[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
61°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 16
1902 - Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali), Gen. E.F. Beale's Syrian camel driver, dies at Quartzsite, Ariz. [story]


Let's Go Outside | Commentary by Evelyne Vandersande
| Thursday, Nov 21, 2013

evelynevandersande_mugThis story has many chapters, and in years to come, I think it could make a thick book.

Recently we entered a new episode: Goodbye boulder pinch points, hello split-rail fences.

Let me refresh your memory about the previous chapters so you can keep up.

The Placerita Canyon Nature Center was always a multi-use park, open to hikers and equestrians. Last year, a petition was submitted by a well-organized mountain bike group, asking that the Canyon Trail be opened for cycling.

After the presentation of the petition, the county wheels went into motion. The trail was evaluated and report was put together. Here is the county staff’s recommendation:

canyontrail111513a“In response to the petition and the high level of interest in opening the trail for mountain bike use, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation contacted with the Planning Center DC&T to complete a Trails Use Change Survey modeled after the process used by California State Parks.

“The consultant conducted two community meetings and solicited comments from the public as a part of the assessment process, and made the Trail Assessment recommendations. The purpose of the assessment process was to evaluate the condition of the trail sustainability as it pertains to existing and/or proposed uses.

“Analysis was done and the decision was made to open the trails to mountain bikes. Those are public trails supported by tax dollars, so they should be used by all and the park management made this decision.”

That was a major change at Placerita, and a lot of work was needed on the trails to make the cohabitation between hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers both possible and safe.

Signs were installed, vegetation was cut to improve visibility, the trail was smoothed down for safe footing, fencing and barriers were erected along the trail, and pinch points were built to reduce the speed of the mountain bikes.

What is a pinch point? Several large rocks are placed close to each other, leaving a small space in between, which forces the bikes to slow way down. This was done in many places along the trail to prevent the mountain bikes from gathering too much speed so the hikers or equestrians would not feel threatened or taken by surprise around a bend in the trail by a fast-moving cyclist.

The docents were worried about all of those changes on the trail. They kept a close eye on the trees and plant trimming, working in cooperation with the trail crew. But the pinch points proved to be a life saver. We were all concerned about the possible downhill speed of the mountain bikes, but because they had to go through the pinch points time and time again, many of them decided to choose other trails because they missed the thrill of high speed and making jumps.

Trail writer.

Trail writer.

The mountains bikers who used the mountain trails were pleased by this new opportunity and were ready to accept the limitations of the trail.

The experience was positive, and few accidents were reported until … a dark day, indeed.

Eleven pinch points were vandalized. The large rocks were pushed into the canyon, and mountain bikers started to use the Canyon Trail at full speed.

Many hikers were upset and scared, and they voiced their displeasure on Facebook, The news reached county officials who decided to act quickly, understanding this was a safety hazard for the trail users.

A meeting was held between the trail supervisor, Ralph Beltran, and Superintendent Russ Kimura to determine the best approach to repair the pinch points and prevent further vandalism.

On Oct. 31, the crew quickly began re-establishing the pinch points by positioning split-rail fencing at strategic locations on the trail to slow any high-speed traffic.

On Nov. 6, Dwight La Croix, facilities Operations and Crafts manager for County Parks and Recreation visited the site to evaluate the crew’s progress. He was pleased to see the pinch point modifications were already completed. He mentioned that he spoke with some hikers who thanked him for the quick action from the county to restore safety to the trail.

Even the bikers seem to be content with the split-rail fencing, which is more effective than the boulders were.

canyontrail111513cThe mountain bikers appreciate the opportunity to be on the mountain trail, and they did not like that the actions of a few vandals would damage their reputation. Most of the time, their behavior has been respectful and careful, and they resented those few bad apples. However, the vandals are out there.

I want to make it clear that all incidents should be reported to the Nature Center. If you see any suspicious or dangerous situation, please report it to Russ Kimura, Park Superintendent at Placerita, 661-279-7721.

In addition, you can report problems using this form: http://www.placerita.org/documents/TrailIncidentReportcopy.pdf. Completed forms can be returned to the park office or emailed to Russ at rkimura@parks.lacounty.gov.

The effectiveness of the pinch points needs to be monitored, and it is important to keep a close watch on the trail to make sure the pinch points are working smoothly, that the hiking experience is pleasant and safe, and that our hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians can co-exist on the trail in harmony.

