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Canyon Conflict in SoCal

Canyon Conflict in SoCal

By: Susie Murphy
Posted: January 21, 2016

Image by San Diego Union-Tribune and SanGIS.

None of us at the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, including our 850+ members, can say that we are shocked at the events in Sycamore Canyon over the last few days, when patrols from the Marine base at Miramar (MCAS) siezed bikes and issued citations to mountain bikers. We were saddened, yes. But not shocked. We are sorry that anyone had to have this experience and had to be separated from their bike. And now have to work through the process to get the riders' property returned.

The actions taken by the Marines are not new. Bike confiscations and citations have been given over the last year or so.  The Marines have spread the word that they would start ramping up enforcement, including the confiscation of bikes, for at least a year. SDMBA has tried to get the message out in every way we could. There are tens of thousands of mountain bikers in San Diego and merely 850+ of those are current members. Obviously, some people didn’t know about the difficult situation that has been going on in this area for several years.

We at SDMBA understand that the trails in the area are confusing. There could be more signage from every angle and there could be fences. SDMBA continues to work with all the relevant land managers, and there are many, to make these trails legitimate. Illegal trails can disappear at any time — like they did this past weekend.

We sincerely hope you will join us in our efforts to create fully authorized trails in San Diego that will always be open to ride. 

SDMBA is actively advocating for the individuals who were cited. SDMBA continues to be engaged the leadership at MCAS Miramar and the County of San Diego to find a solution to the unacceptable lack of a legal trail system in Sycamore Canyon. Moving forward, SDMBA will offer solutions that will offer the public quality legal trails and connections to other parks and preserves in the area.

For some background, please read this article from July posted on the SDMBA website, one of many posted during 2015.

Here are a few actions you can take now:

  • If you were one of the individuals cited, please contact SDMBA.
  • Stay off the MCAS Miramar base and away from their boundaries. Crossing them is a federal offense. Look at the maps and know your route.
  • Contact the following representatives and agencies and let them know that you would like the county to know this needs to be a priority. Let them know you want a legal Stowe Trail and that you want to get it completed as soon as possible.
    • Councilmember Scott Sherman Council District 7,
    • Supervisor Dianne Jacob,
    • San Diego County Parks and Recreation,
  • Become a member of SDBMA, sign up for our weekly Trail News publication to learn about issues that affect riding in San Diego, and join us for our next advocacy meeting on February 1. All the details can be found at

Thanks for your support and interest improving mountain biking in San Diego County!


Susie Murphy

Executive Director, San Diego Mountain Biking Association

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