February NorCal News
Mountain Bikers Helping to Craft a Pro-Bike Regional Parks Plan for Marin County
For the past three years, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) has been participating with mountain bike advocates, environmentalists and other trail users in the development of a Road and Trail Management Plan (RTMP), a process to manage fire roads and trails on Open Space preserves that will improve the visitor experience, provide new opportunities for mountain biking and reduce conflict and impacts on the environment.
The inclusive, transparent process has been mostly harmonious and recent revisions to the draft documents will strengthen the RTMP’s ability to balance the needs of visitors, while reducing the impacts recreation has on the environment.
While mountain bikers may not get everything they desire, the RTMP supports expanding trail opportunities through directional trails, road to trail conversions, new trail construction, adoption of non-system trails and conversion of redundant trails to separate users.
Mountain Bike and Equestrian Advocates Partner on Education Workshop
Following an incident between bikers and equestrians last spring that resulted in injuries to a horse and its rider, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition and the Marin Horse Council issued a joint statement condoning illegal trail use and started working on a program to teach mountain bikers how to safely interact with equestrians on the trails. The “Tails and Tires” workshop covers horse psychology and how to safely pass a horse. In addition, students get saddle time on a horse and participate in interactive bike/horse exercises on the trail. Equestrians are also encouraged to join in exercises that desensitize horses to mountain bikes. The next workshop is March 1. RSVP soon, as space is limited.
Popular Sacramento-Area Trail Now Open for Organized Night Riding
The Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) is a well-known favorite among mountain bikers in the Sacramento valley and foothills region. Until recently, ASRA was off-limits to any kind of night ride. In December 2013, the Folsom-Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition (FATRAC) board of directors joined forces with other advocates and a local bike shop in order to obtain the first permits to host night rides in ASRA. The state park was excited to offer this opportunity and has allowed FATRAC to begin hosting weekly night rides in the park. This unique success for FATRAC (a new IMBA chapter) has riders chomping at the bit to see their favorite old Auburn trails in a new light.
Silicon Valley Mountain Bikers Involved in Official Public Lands Development Planning
One of IMBA's newest chapters, Silicon Valley Mountain Bikers (SVMTB), and many local riders, have been participating in the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) Vision Plan process. It is unprecedented that of the largest area land management agencies is soliciting the ideas of cyclists, equestrians and hikers on how they would like to see public lands developed.
It has been a very public process with multiple workshops where passionate park users have been able to provide input on development and vote on various options. The intent is to create a vision for how the MROSD lands will be developed over the next 20-40 years with the understanding that the district is moving from a land acquisition phase to a phase of putting more emphasis on access and preservation on the existing 62,000 acres of land.
The public input has been reviewed by district staff and the proposals with the most popular support have been whittled down to a list of 25 high-priority projects. It is extremely satisfying to see so many projects that will lead to development of multi-use trail access and interconnecting trails between parks.
There is still a long road ahead requiring passage of a bond measure that will help fund the vision and more detailed planning to be done. SVMTB has been sitting at the table with staff and other members of the public during this process and with two seats on the Citizens Advisory Committee, will continue to be involved as the plan details are developed. We’re looking forward to getting many more riding opportunities close to Silicon Valley in the near future!
TAMBA Hosting Forest Service Crew Leader Training
The Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) will be hosting a U.S. Forest Service-approved crew leader training course the weekend of April 5-6 in the Tahoe area. The Forest Service has stringent training requirements for volunteer crew leaders, and this training may also be accepted by other land manager agencies.
The training will be taught by Kevin Joell, TAMBA's Trails Director, and Jacob Quinn, Trails Engineer for the Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Each has 20-plus years of trail building experience.
Topics will include volunteer management and supervision techniques, safety briefings and job hazard analysis, and emergency procedures and communications. Although trail building standards and best practices will be reviewed, it is expected that attendees will have participated in multiple sanctioned trail days previously. First Aid and CPR certification is also required of crew leaders. It is not included in this course but will be offered separately.
The cost is $50 for non-TAMBA volunteers. Registration will be available soon on TAMBA's website. Keep an eye on it for updates.
IMBA NorCal Hosting a Mountain Summit
IMBA's Northern California Region will host a Mountain Summit meeting on March 8 in Sacramento. Representatives from numerous IMBA clubs and chapters in the mountainous and rural areas of Northern California and parts of Nevada have been invited to discuss issues of mutual concern. An update will be shared following the event.
Feature Photo: Craig Solin