Maybe you have no idea where all this drama is happening? Come see for yourself. I recommend a visit to Placerita Canyon Nature Center and a hike along the Canyon Trail while the foliage is still golden. Go there and give us some feedback, tell us if you felt safe on the trail, breathe deeply the cool air, listen to the birds, and make a rain dance if you can – please. Thank you for your support and your visit to Placerita Canyon.

 

Evelyne Vandersande has been a docent at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center for 27 years. She lives in Newhall.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

2 Comments

  1. Mike Naoum says:

    Truly unfortunate that this vandalism occurred. As both a hiker and mountain biker who uses this trail, the improvements to accommodate both were great. Whether there are rocks or there is fencing at pinch points, the intention is good and contributes to a positive experience for both parties. Glad the trail can be shared and I think the majority of the hikers understand that shared use is not a bad thing. Everyone should be able to enjoy this scenic trail. And the improvements ahve made it easier for families wanting to push strollers through.

  2. Juan Adam says:

    Why not huge boulders AND fencing? Knew this was coming as sure as the sunrise. No surprise whatsoever.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Sunday, Dec 10, 2017
Derelict since the 1994 earthquake, the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall was the first productive oil refinery in the American West and is believed to be the oldest existing refinery in the world today. Unfunded restoration plans have come and gone. Now that the surrounding property is under development, will the promises be kept?
Friday, Dec 8, 2017
A National Memorial designation for St. Francis Dam will honor those who lost their lives in the nation’s worst engineering disaster and the role it played in ushering in a new era of oversight for dam construction.
Thursday, Dec 7, 2017
Eliminating net neutrality would allow Internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, Spectrum and AT&T to create a “slow lane” and a “fast lane” on the Internet, prioritizing certain companies over others and dictating what websites you’re able to visit and at what speed, or even blocking you entirely from visiting certain websites of your choice.
Monday, Dec 4, 2017
In his monthly message for December 2017, Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin encourages residents to shop and party locally during the holidays to keep the cash in our community.
Friday, Dec 1, 2017
The big day is almost upon us and a year of celebrations is wrapping up. On December 15, 2017 our city will officially be 30 years old.
Thursday, Nov 30, 2017
Create and decorate your own holiday wreaths, centerpieces, candles and ornaments using a large assortment of fresh-cut greenery, pine cones and other beautiful natural treasures this weekend at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1902 - Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali), Gen. E.F. Beale's Syrian camel driver, dies at Quartzsite, Ariz. [story]
The National Weather Service has called a Fire Weather Watch for this weekend for Los Angeles and Ventura County mountains and valleys including the Santa Clarita Valley due to gusty northeast wind and low relative humidity.
Weekend Fire Weather Watch Called for SCV
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a 21-year-old man who had an outstanding warrant and was allegedly in possession of cocaine in Canyon Country early Thursday.
Bicyclist Arrested for Warrant, Cocaine in Canyon Country
Valencia-based Princess Cruises, voted the #1 international cruise line in Japan, announced its 2019 program featuring Japanese-built Diamond Princess returning for her sixth season, sailing roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe.
Princess Cruises Unveils 2019 Japan Cruise Program
Valencia-based Princess Cruises released its 2019 Canada and New England cruise schedule, featuring Regal Princess and Caribbean Princess on the line’s largest fall deployment and the opportunity to visit Greenland roundtrip from New York
Princess Cruises Sets Fall 2019 Cruises to Canada, New England
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department looks back at five years of work by its Domestic Highway Enforcement Team, which has disrupted the operations of the drug cartels by confiscating millions of dollars in illegal drugs and drug money.
Elite LASD Drug Enforcement Team Disrupts Cartel Operations
College of the Canyons quarterback Andrew Brito, wide receiver Desean Holmes and linebacker KJ Latu have been named to the 2017 Region III All-California Community College Football Team.
Brito, Holmes, Latu Represent Cougars on All-State Team
Tickets and sponsorships are now available for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce's 2018 awards ceremony and installation of new officers at Tournament Players Club in Valencia on Friday night, January 26.
Jan. 26: SCV Chamber of Commerce 2018 Awards, Installation Gala
Sponsorships are now open for the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation's 2018 Economic Outlook Conference, set for Thursday, March 8, 2018 at a location to be announced shortly.
SCV 2018 Economic Outlook Conference Tickets, Sponsorships Open
SetPoint Medical, a Valencia-based biomedical company developing therapy for chronic inflammatory diseases, has received approval from the FDA to initiate a pilot trial in the U.S. for patients with drug-refractory rheumatoid arthritis.
