Summary of Backbone Trail Restoration Done April 14, 2018

April 18th, 2018

Using a weed whacker to cut back the grass

Twelve CORBA and Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council volunteers turned out to help restore the Backbone Trail on the west side of Latigo Canyon Trail this past Saturday. With this relatively small turnout, we weren’t able to do much to repair the substantial ruts, so we focused on cutting back the brush. Power hedge trimmers and a weed whacker allowed us to accomplish much more than if we had been using only hand tools. Overall we cut back brush over 0.44 miles, and trimmed grass over an even greater distance! The work went so quickly that we were able to repair two drains that were completely filled in. We hope to schedule another event there in the fall when we can focus on fixing the ruts and building drains to prevent them from forming again.

Cleaning up the trimmings.

2018 Angeles National Forest Trail Stewardship Summit Report

April 10th, 2018

This past weekend we had an amazing four days at the 2018 Angeles National Forest Trail Stewardship Summit. In the days prior to the summit, we showed some of our trails, our previous trailwork, and our current Gabrielino trail restoration project to Regional forest service staff, and trail construction experts.

The Angeles National Forest was selected as one of fifteen priority sites for trail maintenance under the National Forest Trail Stewardship Act of 2016. As a priority site, the goal is to double the number of trail miles maintained on the Angeles.

We held a series of discussions with Forest Service Region 5 about our trail system and Station Fire recovery efforts. CORBA has received $35,000 in grants from REI and Southern California Edison, for the Gabrielino Trail restoration. CORBA and MWBA’s awesome volunteers have contributed over 2500 hours of volunteer labor at a value of over $56,000.

Some great news has come out of the summit. Using the above contributions as a match, the regional office of the Forest Service has allocated $100,000 to restore and improve the Gabrielino National Recreation Trail. We’re in the process of writing up a formal cost-share partnership agreement with the Forest Service to manage that investment into our local trails.

At the summit, partners, volunteers and Forest Service staff brainstormed on how to remove bottlenecks to getting things done. We discussed how to make it easier for volunteers to do the necessary paperwork by moving to an online system, minimizing shuffling paper and lengthy email chains. We talked about how to get better information on trails and their conditions for the public, as well as how to better coordinate efforts between volunteer groups. Good things are in the works and potential solutions to both of these shortfalls are being explored right now.

CORBA President Steve Messer spoke about the San Gabriel Mountains Community Collaborative (video here), and on how volunteers and NGO’s like  CORBA and MWBA, and the partnerships we have with the Forest Service are a vital component of sustainability of our trails (video here).  Other presentations from LA County, Equestrian trail patroller, Jim Lesh, IMBA Trail Solutions, MWBA, and regional Forest Service Trails Coordinator Garrett Villanueva helped guide the breakout sessions exploring how to achieve some of these goals.

We then spent two days learning about and refining our trail maintenance skills on Sunset Ridge Trail, where volunteers and trail crew leaders learned updated techniques to managing water on trails, minimizing erosion, and decreasing future maintenance needs. We learned from some of the most knowledgeable trailbuilders from IMBA Trail Solutions and the Forest Service. Sunset Ridge trail received some treatments to help improve water control.

It was an extremely positive summit with lots of productive exchange and a path to move forward. We thank the Forest Service and their Regional staff, IMBA Trail Solutions, MWBA, the National Forest Foundation, and all the other volunteers and partners from around the region who participated.

 

April Skills Clinic photos posted April 9

April 9th, 2018

This month we had six riders. The weather was clear and cool (a slight possibility of rain was forecast but none fell) but the stream had some slimy water in it, so we skipped the creek crossing and rode down to the Rock Pool instead. The park was getting really crowded as we were riding back to the cars with many large groups of people using the trails.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our April photo gallery.

Trail Days 2018: We Need Your Help to Restore Sycamore Canyon Trails April 26, 27, 29!

April 9th, 2018

New this year! The organizers request you register online at their website: https://smmtc.org/machform/view.php?id=11102&element_4_4=California by April 23, please.

Complete info from the organizers: https://www.smmtc.org/maint/traildays.php

For the 37th year running, we have an opportunity to work at rebuilding the trails and then BBQ and camp at Danielson Ranch in Sycamore Canyon. It is opened annually for the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days! This is a unique opportunity to work on the trails that we enjoy so much in Sycamore Canyon, and the event is followed by a BBQ dinner and prizes (see photo), with free camping on Friday and/or Saturday night. This is hands down the best day to get in some trail maintenance work! Camping is optional; you may leave with the escort after the BBQ.

