News from South OC Trail Coalition - Las Flores, Chiquita Ridge etc

Discussion in 'Trail Advocacy' started by Andy, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. Andy

    Andy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The OC, Calif
    Name:
    Andy
    Current Bike:
    Depends...
    Posted on Facebook -

    https://www.facebook.com/SouthOCTrailCoalition/posts/596941833817067

    Hi All;

    We’ve had to stay quiet here for a bit as there were some sensitive conversations going on that could have been jeopardized had the wrong information made its way to the wrong people before they were meant to hear it. That said, there’s been a lot of activity the past couple of weeks and we wanted to provide you all with an update. Before I go to far though, I’ll warn you that this is a long entry so, if you’re going to respond/comment on the substance, please take the time to read all the way through…thank you!

    Over the course of the past several weeks, we’ve started an official dialogue with OC Parks and learned a lot about what land belongs to who, as well as what can be done now and what might be able to be done in the future. That dialogue has created a high degree of optimism regarding renewed access the ability to work together with the entities involved in an effort to achieve our goals.

    What we learned through these meetings is that OC Parks actually has dominion over the vast majority of the trails in question and is very willing to work with us to help create a sustainable, well maintained trail system. Once we discovered that, a meeting was set with RMV where we met with a couple of their officials and started looking over the maps to determine what they would be open to and what they would not and here are some of the takeaways:

    1. All parties generally agree…
    a)....that the ridge (Chiquita Ridge) should be re-opened for use however; doing so is not as simple as opening the gates as the Department of Fish & Wildlife also has to give their blessing (more on that in a second).
    b)…it is important to establish a connected trail system that will allow trail users to have minimal reason to cross major roads both for safety and trail enjoyment reasons.
    c)…only trails southwest side (facing Ladera/Las Flores) are under consideration for inclusion and anything on the opposite side of the ridge (facing Tesoro) will be off limits in perpetuity.
    d)…this is not an overnight process and that we still have some, not insignificant, hoops to jump through, including getting the blessing of the Department of Fish & Wildlife and the OK from the “C suite” at RMV, to move forward and that this will require patience on the behalf of all parties.
    e)…to continue to keep each other informed.

    2. Where work still needs to be done…
    a) Identifying which trails dropping in, towards Antonio, can be used. At the moment, due to land use assessments, longevity and other issues, Backdraft is not a trail that they’ll consider. That’s not to say it will never be considered but, the habitat in that canyon is significantly more sensitive than the habitat further northeast which is where Fiery Rage (aka Las Flores) trail is. The thinking right is we may be able to re-open Chiquita Ridge, Fiery Rage and Undertaker, connecting into Waterworks, in order to create a fully connected trail system.
    b) With that in mind though, Backdraft is not being “potholed” at this time and will sit in a holding pattern. As we progress through negotiations, we’ll continue to look for ways to bring it into the fold but, for the foreseeable future, Backdraft will remain off-limits.
    c) If we do re-open Fiery Rage, there may be the possibility of re-working that trail in order to make it more fun, and more sustainable, since most of that ridgeline is made up of “non-native” grasses where the there may be more of an appetite for allowing some construction to occur as opposed to Backdraft which cuts through quite a bit of Coastal Sage.
    d) Determining what role SOCTC will play going forward. Some things they’d like to see is regular trail maintenance, participation in habitat restoration, representative attendance at quarterly Reserve trail volunteer meetings (the representative would not have to become volunteers but would be there primarily to gather and disseminate information to the rest of SOCTC) and voluntary reporting of illegal trail building activity to OC Parks. Nothing has been agreed to here, but these are some of the things on the table.
    e) Grace period for enforcement action. If the officials of the organizations at the table do see illegal activity, they’ve proposed notifying us and giving us time to take corrective measures on our own before they step in and do anything. This would include deconstructing illegal jumps and trails and other such actions that are within our ability to manage.

    At the end of the day, we continue to make progress here and your continued efforts to not only stay off the affected trails while we work through this, but to educate others on what we’re trying to accomplish here is of tremendous help. As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions and I will attempt to answer as best I can.
     
  2. Rumpled

    Rumpled Well-Known Member

    Location:
    OC
    Name:
    Jim Martin
    Current Bike:
    2003 Giant Rainier
    Thanks for the update. Even though I've been out there, I don't recognize those trails just by name. Anyone got a marked up map?
     
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  3. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Hey thanks for posting this Andy!
     
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  4. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Yes, a great post. Thanks for writing it as well as being part of the advocacy conversation!
     
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  5. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Thanks for this update, Andy. Sounds very positive from here.
     
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  6. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve Macko
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    Thank you... I, for one, would love to be able to ride Chiquita Ridge. That would really open up some longer loops from the house.
     
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  7. Infamous

    Infamous Newbie

    Location:
    Ladera Ranch
    Name:
    Mike
    Current Bike:
    Transition
    Just now saw this - thank you for posting! As a Ladera resident, I'm very interested and willing to help. Any updates?
     
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  8. Andy

    Andy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The OC, Calif
    Name:
    Andy
    Current Bike:
    Depends...
    Only just saw this - meeting TONIGHT!

    Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 6:30pm

    Selma's Pizza, Ladera Ranch
    27702 Crown Valley Pkwy
    Ladera Ranch, CA - California 92694

    full details - https://www.facebook.com/SouthOCTrailCoalition/
     
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  9. Infamous

    Infamous Newbie

    Location:
    Ladera Ranch
    Name:
    Mike
    Current Bike:
    Transition
    Thanks for posting! Saw it just a bit too late last night, but at least I'm getting closer. Going to join the FB page and get there next time!
     
    Mikie likes this.
  10. Andy

    Andy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The OC, Calif
    Name:
    Andy
    Current Bike:
    Depends...
    This just in...

     
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  11. StrandLeper

    StrandLeper Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Timothy M. Ryan
    Current Bike:
    SC Bronson 1x/Pivot 429 1x xtr
    @Andy and all others who are taking your time and efforts to represent the MTB community's interest in these discussions-- THANKS!

    Sorry that I was not aware of the meeting and did not attend.

    SL
     
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  12. G Haymond

    G Haymond Newbie with Hope!

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Grant
    Current Bike:
    Trek slash
    Just finding this thread, but I discovered tonight backdraft was bulldozed and destroyed top to bottom. Anyone have any info?
     
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  13. littlewave

    littlewave Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    Name:
    Brett
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS
    I believe, and someone with more/better knowledge might correct me, eliminating Backdraft was part of the trade off for the land swap and re-opening Chiquita.
     
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  14. Danimal

    Danimal Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mission Viejo
    Name:
    Dan
    Current Bike:
    Rocky Mountain Altitude
    I think that would be good. I've never ridden Chiquita as since I've been in OC its been fenced and closed.
    Hopefully looking forward to some nice single track and flow there!

    According to the OP water works is staying, but then land swap in my mind implies trading land for homes.

    Thinking positive thoughts though.
     
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  15. littlewave

    littlewave Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    Name:
    Brett
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS
    Mmm, I might be getting my south county trails mixed up, my info above is for Ladera Ridge (different than Chiquita right?).
     
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  16. Andy

    Andy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The OC, Calif
    Name:
    Andy
    Current Bike:
    Depends...
    This is the most recent post, January 20 at 9:44 PM

     
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  17. BigTex

    BigTex Member

    Location:
    Ladera Ranch
    Name:
    Richard
    Current Bike:
    Pivot Les
    From OC Parks:
    http://www.ocparks.com/parks/oneill/news/details?NewsID=5837&TargetID=53

    The "land swap" was between OC Parks and the "Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo". A small portion of Ladera Ridge crossed Reserve land. In addition, several trails were built that further encroached on Reserve land (those trails have since been eliminated). Since Reserve land must be untouched - this is the land set aside so that Rancho Mission Viejo can build houses elsewhere - this was a problem. So they fenced off all of Ladera Ridge, even though the majority of it is on public land. I have my own opinion on OC Parks' participation in this, but I'll withhold it for now.

    So a little slice of Reserve land - the part that Ladera Ridge crosses - was swapped with another little slice of OC Parks land so the Reserve could keep its acreage. That's what will allow Ladera Ridge to open back up. Part of the plan is to also make the trail that has been known as Pipeline, Rage and, in the link above is I think referred to as Las Flores Ridge, official, and maintain the connection to Undertaker, which goes under Antonio Parkway and connects to Waterworks. But it will likely require some re-work. Most people would rather have Backdraft rather than Rage, but that is obviously not an option.

    Riding the road bike down Antonio yesterday, I stopped to check out the work on the new entry to Waterworks. Bellfree is doing the construction, and doing it right, with properly constructed bridges over the drainage. Unfortunately that eliminates the fun drop-in. I really don't understand what the issue is that RSM Water District has with the trail that has been there for 10+ years. Maybe they don't have an issue, but OC Parks decided that to make it official, they needed to keep it all on OC Parks property. This is all speculation on my part, and my hope is that the current drop-in remains, although I suspect it won't. If they only allow one option for entry off of Antonio, I certainly hope the drop in from the other side remains so that the Escalator-Waterworks loop can be preserved.

    My big concern is what happens to the other off-menu trails in the area. Will OC Parks say, "OK, we've given you Ladera Ridge back and made Waterworks official - but that means we have to get rid of all these other trails." That would suck and not be worth everything people went through to make this all happen. I lived in Ladera Ranch for 18 years, rode mountain bikes for 10 of those years and have really liked a lot of the trail development that has gone on in recent years (some, not so much, such as trails that are really forced into the landscape, or some of the sanitation that has occurred on Waterworks over the years). But it's still close enough that I can link those trails into a ride.

    At any rate, I've attached map based off Strava Heat Maps that shows the area for those not familiar with it. The big intersection in the middle is Oso and Antonio Parkways.
    LaderaTrails.jpg
     
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  18. littlewave

    littlewave Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    Name:
    Brett
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS
    Ok, so my info was correct.
     
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  19. G Haymond

    G Haymond Newbie with Hope!

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Grant
    Current Bike:
    Trek slash
  20. littlewave

    littlewave Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    Name:
    Brett
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS
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