FDA OK’s SetPoint Bioelectronic Therapy Study for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., representing the United States - and states and regions leading on climate across the globe - joined world leaders at the One Planet Summit Tuesday, the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement.
Brown in Paris: ‘We Can’t Wait for White House to Wake Up’
The regular Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 19 has been canceled, according to a notification from the city of Santa Clarita today.
City Cancels Dec. 19 Planning Commission Meeting
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, December 19, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 19: L.A. County Board of Supervisors Meeting
L.A. County's Bringing Our Loved Ones Home Task Force officials unveiled their final recommendations, endorsing a plan to use a voluntary system of trackable bracelets to find people prone to wandering, like those suffering from Alzheimer’s or autism.
County Task Force Calls for Tracking Bracelets to Locate Lost Individuals
The Community Development Commission of the county of Los Angeles looks back on 35 years of advancing its core program areas: affordable housing and housing, community and economic development.
County Community Development Commission Marks 35th Anniversary
Metro is seeking two new members to join the Measure M Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee.
Metro Seeks 2 New Measure M Oversight Committee Members
The California Air Resources Board approved a $663 million low-carbon transportation plan Thursday to increase the use of clean cars, heavy-duty trucks, buses and freight equipment.
Air Resources Board OK’s $663 Million for Clean Vehicles
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its public safety and crime information report for Saugus (Zone 4) for December 4-10, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Shoplifting, Petty Theft in Saugus
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed his strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s illegal attempt to suspend the 2015 Clean Water Rule for two years.
California AG, 10 Others Oppose Feds’ Suspension of Clean Water Rule
Conservation groups on Friday lobbied a federal judge for permission to join a fight between the federal government and a ranching association over a trio of California amphibian species.
Conservationists Lobby to Join Fray Over Frog Habitat
1987 - Incorporation: Santa Clarita officially becomes a city [story]
With an offense that challenged the program’s single-season goals record, The Master’s University women’s soccer team was almost almost never out of any game it played: The Mustangs were always within striking range.
Lady Mustangs Within Range of Directors’ Cup Top Spots
When Ed Jackiewicz met Tera Trujillo in spring 2015, she was studying at a desk she’d carried to the corner of the California State University, Northridge soccer field, in a “time out” of sorts, unable to practice because she’d just earned a D in an economics class.
CSUN’s “Under Armour Faculty” Promotes Academic Success in Student-Athletes
When Rafael Munoz recalls his time at the Layer 8 Computer Security Club at California State University, Northridge, he feels proud and thankful.
CSUN’s Tech Education Makes Top 10 List
The city of Santa Clarita Arts and Events division is currently seeking proposals for solo exhibits for 2018 in the gallery space at The MAIN, the City’s newest arts venue in Old Town Newhall.
City Seeking Artists for 2018 Solo Exhibits
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.---CSUN Men's Basketball returns to the road for the final time in the non-conference season this weekend.
CSUN to Face-Off Against Formal Rival Eastern Washington
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for Friday:
Dec. 15: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
This Friday and Saturday (Dec. 15-16), The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance brings their annual Winter Dance Concert to the REDCAT stage.
Dec. 15, 16: Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance Concert at REDCAT
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board has approved naming Dr. Collyn Nielsen as Chief Administrative Officer and Jan Hayes-Rennels as Director of Special Programs and Staff Development.
Hart Appoints Nielsen, Hayes-Rennels to District Office Positions
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The CSUN men's volleyball team was picked to finish third in the inaugural Big West Men's Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll announced Thursday.
Big West Pre-Season Coaches Poll Puts Matadors Volleyball at No. 3
A 44-year-old transient was arrested by SCV Sheriff's Station deputies Wednesday afternoon after he allegedly tried to pick up his 8-year-old niece from a school in Santa Clarita.
Suspect Arrested in Attempted Kidnapping
It was a night to honor exceptional mentors at California State University, Northridge, but the five recipients of the 2017 Don Dorsey Excellence in Mentoring Awards just wanted to talk about their students.
CSUN Pays Tribute to Mentors Who Have Made a Difference
The words leapt right off the page and hung in the air, heavy, encircling the audience. Their creator stood, offering his gifts of verse — shared in a powerful baritone voice.
Literary Star Power Comes to CSUN
While critical fire conditions continue through Friday, the final numbers for the Rye Fire have been released.
Officials Release Final Numbers on Rye Fire
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board held it’s annual reorganizational meeting Wednesday night, naming Steve Sturgeon as Board President.
Steve Sturgeon Named 2018 Hart Board President
Castaic Elementary School is collecting gently used children's clothing and toys for the victims of the Creek Fire in Sylmar.
Local School Collecting Clothes, Toys for Creek Fire Victims