Schedule at a glance

Friday night April 27 – arrive for overnight camping (optional). Bagels and hot beverages supplied Saturday morning for campers.

Saturday April 28 – Trailwork, barbecue dinner, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch. Optional overnight camping. Bagels and hot beverages supplied Sunday morning for campers.

Sunday April 29 – Trailwork, prize give-away. Bring your own lunch.

You can volunteer to help out on Saturday, Sunday, or both.

BRING: LUNCHES, BEVERAGES, SNACKS AND WATER. Tools and instruction on using them are provided.
WEAR: Gloves, hat, long pants, protective clothing, and work boots or sturdy shoes.
REGISTRATION: Advance registration is required for the activities shown below, and appreciated by April 18th!
TRAILWORK: Saturday and/or Sunday. Help with trail restoratin on one or both days!
CAMPING: Free camping Friday and/or Saturday nights for volunteers at the Danielson Multi-use Area located under the sycamores and oaks in the heart of Point Mugu State Park. Bring your own gear.
DINNER: Sat. Night Barbecue Free FOR VOLUNTEERS. Bring appetizers and beverages.
PRIZES: Thank-you prize give-aways will be held Saturday after dinner and Sunday after trailwork.
VEHICLE ACCESS: You will be able to caravan into and out of the park by vehicle only at these few designated times:

ARRIVE

Friday – 5 pm and 7 pm
Saturday – 7:30 am and 4:30 pm
Sunday – 7:30 am

DEPART

Saturday – 4 pm and 9 pm
Sunday – 8 am and 2:30 pm

DIRECTIONS: Take the 101 Freeway to Wendy in Newbury Park; drive south to Potrero Road, turn right; at Reino bear left to NPS service road (first driveway). Cars will be escorted into and out of the park only at designated times shown above. DON’T BE LATE or you won’t be able to drive in.

MAP: http://bit.ly/1jvTBZP

IMBA Uprising Women’s Summit

March 28th, 2018

I was thrilled and honored that CORBA sent me to the very first IMBA Uprising women’s summit in Bentonville, AR. It was held at The Record from March 22nd-March 25th and was the brain child of Aimee Ross.

What is Uprising?
“IMBA’s UPRISING is a two-and-a-half day, hands-on, collaborative summit among female mountain bike leaders from all across the U.S.

This event is for women who want to make change in their communities by getting more women involved in mountain biking. This event is also for women who want to be on the forefront of shaping IMBA’s community outreach and organizing efforts in this space. We want to be an aggregator of the best information, resources and inspiration to engage more women in mountain biking, and we want to hear from those already doing it and those who want to. Help us shape our efforts in the best possible way to affect positive change.

The event will highlight the best women’s riding efforts happening across the country. UPRISING is centered around four guiding principles: Build, Ride, Learn and Engage. Come to learn best practices, get inspired, gather resources and network with the women who are influencing the mountain bike evolution.” (from the IMBA Uprising website: IMBA Uprising)

And true to it’s definition it was. WHAT an inspiring 3 days of amazing community leaders and aspiring leaders across the US.

I arrived Thursday night, never being to Bentonville, AR. Such a tiny airport, my favorite. I knew the town was bike friendly when one of the enormous signs inside the airport was of a mountain biker riding the trails. I ran into Jill Hamilton of Petal Power and Kamala Slight our GGR SD Chapter Director also just arriving heading to baggage claim. Outside the airport, Liz Kurtz and Tamara Napier, 2 of my leadership team members were waiting to pick me up. Tam and Liz were in the middle of a huge road trip covering many states and getting in some pretty rad biking.

After settling in our house and doing a little shopping, we headed over to the Record, a beautiful venue in downtown Bentonville where the summit was being held. We signed in, went to the open bar for some vino and started mingling. The rest of the leadership team that was able to attend was already there. Doris Dunn and Susie Murphy. There were 7 of us from the GGR leadership team attending. I was so very excited to talk to women from all over the US about everything from trail building, advocacy, leading rides, how to get more women biking and much more.

