, Spring rains create new vegetation which helps the trails recover some of their more natural character.   This has been our experience on several agency trail maintenance projects in the past.  In the case of the recent work on the wider section of Rogers Road Trail there was a fundamental disagreement between the State’s position that Rogers should be maintained to “road” standards and that vegetation should be cut wider than the 8-foot wide/10-foot high vegetation clearance suggested by multiple use guidelines–and CORBA’s position that Rogers is a trail (the Backbone Trail), not a road; that the 8-foot/10-foot clearance was for new trail construction, not existing trails, and that the trail should be left as narrow and natural as possible while addressing and achieving the maintenance concerns of water drainage and a proper vegetation width for shared use with equestrians.

We acknowledged that this is a multi-use trail that must work for all users and that there are several drainage and maintenance issues that are beyond the scope of handwork.  We demonstrated how anything more than an 8-foot clearance wasn’t necessary for safety or sustainability and that in many cases the clearance that has been done was far wider than eight feet.  CORBA’s position is that this work went too far and urged State Parks to minimize the impact of the maintenance on the only bike-legal singletrack in Topanga State Park.

We were informed that the plan was to continue the work down to the Will Rogers State Historic Park Trail Loop, and we also expressed serious concern about continuing these impacts into what is admittedly an eroded and deteriorating section of trail. Superintendent Brody and Supervisor Skinner reiterated that moving forward, greater evaluation and a full PEF would take place and could take several months to over a year.

Examination of the new/refurbished drains that were installed shows minimal attention to corrected out sloping to facilitate proper drainage; drains were basically cut with only a few passes with the Sweco’s blade and very little additional shaping or contouring was evident. On another section of trail, an entire corner (approximately 250-300 square feet) was scraped clean of vegetation, with the reason for the denudation being “ it’s for the hikers. Hikers like the beautiful views.” This brush clearance ignores the fact that it created a large, bare, disturbed area of unprotected, easily eroded earth that will exacerbate hydro erosion because there is no root system to control runoff. Also, there was no drain installed at the bottom of the hill where water would run to from this bare area. Another section of trail further south was smoothed of ruts and out sloped correctly. However, the width of the tread was increased to approximately 12 feet, far more than what CORBA considers appropriate or necessary.

Maintenance Supervisor Dale Skinner (left foreground) and members of CORBA discuss the complete removal of vegetation from dozens of square yards of soil at an "overlook" section of Rogers Road Trail. Photo by Jim Hasenauer

Again, we were assured by both Superintendent Brody and Supervisor Skinner that the work will not continue until a Project Evaluation Form is completed and that trail users will have a say in the process. Check back here for further information as we get it. There will be several opportunities to get involved as trail planning in Topanga State Park and the rest of the Santa Monica’s moves forward. We encourage you to get involved with your parks’ planning process and be proactive in shaping park policy, planning and landscapes.

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.

Castaic Lake SRA Trailwork Day – Oct 9

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Help us get ready for CORBA’s annual Fat Tire Fest, which will take place on October 17th. On Saturday, October 9, 2010, we’ll be doing brush removal and some minor trail repair on the trails that will be used for the CORBA Fat Tire Fest.

Come out and join us! You don’t need any experience but should be prepared with long sleeves, long pants, sun protection, sturdy hiking shoes and drinking water and a snack. We’ll supply tools and instruction.

RSVP to or on our facebook page. Meet at 7:45 a.m. so we can roll out at 8:00 a.m. There is a parking fee to enter the park, however, let the entrance station attendant know you’re there to do “Volunteer trailwork with CORBA” and your entrance fees will be waived. Enter the park through the guard station and turn left. Meet at the fourth parking area on the right. Details of the meeting spot are below:
View CORBA Castaic trailwork 10/9/2010 in a larger map

CORBA Adopted Trail Damaged by Water Spill

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

by Danusia Bennett-Taber 

COSCA Los Robles West Potrero trailhead. The spill-induced rut is much worse a little further up the trail.


A power outage at a local water facility caused substantial damage to our COSCA (Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency) adopted trail – Los Robles West / Potrero trailhead section. On Saturday August 21st hundreds of gallons of water poured down this trail  opening huge ruts and even damaging the parking lot. 

COSCA is trying to find the responsible party so they can repair this damage. Until that happens, be aware of this damage and ride safely. 

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.