Posts Tagged ‘Vasquez Rocks’

Send your comments: Open the Canyon Trail, Reconsider the Heritage Trail

Monday, July 16th, 2012

On June 26, Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation released the draft reports on the Canyon Trail in Placerita Canyon Natural Area and the Heritage Trail in Vasquez Rocks Natural Area.  Those reports were the result of petitions signed by hundreds of people who wanted to see these trails opened to bicycles. The Canyon Trail was especially important, as it provides extensive connectivity to other trails in that are open to bicycles, and cyclists had been using the trail for four years without incident, because of an incorrectly placed multi-use sign.

At the first meeting held by the County, over 90% of the 90 or so attendees were mountain bikers. It was clear that this was an important issue, and the newly formed SCV Trail Users rallied local support. On July 12, 2012 the second meeting took place. This time about 200 were in attendance, with a little under half being mountain bikers.

The draft reports recommended that the Canyon Trail be opened to bicycles, after modifications to improve safety. These modifications include the installation of pinch points, additional signage, a posted speed limit, and the application of a “walk zone” close to the nature center, where docent-led interpretive nature hikes are often held.

Only one official County trail exists among all these at Vasquez Rocks

Only one official County trail exists among all these at Vasquez Rocks

Vasquez Rocks Natural Area has two named trails, the Pacific Crest Trail (closed to bikes), and the Heritage trail, a half-mile trail connecting the two parking lots in the park. What we learned at the public meeting last Thursday was that the Heritage trail is the only County trail within the park. The extensive network of trails are all unofficial “social” trails, and as such, could not be considered for opening to bikes. Primarily because the Heritage trail does not connect to any other official trail, and there is a dirt road alternative, the recommendation was to keep the trail closed to bikes.

CORBA has put together our comments on the two proposals, available after the page break. We encourage everyone to send a quick email to, stating:

Thanks to the County for considering opening the Canyon and Heritage trails to bicycles. We fully support the opening of Canyon Trail to bicycles. We’d like to see the recommended safety modifications prioritized and installed as soon as possible, so that bicycles can return to the Canyon trail. Opening of the Canyon trail to bicycles should not be made contingent upon the completion of the other recommended improvements to the trail.

We’d also like to see the Heritage trail re-considered for bicycle access, taking into account the potential for future routes as the numerous social trails are either rehabilitated or brought up to County multi-use standards and made official trails.

Comments are only being accepted until July 19, so don’t wait. The final decision will be made by the County Board of Supervisors. The more emails and letters of support they receive, the better our chances of having the County move forward on the recommendations and open the Canyon trail to bicycles.




Canyon Trail and Vasquez Rocks – Meeting Thursday July 12

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The County’s objective assessments of the Canyon Trail in Placerita Canyon Natural Area, and the Heritage trail in Vasquez Rocks, have been completed.  By applying the State’s Change In Use survey, objective data was gathered about these two trails.

The study concluded that Canyon Trail can be made suitable for multi-use designation including bicycles. It will require some modifications including pinch points, signage, and a designated walk-your-bike section. The trail, irregardless its potential for a multi-use designation, was found to be needing additional trailwork and restoration in several areas. We hope that the modifications needed to allow bicycles can be given priority over other needed trailwork.

Heritage trail, on the other hand, was found to be unsuitable for multi-use designation. The primary reasoning behind this finding is a lack of connectivity to other trails that allow bicycles, and the availability of an alternate route. Extensive impacts were noted from existing users (hikers and equestrians) that would require significant restoration.

While these findings might make sense if Heritage trail were the only candidate for opening to bicycles, there are many miles of trails in Vasquez Rocks. Mountain Bikers from the Santa Clarita Valley did not specifically ask for the Heritage trail to be considered for multi-use, they asked for the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area to be considered for multi-use including all its trails.

In fact, CORBA would like to know what objective data the County’s “no bicycles in Natural Areas” was based. By what process was this policy formulated?

CORBA supports the County’s assessment of the Canyon trail and the recommendation to open it to bikes. We do feel, however, that the assessment of Vasquez Rocks is incomplete as only one trail has been assessed. The fact that the only trail assessed in Vasquez Rocks has seen such significant impacts from existing users, underscores the point that all users have impacts, and bicycles in that respect are very similar to other trail users. We urge the County to complete the assessment of Vasquez Rocks’ trails and to consider future potential connectivity of all trails as a whole.

We also feel that the inclusion of State draft studies should not be cited as evidence until they are fully vetted and published, and the classification of bicycling as an incompatible “active recreation” is inaccurate.

The County will be hosting a public meeting on Thursday, July 12 to formally present the findings and take public comments. There is expected to be a large and organized opposition from other user groups present at tomorrow’s meeting, unlike the first meeting in which mountain bikers made up the vast majority of the attendees. The SCV Trail Users group did a great job of gathering and organizing local mountain bikers during the first meeting, and have continued to provide leadership on these issues, with the full support of CORBA and IMBA.

Please attend this meeting and let your voice be heard:


6pm, Thursday, July 12, 2012. 

William S. Hart Park – Hart Hall  (map)

24151 Newhall Ave, Newhall, CA 91321, USA

Consider RSVP’ing to the SCV Trail Users Facebook event:

Placerita Canyon, Vasquez Rocks Trails Public Meeting Announced for July 12

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

LA County Public MeetingThe County of Los Angeles has completed their assessment of trails in Placerita Canyon Natural Area, and Vasquez Rocks.  They have scheduled a meeting to discuss their findings and draft report for:


July 12, 2012, 6 p.m. 

William S. Hart Park – Hart Hall

24151 N. Newhall Avenue, Newhall, Ca 91321

The Canyon Trail was closed to mountain bikes, after having been posted open for several years, in 2011. Mountain bikers came out en masse at the initial public meeting, and we hope for a similar turnout at this next meeting. Los Angeles County has applied the State Parks Change-in-use Assessment tool to evaluate the trails, and will make recommendations based on their objective findings. The State has been actively developing and testing the tool over the past two years. It’s initial test in Southern California was on the Tapia Spur trail. In that case it was found that with some modifications, the trail could be made safe and sustainable for all users, including mountain bikes. Tapia Spur is currently in the process of being upgraded with those recommended modifications. We would hope for a similar outcome in the County’s application of the tool.

The draft report itself will be released on June 28, twelve days before the public meeting.  We will post a notice and a quick review of the report once it is made publicly available.