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CORBA eTerraTimes for January 2012

eTerraTimes Archive


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In this issue...

Riding the Palomino Tail in the Rancho Potrero Open Space
in Thousand Oaks. Photo by Graham Martin.

Rules of the Trail - Click for details
Proper Trail Etiquette

A Message from CORBA’s President

By Mark Langton

As we look forward to our 25th anniversary in August, we of course have to look back at 2011. It was both a year of growth and important transition.

  • CORBA became a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycle Association (IMBA). As a founding member of IMBA, CORBA saw the value of partnering with IMBA’s strength and reach to gain even more members and raise awareness of the ongoing goals of shared use trails in greater Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura Counties. Already we have seen an influx of new members.
  • California State Parks “change in use” process finally began after several years of non-compliance. CORBA’s efforts to make sure this process was fulfilled was and will be unwavering. Currently the Yearling/Lookout Trail conversion/realignment in Malibu Creek State Park is undergoing review and work could begin as soon as this summer. Our blog article discusses this process further.
  • CORBA established regular quarterly meetings with both State Park and National Park Service officials. These meetings have garnered a new and improved level of communication and cooperation.
  • CORBA went from a single-day fundraising event (Fat Tire Festival) to several smaller events which involved some of our local bike shop supporters, as well as the Fat Tire Fun(d)raiser, a scaled down version of the festival that focused more on riding than “festivaling”. If you know of a local bike shop that would like to host a fundraising event in their store, please send me an email at
  • Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) Superintendent Woody Smeck accepted the position of Deputy Superintendent of Yosemite National Park. (Read our blog article on Woody.) While this transition is yet to be complete, we can assure you of one thing; the new superintendent will need to be educated as to the significance and importance of mountain biking in the SMMNRA, and how intertwined mountain bikers are within the trail community. While it is likely the new superintendent will be responsive to the mountain bike community, we’ve seen over the years that different individuals come with their own sensibilities and it is sometimes the case that those sensibilities do not always align with the previous administrator’s positions.
  • State Parks implemented a more comprehensive volunteer trail work training program, requiring a greater level of commitment. CORBA members Steve Messer and Steve Clark stepped up and completed the training, enabling us to move forward with much needed trail improvement projects. In 2011 CORBA contributed significantly to trail work and maintenance in the SMMNRA, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), City of Glendale, and the Angeles National Forest (enhanced greatly through a grant from REI).
  • In addition to our Youth Adventures Program, which ran 19 outings at Malibu Creek State Park and Paramount Ranch and served dozens of at-risk youth, CORBA introduced the Kids Club, and thanks to a dedicated and passionate group of mountain biking parents, regularly scheduled monthly rides took place and introduced mountain biking to a whole new generation of mountain bikers.
  • This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the free Introduction to Mountain Bike Skills class. Last year saw the best turnout ever with a total of 300 participants, which included two special classes provided to the Mountain Bike Unit (MBU). In fact, the MBU has made the class mandatory for all new members.

Even with a quarter century of advocacy under our collective belts, there is still much to be done. Consider this: There are many miles of singletrack trails closed to bicycles in the SMMNRA, trails that are exactly the same as ones that are open to bicycles. As State Parks moves forward with their trail conversion process (a painfully slow one at that), we must be diligent and ensure that they stay the course.

And of course I sill implore everyone to simply slow down for other users. The primary complaint about mountain bikes on trails is that “they go too fast and scare us.” If you slow to other users’ speed on the trail, you remove the one justifiable complaint about mountain bikers. It’s easy to slow down, and it makes the situation more pleasant for everyone involved—a true win/win situation!

Membership Renewals: Choose CORBA as your Chapter!

Many of our members have or will be receiving renewal notices for their combined CORBA/IMBA membership. Since CORBA became a chapter of IMBA in April 2011, you no longer need to join two separate organizations (local and national). Your individual and family membership dollars support advocacy, outreach and other efforts at both the National and local levels (Corporate and Retailer memberships are presently available only for IMBA).

However, to ensure you remain a member of CORBA, there’s one extra step. Be sure to choose CORBA as your local chapter so that your dollars will more directly impact local projects and advocacy. Of course, you’re free to choose a different chapter if there is another that is more appropriate, such as our neighbors and partners at the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, IMBA’s newest California chapter.

Renewal reminders from IMBA will link you to a page where you will need to select your local chapter, pictured below, so Remember to Choose your Chapter:

You can also avoid the extra step by going to CORBA’s membership page directly. Donations to CORBA, over and above your membership, stay local and are also tax-deductible. You can make a donation at

CORBA is proud to be an IMBA chapter, working together to strengthen the collective voice of the mountain biking community. We thank you for your ongoing support.

2011 CORBA Awards

In recognition of extraordinary dedication and contribution to mountain biking recreation and open space trails in Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura Counties, CORBA announces its recipients of the 2011 CORBA Award.

