Our Work 2019 Off-Road Preview
MCBC’s Off-Road Program expands off-road cycling opportunities through education, environmental stewardship, and trail development. We are committed to bridging the gaps in Marin’s trails network, while also maintaining and enhancing existing trails. For 2019, we have an exciting and diverse list of projects, ranging from near-term efforts to initiatives that may require several years of advocacy.
This list is by no means exhaustive; it’s meant to highlight our highest priorities heading into 2019. If you’d like to suggest a project, please fill out the form embedded at the bottom of the page.
MCBC TRAIL STEWARDS PROGRAM
Description: Working with public land managers and trail professionals, MCBC will train and equip a leadership corps of trail stewards to caretake Marin’s trails and protect surrounding natural habitats, while also recruiting and educating young mountain bikers (and others) to join the effort.
Why It Matters: Trail Stewards is designed to assist land managers’ toward building new trails and maintaining the trails we already ride and love, and will provide a visible reminder that bicyclists share the same values of sustainability and habitat protection with the rest of the environmental community.
With help from PG&E, Bank of Marin, Mike’s Bikes, and donors like you, MCBC will buy equipment, recruit and train a lead corps of 10-15 volunteers, and coordinate and enable this corps to then train and deploy 250 first-time volunteers.
Status: visit the Events Calendar for the latest trail days.
POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE General Management Plan Amendment
Description: The National Parks Service recently initiated a process–the General Management Plan Amendment–that will guide future management practices of the approximately 28,000 acres of non-wilderness areas it owns and leases for agricultural use. This is a unique opportunity to create better connectivity, safety, and visitor experiences for all cyclists, whether they’re on road, gravel, or mountain bikes.
MCBC submitted a list of proposals for better access in the non-wilderness areas of the park, including:
Extending Marshall Beach Road north to Pierce Point Road, creating a gravel loop.
Connecting Drakes Estero with Abbott’s Lagoon.
Adopting a ranch road off Bolinas Ridge to the north of Randall Trail that would connect with Five Brooks and provide a better loop option to Olema Valley Trail.
Adopting a five-mile route between Devil’s Gulch and Platform Bridge Road with breathtaking views of Bolinas Ridge and Black Mountain.
Extending Olema Valley Trail to Bolinas.
The GMP Amendment alternatives will provide a process for adoption of these roads for recreational use.
Why It Matters: There are dozens of ranch roads in the park that bridge gaps in the trail system for people on bikes, but no formal process to open them to the public. Through the Amendment process, the public will have an opportunity to support alternatives that enhance access throughout the park–excluding wilderness areas.
Status: MCBC met with NPS staff to discuss ways to improve connectivity and recreation in the park by adopting existing ranch roads for bicycle use. Alternatives will be released in July with final decision in early 2020.
Next Steps: We will continue to meet with park staff, ranchers and other stakeholders to develop our proposals and will call for members to comment at the appropriate time(s).
NORTH MARIN TRAIL EXPANSION (MT. BURDELL & LUCAS VALLEY OPEN SPACE PRESERVES)
Description: Eagle Rim Trail in Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve is an existing social trail with narrow tread and a few technical sections. It’s set to be adopted as a multi-use trail this year following minor enhancements to make it more sustainable.
Ponti Fire Road–which runs between Pacheco Valle Open Space Preserve and the Marinwood Community Services District Open Space–is extremely steep and erosive. A good portion will be rerouted and narrowed to multi-use width. It will maintain a sustainable grade, with sinuosity built in. The views from the trail will be amazing.
Why It Matters: North Marin is starving for bike-legal trail access, with Big Rock Trail and the multi-use trail at Rush Creek being the only bike-legal trails (excluding fire roads). Eagle Rim would be the first bike-legal trail on Mount Burdell, while Big Rock would be greatly enhanced by a more enjoyable way up from the east side of the ridge.
Status: Eagle Rim Trail is set to open this spring; construction on Ponti Ridge Trail could start this summer.
Next Steps: Eagle Rim Trail is OPEN! Work on the Ponti Ridge road-to-trail conversion should start in July.
