The Gabrielino Trail... And our very own Rock Stars.

Discussion in 'Trail Maintenance' started by Faust29, May 2, 2018.

  1. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    The McGuires are rock stars. Better than rock stars. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. @Mikie Robin Mcguire .




    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-gabrielino-trail-20180502-story.html

    Closed for nearly a decade, the historic Gabrielino Trail is nearly restored — thanks to mountain bikers
    Louis Sahagun
    COS5I4NAOZDULKGTZGHCBJ36UE.jpg
    Brad Moore, 29, works on filling in the path along damaged sections of the Gabrielino Trail. (Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

    Erik Hillard has always believed the best way to know a rugged trail is to bike it. But for nearly a decade, the historic Gabrielino Trail in the peaks above La Cañada has been all but unknowable to mountain bikers.

    The 2009 Station fire and the rainy season that followed it rendered impassable much of a 26-mile stretch of the trail.

    Hillard, and a team of volunteers, have been working to change that.

    It's a landscape-sized job in the San Gabriel Mountains, where about 100 people have spent spare days and weekends recarving a path wide enough for only one bike at a time that climbs and dips under canopies of aspen and oak, past rock overhangs and along cliffsides with sweeping views and no guardrails.


    But the U.S. Forest Service says the yearlong volunteer campaign holds the best hope for reopening the nation's first National Recreation Trail — and keeping peace between mountain bikers and hikers in the increasingly crowded backcountry of the Angeles National Forest's San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

    "This is an unforgiving mountain range, where nothing is flat and wildfires and floods are routine," said Hillard, 43, a spokesman for the Mt. Wilson Bicycling Assn. "And without volunteer efforts, these trails would stay closed."

    At daybreak on a recent Sunday, 30 riders from his group and the Concerned Off-road Bicyclists Assn., clad in helmets, shin guards and work gloves, rolled out to a 10-mile stretch that was nearly swept away by torrential rains and mudslides following the largest fire in Los Angeles County history.

    RA26FQEFGZFMXM357FVWPU3MY4.jpg
    Matt Baffert, 37, trail boss for the Mt. Wilson Bicycling Assn., rides out with other volunteers. (Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

    Without this eclectic mix of retirees, professionals and students, Forest Service officials say, the tasks ahead — chopping up fallen trees, rolling boulders aside and scraping rocks and mud off the path that served as a Native American trade route — would have been deferred for years to come by the chronically underfunded agency, which long ago dismantled its own full-time paid trail crew.

    That's because the Forest Service has been absorbing the rising cost of fighting fires and reducing wildfire threats to communities into its regular budget by shrinking other programs, according to Jamahl Butler, acting district ranger for the area.

    "This project is a good example of the way we like to see collaboration done," Butler said. "I'm impressed with their work and happy to have their support."

    The management plan for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument released last month calls for more collaborative efforts with volunteer groups going forward.

    The final closed sections of the Gabrielino Trail are expected to reopen to the public by summer's end, the Forest Service said.

    2BI6YGWY4ND4ZFHM5CQPUMCW44.jpg
    Robin McGuire and her husband, Mike McGuire, Angeles Forest Mountain Bike Patrol volunteers, pause to observe the volunteers organized by the Mt. Wilson Bicycling Assn. (Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

    Restoring the trail achieves multiple aims for mountain bikers — not only does it provide them more miles to ride, but they believe it bolsters their stature among trail users, helping ensure their continued access to the climbs and descents of the San Gabriel Mountains.

    There's reason mountain bikers are interested in reputation-burnishing.

    With their knobby tires, mountain bikes can carve ruts into trails, trample vegetation, widen paths and further erosion, especially after rains. Their downhill speeds also can startle other trail users.

    The Mt. Wilson Bicycling Assn. and other groups have worked to educate riders on reducing their environmental impact. They also have worked to maintain and repair trails.

    "Mountain bikers have traditionally been unwanted in public lands," Hillard said.

    "One of the main reasons for all this work is to show how much trails through forests like this one mean to us — and to others," he said.

    The effort is being conducted with $25,000 from the outdoors retailer REI and $10,000 from Southern California Edison. An additional $100,000 from the Forest Service will cover the costs of having contract workers install retaining walls in certain remote areas, officials said.

    "When we began, it was hard to find a trace of this historic trail in some places," Steve Messer, 54, president of Concerned Off-road Bicyclists, recalled. "Since then, we've cut up more than 100 trees; removed countless boulders and reestablished sections of trail where the hillsides above and below them had collapsed. We've also created drainage structures to steer rain off the trail and reduce erosion, and bolstered ruts with soil and rocks."

    Messer is considering nominating the path for National Historic Trail status because of numerous remnants of buildings and walls made out of rock, mortar and rebar in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

    In the meantime, he said, "We have a lot more work ahead of us."

    The volunteers gathered at the Switzer picnic area, about 15 minutes off the 210 Freeway in La Cañada Flintridge, and headed out on their full-suspension bikes to damaged sections of trail.

    They worked in small groups, hacking at dry brush with shears and folding saws, attacking displaced boulders with pickaxes and smoothing a path about 18 inches wide with rakes.

    After a five-minute breather, they moved to the next rock slide a few yards away, filling the air with the thunk of shovels.

    At a switchback, Brad Moore, 29, was swinging a heavy-duty hoe and ax known as a Pulaski to demolish remnants of a mudslide and contour sections of trail that had been eroded by runoff.