Wendy Engelberg

When it comes to social networking, we can always count on Wendy to reach out through the internet to generate excitement for CORBA’s events and activities. She also has worked tirelessly coordinating and assisting with several CORBA events over the past few years, in addition to organizing and leading rides for the North Ranch Mountain Bikers, a CORBA-supporting club. She is also an outspoken advocate for responsible mountain biking. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her dedication is relentless.


Matt Gunnell

Matt helped organize the SoCal High School Cycling League in 2008 and serves as the organization’s Executive Director. The organization currently comprises nearly 30 high school teams and more than 300 riders. Under his guidance, the league has grown substantially over its four year history, bringing hundreds of new student athletes–and many of their parents and friends–into the sport of mountain biking. Matt and the League emphasize that a major component of participation in the league is stewardship of the trails, including an appreciation of–and volunteering for–trail work and maintenance. The league’s impact on the sport in Southern California is already having far-reaching effects, with many student racers having moved on to careers in cycling and the industry.

Banner MoffatBanner Moffat

Banner has had a long-time love of trails. He began mountain biking on El Prieto two decades ago, and soon realized that it needed upkeep. He has since spent many off his days off happily and tirelessly contributing to the trail’s upkeep, sometimes with help, often without, and always just for the love of it. Over the past few years he has formalized his love of the trail and his relationship with the National Forest by adopting the trail under the moniker, “Friends of El Prieto.”  He has contributed to many Eagle Scout trail restoration projects as trail boss and advisor on this and other trails, and serves as coach and mentor to the Crescenta Valley high school mountain biking team. His long time involvement in the mountain biking community has inspired many to become active and responsible mountain bikers.

Woody Smeck

As Superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) for the past 10 years, Woody has elevated the SMMNRA’s  stature in the National Park system, and worked with politicians to  help them understand the importance of National Parks near developed urban areas. He was also instrumental in improved inter-agency 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. For the mountain bike community, Woody was always accessible, fair, and honest in his dealings, making it clear to his peers that responsible mountain biking is manageable on public lands. On March 30 Woody will become Deputy Superintendent at Yosemite National Park.

The above recipients join a long list of past recipients of the CORBA award, all of whom have left an indelible mark on the sport of Mountain Biking in our area and beyond. It is the combined legacy of all the CORBA award recipients that has helped shape the sport in Southern California, and will continue to do so as the sport grows. It is thanks to them that the opportunities to enjoy mountain biking exist in its current form. These deserving 2011 recipients will be presented with their awards in the coming months as their busy schedules allow.

We congratulate them, and on behalf of the entire mountain biking community and especially CORBA’s members and supporters, we thank them wholeheartedly for their contributions to our community.

Upcoming and Recent Trailwork

For many years, most trailwork has been done by volunteers because of budget cutbacks at our parks systems. So come out and help CORBA and other volunteers keep our trails in top riding shape! You can learn more about what to expect and what you'll need to bring with you on our Trailwork web page. Keep in mind that CORBA now provides prizes and lunch after the event for volunteers who register in advance! And by registering in advance, you'll help us prepare by knowing how many volunteers to expect. If you come out to two or more trailwork days in a year, we'll give you a cool long-sleeved CORBA trail crew shirt - be sure to ask for yours!

Saturday December 3: Gabrielino Trail.

On a cool and mostly clear Saturday, CORBA and Mount Wilson Bicycling Association volunteers teamed up to work on the Gabrielino trail. The Gabrielino between Switzers and Redbox was opened to the public back in May 2011, though the trail has had little attention and was in very poor shapte. Through many sections the old trail is simply non-existent.  Starting at Switzer’s Day Use area, the volunteers worked their way up the trail. See our blog for more details and photos...

Sunday December 4: Rim Trail.

In response to a thread started on a popular local online mountain biking forum,, CORBA volunteer Steve Messer agreed to facilitate work on this much-neglected trail.  Starting from the summit of Mt. Wilson, the trail is the least-used of all the routes from the famous mountain.  Over the years the trail tread had degraded and filled in with slough from the extremely steep and constantly sliding hillsides above. It was layered with two years worth of acorns and oak leaves, leaving the trail narrow, slippery and treacherous. It had suffered from a lack of use as well, with many sections of brush difficult to travel.  An eager crew of 9 was able to re-cut the bench and cut back brush on 1.6 miles of the trail. See our blog article for photos of this event (scroll down the page!) ...

December 28-30: Rim Trail

After CORBA’s productive trailwork day on the Rim trail in December, Belfree contractors went in and worked their magic on the most dangerous sections of the trail. They hiked in with hand tools and professional know-how and achieved what would seem impossible. The narrowest, most dangerous sections of trail have been restored to a much safer width. See our blog article for the full report...