AZALEA HILL (MT. TAMALPAIS WATERSHED)
Description: MCBC has worked for several years to win access to Azalea Hill (above the Meadow Club Golf Course) to give mountain bikers an alternative to Bolinas-Fairfax Road between the Mt. Tam Watershed and Pine Mountain via a connection skirting the edge of Alpine Lake. The project will remove 4.5 miles of social trail that currently fragment over 100 acres of Serpentine habitat.
Why It Matters: MCBC identified Azalea Hill as a major gap in Marin’s trail network in 2011. This new multi-use route would provide a safe, off-road alternative to the current route, which requires riding up Bolinas-Fairfax Road on a 1.3 mile stretch of winding, narrow road with no shoulder.
Status: Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) unanimously approved the project at their Board meeting on May 14, 2019.
Next Steps: Fundraising and phase planning will begin in July, work could start later this summer.
BILL’S TRAIL (SAMUEL P. TAYLOR STATE PARK)
Description: Bill’s Trail is a 4-mile trail connecting Devil’s Gulch with the top of Mt. Barnaby at Samuel P. Taylor State Park. It traverses through a forest of Douglas firs, Swordferns, and Redwood trees.The trail was originally open to hikers only. But now, thanks to a change-in-use decision, the trail will soon become a multi-use trail open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians.
Why It Matters: In addition to being a fun ride through a scenic landscape, Bill’s Trail is Marin’s first change-in-use trail project and has inspired a new process to evaluate and advance future changes to trail systems throughout the state.
Status: Construction will be completed in February, with the trail opening in 2020.
Next Steps: Watch for trail days this summer and fall to prepare the trail for a spring 2020 opening.
EASY GRADE TRAIL (MT. TAMALPAIS STATE PARK)
Description: Easy Grade Trail bridges Old Stage Fire Road and the Mountain Theater. It would provide a direct south-north route over Mount Tamalpais, connecting Pantoll Station with Rock Springs Fire Road.
Why It Matters: The proposal provides bicyclists an alternative route to the narrow and often-congested Pantoll Road, takes advantage of an existing redundant trail (hikers and equestrians use Old Mine Trail and hikers use Bootjack trail), provides a road-free route to the Mountain Play, and closes a bicycle user gap in the Bay Area Ridge Trail.
Following a public review of the proposal in 2016, 96% of comments favored the proposed change to allow bicycles on Easy Grade Trail citing safety, avoidance of paved roads and vehicle traffic, increased access for bicycles, reduced potential environmental impacts, increased connectivity for bikes to other trails (including the Bay Area Ridge Trail), and improved safety for younger bicyclists.
Status: State Parks’ will provide an update on the project in July.
Next Steps: California State Parks will identify funding to implement the trail enhancements in preparation for bicycle use.
REGION 5 ROAD AND TRAIL DESIGNATION (Terra Linda/sleepy hollow divide, San pedro mountain open space preserves)
Description: In December 2014, the Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved adoption of the Road and Trail Management Plan (RTMP), which promises to expand trail opportunities across 16,000 acres of Marin County Open Space Preserves. MCBC plays a major role in the design and development of the RTMP. This particular region focuses on the open space preserves spanning the ridgelines and hills from San Anselmo and Terra Linda over to San Pedro Mountain.
The plan includes a range of available trail management options to increase mountain bike access, including priority use, multi-use, time separation (alternating days between different user groups), trail conversions, changes-in-use, and new trail construction.
Why It Matters: The designation provides a road map for how to close key gaps along the Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Divide and San Pedro Mountain near Santa Venetia, benefiting those who ride on the ridgelines between San Anselmo-Terra Linda, and Santa Venetia-San Rafael.
Status: Adopted in January 2019 with short and long-term trail connection improvements. Before these actions can be taken, each Open Space Preserve must go through an Initial Road and Trail Designation process to establish a baseline designated trail system, to which enhancements will be proposed.
Next Steps: Based on the comments received, the Marin County Open Space District will develop a planning process intended to prioritize the following objectives:
A bike-accessible connection at the San Pedro Mountain Open Space Preserve.
A multi-use connection within the Fox Lane Trail corridor at Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Open Space Preserve.
A trail connection of the Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Open Space Preserve from the Ridgewood Fire Road to Terra Linda neighborhood.
The planning processes for future projects, including decommissioning of non-system trails, will include a detailed evaluation of proposed conditional trail designations, including resource studies, preparation of environmental documents, and public involvement.