    Moore, a mechanical engineer at the nearby Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, wiped the sweat from his stinging eyes, smiled and said, "Man, I love this tool — it makes me feel like a sourdough in the old West searching for gold and fulfillment."

    ZUSPKPA6FBCF5CY6EGHT34HVG4.jpg
    Brad Moore, 29, a mountain biker and a mechanical engineer at the Jet Propulsion Lab, works on clearing a section of the path. (Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

    Their progress on the Gabrielino made a good impression on passersby, including Susan Campo, 70, a hiker who crossed paths with the mountain bikers on a stretch of twisting terrain skirting steep canyon walls near the 50-foot Switzer Falls.

    "Great work up here — keep it up!" said Campo, who, like many other hikers that day, had strode past the "trail closed" signs posted by the Forest Service. "I don't have to crawl on my hands and knees under fallen trees anymore."

    At about 1 p.m., trail boss Matt Baffert, 37, a professional carpenter, signaled it was time to call it a day. Hungry, tired and sore, the volunteers coasted down to the picnic area parking lot.

    Louis.Sahagun@latimes.com

    10:55 a.m.: This article was updated to clarify that the Gabrielino Trail in not in a designated wilderness area.

    This article was originally published at 5 a.m.
     
    MattB, Oaken, Mikie and 30 others like this.
  2. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Salsa/Trek/Kona
    Outstanding!

    I can't wait to be able to ride this. :cool:
     
    Mikie likes this.
  3. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Thanks for posting!
     
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  4. Luis

    Luis iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Sylmar
    Name:
    Luis
    Current Bike:
    Big Black 29er
    Silvia the photographer hung around taking pictures long after Louis the writer of the article hiked out. She must have took hundreds of pictures. The first picture of the guys with the Mcclouds is Brad and @David Cho. She jumped down into the ditch while we were clearing the slough off the trail and she was like ‘don’t mind me’ as she continued to take her shots.
    Still a lot of work to be done before the Forest Service does a walk through and gives their blessing and officially reopens that section of the Gabrielino.
    Hopefully there will be a celebration like we had for the reopening of the Ken Burton trail.
     
    Mikie, Cyclotourist, Grego and 11 others like this.
  5. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C

    Amazing work, Luis...
     
  6. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Excellent work!
    I've only made it out for a couple of trail days this year....gotta commit!
     
  7. MrGreedom

    MrGreedom Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Name:
    Ryan
    Current Bike:
    BH Lynx6
    Awesome stuff, makes me proud to be a mountain biker.
     
    Mikie and Cyclotourist like this.
  8. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '15 Intense Tracer 275c DVOish
    Awesome stuff from everybody! Thanks to all who are working on this project. You rock! :thumbsup: :inlove:

    Is the photog the Silvia who posts here perchance?
     
    Mikie, Luis and Cyclotourist like this.
  9. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon & Highball C
    It didn't take long for the comments on the article to go south. There are some angry ass hikers out there!
     
    Mikie, UPSed, Cyclotourist and 2 others like this.
  10. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Addict

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    The obvious solution is to ban hikers & equestrians. :p

    Obviously I am speaking in jest..but the ignorance in and of the wild is appalling. We have our work cut out for us. Maybe we can take a page from southern/central Utah.

    I realize that this trail system is ATV-specific, but they're only 48 inches (sounds way better than 4 feet, doesn't it?) wide. And there is 900 miles of these trails....

    http://www.marysvale.org/paiute_trail/atv1.html
     
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  11. Luis

    Luis iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Sylmar
    Name:
    Luis
    Current Bike:
    Big Black 29er
    No, not the same. Just a coincidence in name alone.
     
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  12. tbarnesarc

    tbarnesarc Member

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Taylor
    Current Bike:
    2016 Giant Reign
    Awesome! Nice work! Wonder if Matt Baffert is on here? He's a cool dude I've crossed paths a few times in the past.
     
    Mikie and Cyclotourist like this.
  13. Erik H - MWBA

    Erik H - MWBA Member

    Location:
    Altadena
    Name:
    Erik Hillard
    MattB, Mikie, Faust29 and 4 others like this.
  14. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Yeah. Excellent work you all are doing. The few times I have been down the Gabrielino (surveys) lately, and I have to say, even with work still to be done, this trail is in the best shape I have ever seen it. And this is the first trail I ever rode, way back in '87....thanks!
     
  15. MrGreedom

    MrGreedom Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Name:
    Ryan
    Current Bike:
    BH Lynx6
    Oh yeah, you guys rock
     
    Faust29, Mikie, Cyclotourist and 2 others like this.
  16. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS
  17. Erik H - MWBA

    Erik H - MWBA Member

    Location:
    Altadena
    Name:
    Erik Hillard
  18. Erik H - MWBA

    Erik H - MWBA Member

    Location:
    Altadena
    Name:
    Erik Hillard
    Nah, Baffert isn't "forum" style.. solid guy and MWBA is lucky to have his dedication to the trails.
     
    Faust29, Mikie, Cyclotourist and 3 others like this.
  19. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    We've been keeping track of you!!!
     
    Erik H - MWBA likes this.
  20. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    So much appreciation for the dedication to this.
    imtbtrails is so honored to have Erik, Steve, Mike and Robin, Luis, and several others call this place home!
    Starting tomorrow, I "should" have more freedom to get out and get dirty with MWBA on this project. I encourage other imtb'ers to join on as well. It should be part of our DNA to get out and give back. Lets all be givers so we can enjoy the taking!
     
  21. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/MTB Addict

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Yeti ASR5c, SC Hightower
    Merged the two threads... :)
     
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