Saturday!
This was the 1st full day of the summit. Aimee Ross started the day off welcoming everyone and sharing her story of her brain child….IMBA Uprising.
Then we were lucky enough to have The Queen of Pain herself speak Rebecca Rusch. Rebecca was an enormous part of the Uprising summit. She spoke, showed her movie Blood Road, road with us and answered any questions you may have had about anything!
There were many great talks throughout the day. GGR even got to speak to a room full of curious women on how to engage their community and their club. With the help of Jill Hamilton, we spoke about engagement and starting your own club in their respective communities. We were super stoked to be approached by women in Missouri, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Northern California that wanted to learn more about starting their own GGR chapter or their own club.
For all the speakers, check out the list here: IMBA Uprising Speakers

Friday late afternoon it was time to ride and check out the amazing local trails in Bentonville. Bentonville is FULL of cyclists and all about mountain biking! They LOVE cyclists there and are constantly building new trails. The trails were super flowey and well groomed. We had a blast!

Finally, Friday evening, all of us were lucky to view Blood Road. This is Rebecca Rusch’s moving about her expedition to locate where her fathers plane went down in the war. She then stayed for Q&A after. She and her riding partner rode 1200 miles on this adventure!

Saturday was my favorite day.
We had panels, interactive talks and of course got to shred some RAD flow lines in Bentonville! People for Bikes put on a Draft event after the rides. One of the events was each woman on a panel had 3 minutes to speak, then was able to take questions. These were all industry leaders that spoke about different topics.
IMBA then provided dinner! A buffet with open bar. We then said our good bye’s and walked over to the Church for drinks and chit chat. Yes Church! There is a super cool Church in town with stained glass windows that have bikes in the designs. They turned the bottom floor into a bar! So many of us checked it out and enjoyed martini’s and vino.

Sunday I decided to sleep in and do some job hunting. Tam and Liz went riding with some of the group and Susie, Jill and Kamala went to the museum. I reflected on all the empowerment I felt over the last few days and was disappointed to get on a plane and come home.

This women’s summit gave me empowerment, friendship, riding and hope for our future. I’ve been mountain biking for 13 years now. After every single ride, even after 13 years, riding still makes me feel like I can conquer anything. This is why I ride and this is why I want more women to ride.

Until the next IMBA Uprising women’s summit, let’s build more trails, attend more trail work, engage our communities and educate those on trail etiquette and what is going on with our cycling communities.

I thank IMBA, Aimee Ross and CORBA for this wonderful adventure and opportunity.

Wendy Engelberg, GGR & CORBA
GGR: Girlz Gone RidingGGR: Girlz Gone Riding

 

Trailbuilding Workshop – Save the Date: April 6-8, 2018

March 1st, 2018

 

Learn how to build and maintain trails

The Forest Service, in partnership with CORBA, the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, IMBA, and the National Forest Foundation will hold a three-day trail workshop.

The agenda is still being finalized, and official invitations and announcements will go out in the coming week, but you can save the dates of April 6, 7 and 8, April 2018. Details will be included with the Forest Service official announcement.

 

Friday, April 6, will be an all-day classroom session at the Altadena Community Center. This day will cover the assessment, management and planning of trails, and will be of most use to those advocating for trails, planning to build trails or land and trail managers.

Saturday April 7 will see a morning classroom session, followed by Saturday afternoon in the field, then a full day of hands-on on Sunday April 8.

There is no charge for the workshop and lunch will be provided. If you’d like to attend contact us and we’ll let you know when registration opens.

Gabrielino Trail Restoration Update

March 1st, 2018

CORBA has been working behind the scenes on restoring the Gabrielino National Recreation Trail. The Gabrielino is the last trail still closed because of damage due to the Station Fire. It’s been an ongoing effort since 2011 to open up sections of the trail and then keep them clear of downed trees.

In early 2015 the Los Angeles Conservation Corps worked with Bellfree Contractors to rebuild the Gabrielino from Paul Little to Oakwilde Campground. CORBA helped fund that effort with a generous grant from REI. We subsequently concentrated on the Ken Burton trail, a project that rallied volunteers in an intensive 8-months of bi-monthly work days.

Searching for the trail in February 2016

Only the section from Oakwilde to the junction with Bear Canyon trail remains closed to public use. CORBA has been awarded grants from both REI and Edison International to help fund the restoration of this section. Those funds support volunteers, buy tools and materials and will pay for professional services to improve the sustainability of the trail and reduce future maintenance needs. We are grateful for their support.

