MWBA’s newly adopted trail, Sunset Ridge got some much needed attention on June 30. “It makes sense for MWBA to work on Sunset; it is in our backyard and most of us love to ride this trail, ” said Doug Sullivan, President of MWBA. It couldn’t have happened at a better time, Sunset was in dire need of maintenance. The overgrowth of poison oak, sagebrush, foxtail barley and other flora, was making it dangerous to hike or bike along the trail, particularly at the start of the trail where the Spanish Broom practically swept you off the trail if you were not careful. With a party of 9 dedicated trail workers, the top part of Sunset Ridge to the saddle was cleared away and the trail in some places widened for safety. A big thanks goes out to all of the volunteers, including Steve Messer from CORBA, Mitch Marich, Greg Lozano-Buhl, David Zaitz and Jenny Johnson from MWBA, Matt Lay from Pasadena Cyclery, Daisy Farias from PMBC, Joe Asa, and Keenan Koch from Saint Francis HS.
“I love working on the trail and seeing the mountain bikers and hikers ride through as we work. They are so appreciative and it’s nice to get immediate feedback,” exclaimed Daisy Farias of PMBC. “I can’t wait to work on the lower section of the trail!” Daisy returned in two weeks with Mitch, David, and Sean Robman, and they cleared the trail on Lower Sunset to Millard Campground for a flowy and obstruction – free ride or hike. Both sections of trail were used by the runners of the Angeles Crest Century on July 22. Thanks to our diligent volunteers for making Sunset Ridge fun and most importantly, safe for all trail users!
MWBA will be working on Sunset Ridge regularly and on an as-needed basis from this point forth. Future plans include building containment walls along some of the washed out sections of the trail, fixing the water bars along the lower half of the ridge and on-going pruning. If you notice something on the trail that needs to be worked on or fixed, please feel free to contact Greg Lozano-Buhl at [email protected] or Mitch Marich at [email protected].
National Trails Day was bright and clear when we gathered at Red Box to divide up and work on the Gabrielino Trail. While some groups worked from the top of Mount Wilson on other trails, MWBA, CORBA, Bear Canyon Trail Crew, volunteers from REI and others started from Red Box. Mitch and Doug led our group down to a “short cut” to take us half way down the trail to Switzers. Unfortunately, since the last time we used this side trail, it became completely overgrown with Poodle Dog Bush and we had to bushwhack and detour up a wash to the main trail. Once there, we fell to work not just cutting the PDB, but uprooting it for lasting results, as well as clearing other brush. As you can see in the Photos area, when we finished a section it was wide and open. The Bear Canyon crew started down from Red Box, but much of the trail remains overgrown with PDB and more work will be needed. After getting back to Red Box we were treated to lunch from REI and thanked by the Native Americans who run the Haramokngna Indian Cultural Center. They also set up a much-needed wash-up station and an easy up over their tables.
A big thanks goes out to Dave Ledford, along with his sidekick, John Horton, who patiently walked a group of approx 15 people through the ins and outs of trail building. All skill and experience levels were represented. Among them were a few folks from the LA Conservancy Corp, Kate Allen from the Sierra Club, several leaders from various Boy Scouts of America Troops, Matt Lay from Pasadena Cyclery, Martin Gomez, President of PMBC, our local mountain bike club, Jenny Johnson from MWBA and individuals who are interested in learning the proper techniques of trail conservation.
The day started bright and early at the entrance of Red Box off of Angeles Crest Highway, home of the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center. Dave began the training session with a introduction of trail tools, what they are used for and how to safely handle the tools while using them as well as while traveling with them. We were able to practically apply our tool knowledge later that morning. The class focused on 2 areas that were in need of repair. The first location was just a few hundred feet from the trailhead. This section of the trail had been eroded by water and needed to be buttressed with a containment wall. We learned how to use backing plates, mesh, wiring and posts that will provide longevity to the trail for decades to come. We also learned how to reinforce our containment wall by installing “deadmen” lines that run underground. These deadmen will help to keep the containment wall steady and will prevent the wall from buckling out from the pressure of erosion due to weather, use and time.
The second section we worked on was above the trailhead. It was in dire need of repair as the asphalt had been eroded and diverted water to flow down on the trail section we just fixed instead of flowing into the culvert that sat next to it. This work will insure the work we did earlier will not be in vain, as the water will flow into the culvert and down the side of the mountain so it won’t damage our trails. We again created a containment wall, reinforcing it with a deadman to support the asphalt we added.
All in all, it was not only a great day of effective trail work, it was a fantastic opportunity for all of us who came out to learn a thing or two about trail conservation.