Sunday January 8, 2012: Rim Trail

We plan another day of trailwork with a small volunteer crew this weekend, on January 8, and continue brushing and benching the last two miles of the trail down to Newcombe’s Saddle. Please RSVP to See the details...

Saturday January 14, 2012: Gabrielino Trail

Come out and help restore the Gabrielino Trail between Switzers and Redbox in the Angeles National Forest. We will be working with the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association and other groups to get the middle section of trail re-established. See the details...

Saturday March 10, 2012: Dead Horse Trail in Topanga State Park. Details are forthcoming.

Saturday March 24, 2012: COSCA Spring Trailwork Day. Details are forthcoming.

Fri-Sun April 27-29: State Trails Days in Point Mugu State Park. Details are forthcoming.

To see all trailwork dates, including those of other groups, visit the CORBA trailwork calendar.

Join our mailing list to get updates on trailwork opportunities!
Send an email to

California State Parks (CSP) is planning several trail renovation projects

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 scheduled to start soon. See our blog article for more details...

California State Parks (CSP) is hiring a crew to work on Rogers Road Trail in Topanga State Park and Will Rogers State Historic Park. The work will include brushing to remove the overgrowth and some tread work to remove the ruts. The bridge on Chicken Ridge will be repaired and upgraded, and new signs put up to remind riders (bikes and equestrians) to walk through this section. CORBA will be supplying bicycles and B.O.B. Trailers to allow the trail crew volunteers easier access to the remote work sites. The work is expected to take place from February to June 2012. We will post notice of the work schedule and impacts to trail users as it is supplied by State Parks.

The Guadalasca Trail in Point Mugu State Park will also undergo some substantial improvements over the next year or two. First, the lower section (part of  the old ranch road), will be brushed out to allow access for motorized equipment. The existing culvert drains will be removed and converted to level crossings. Part of the newer section of the trail will be rerouted and in the process will add 1/4 to 1/2 mile to its length. Some of the switchbacks could be converted to climbing turns, and rolling dips will be added to help control erosion. Using IMBA-influenced designs, sinuosity and pinch points will be incorporated into the rerouted section to reduce downhill travel speeds. This will help reduce conflicts with other trail users, including climbing mountain bikers.

CSP has asked CORBA and other organizations to recruit volunteers to help with some of this work. We expect to be announcing trailwork days in the new year to get this work done. See our full blog article for more...

General News

SMMNRA Superintendent Smeck to Leave for New Yosemite Position

CORBA congratulates Woody Smeck, Superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) on his new appointment. He was always accessible, fair, and honest in his dealings with the mountain biking community. 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. A search is underway for a new NPS Superintendent in the SMMNRA. For more details and a photo, read our blog article...

New on the CORBA Website

Recreational Rides

For a list of upcoming recreational rides, please visit the CORBA Calendar.

CORBA’s Recreational Rides calendar provides a full monthly schedule of mountain bike rides for all skill levels. Mountain bike rides are organized by CORBA member clubs and led by experienced and knowledgeable guides. Recreational rides are a fun and social way to experience a variety of trails in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and beyond.

Free Mountain Biking Skills Clinic

Saturday January 7th is the next skills clinic.

The CORBA free skills clinic is held on the first Saturday of every month at Malibu Creek State Park.

Mountain biking is a lot like tennis or skiing. Just a few minor adjustments in technique can make a huge difference in your control and proficiency. If you want to get better faster, you need to know the fundamentals of mountain biking technique. Whether you're just  getting into mountain biking or have been riding for years, you'll learn some valuable tips from our Introduction to Mountain Biking  skills class that is offered each month. Check out our Skills Clinic web page for all the information. After the clinic, see photos of your new skills on the CORBA web site that you can share with your family and friends!

Follow CORBA on Twitter and Facebook

We have set up accounts with Twitter and Facebook to help keep people informed of the latest developments in our trail advocacy, recreational rides and trailwork days. Follow us on Twitter at and Facebook at

Get Our Blog Articles Delivered to Your Desktop

Have you ever wished you could get our blog articles without having to check the CORBA website every day to see if there’s anything new? Well, you can! Even though our blog software won’t send articles by email, you can still get them delivered to the inbox of most email readers like Microsoft Outlook. You use the “RSS feed” functionality for this. In fact, you can read our articles in any software that receives RSS feeds, such as Internet Explorer and other web browsers. This blog article on RSS feeds shows you how.

Support CORBA

Join or Renew your membership today on our membership web page.

Join Our Team! Do you have any ideas about mountain biking recreation in the L.A. region? Would you like to apply your skills and manage projects that contribute to the sport and lifestyle that you love? Is there an advocate in you? We are recruiting motivated individuals who work well with others. Send an email to or come to a monthly Members Meeting to find out more about what we do and how you can help. Check the calendar for the next meeting.

Other simple ways to support CORBA

(Click on the links above to get more details!)

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