The trail was littered with downed trees in 2016

In early 2016 we did a hike-through inspection of the trail with Forest Service staff, Bellfree Contractors, Los Angeles Conservation Corps and Boy Scout volunteers. The arduous journey involved climbing over and under dozens and dozens of downed trees, searching for remnants of trail where it had been washed away, and dodging and ducking heavy brush. Sections of the trail were completely gone, the only route was to hike along the streambed, which was also covered in downed trees.

After more than a year of internal Forest Service review, the go-ahead was given to us by District Ranger Bob Blount last summer. Sadly, Ranger Bob passed away last week and won’t see this trail completed. He was especially excited for us to be working on this trail and bringing it back to its earlier glory. We hope to finish the project by summer in his honor.

After months of extreme fire danger (meaning no chainsaw use), last fall CORBA and MWBA volunteer sawyers spent six solid days wielding chainsaws to cut through the deadfall along the trail.

With the corridor opened up, MWBA have devoted their monthly trailwork day to the project since December. In three work days the volunteer crews have worked on just over two miles of the trail.

There is so much enthusiasm for getting this trail restored and opened that there have been more volunteers that tools for the last two days. The volunteer effort has been astounding, with more than 40 volunteers signed up each day. Some sections that have been worked on are now in better shape than before the Station Fire. But there is still much to do.

So far, over 50 individual volunteers have devoted more than 1000 hours to the restoration effort.

 

A recently restored section

This is truly a team effort, with the Angeles Forest 50k Run trail crew having worked on another section of the Gabrielino near Switzers; the Sierra Club have been working on the section around Devore camp; and previous work was done by the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and the Boy Scouts on other sections.

Thanks to all the volunteers who have contributed to this restoration effort. Special thanks to our partners at the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association for organizing group work days and REI and Edison International for their financial support.

There is still more to do. The trail is not officially open to the public, but we hope to change that soon.. Watch for upcoming announcements for March and April volunteer work days from MWBA, or CORBA’s Meetup group.

Sapwi Bike Park Updates

February 27th, 2018

Building the pump track at Sawpi Trails in late February, 2018.

The Conejo Recreation and Park District is in the final stages of preparing the park for CORBA to build out the features within the park. The grading and clearing is completed. The staging for the amenities and fencing start in about 2-3 weeks.

The photo shows some activities from a workday this past weekend.

We’ve previously written about Sapwi Trails park progress. Here is our comprehensive October 2017 update, and information about IMBA’s fundraising drive to support the bike park.

Help with Backbone Trail Restoration on April 14!

February 26th, 2018
IMG_5778.jpg

Working on the Backbone Trail in November 2013.

On Saturday April 14th, CORBA and the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council will be working together to restore the Backbone Trail from Latigo Canyon Road. It’s been several years since we worked in this area so we’ll be doing general work on the tread and cutting back overgrowing brush.

We will meet at the dirt parking lot on Latigo Canyon Road where the Backbone Trail crosses the road. Specific driving directions and map are posted on our Meetup event page.

As a thank-you, CORBA will be taking volunteers to lunch afterwards. Trailwork days normally run to about 2:00 pm, so bring a snack to tide you over!

Registering online at our Meetup event will help us plan for this event so we’ll know how many tools to bring and have a better idea of how much we’ll be able to accomplish. Thanks for registering in advance!

This is a popular trail so we hope to see a lot of our mountain biking friends there to help out!

No experience is necessary to help out with trailwork. Tools and instructions on how to use them safely and effectively will be provided. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and be must over 7-years old to attend, and children under 14 must be constantly and directly supervised by their parent or guardian who brought them.

Please leave your 4-legged children at home!

And you don’t need to be a mountain biker to help out – Everybody is welcome! For more information on trailwork in general, visit our trail crew web page (http://corbamtb.com/programs/trail-crew.shtml).

Be sure to wear protective clothing (sturdy shoes, long pants and sleeves, hat, gloves) and bring snacks, sunscreen and water. CORBA will provide the tools and training. Everybody works at their own pace.

February Skills Clinic photos posted February 3

February 3rd, 2018

This month we had nine riders, over half of whom were in, or training for, the Mountain Bike Unit (MBU). Way to go! The weather was clear and warm but the stream had some slimy water in it, so we skipped the creek crossing and rode down to the Rock Pool instead. The park was really crowded because of a running event and visitors who arrived later were circling the parking lots looking for some place to park. That made it hard to find a safe place with enough room to practice the skills.

The Basic Skills Clinic is always held the first Saturday of the month at Malibu Creek State Park.

You can see the photos in our February photo gallery.