On Thursday, October 18th, Laguna Canyon Foundation hosted a trails forum at Laguna Beach Beer Company. Since our trails program kicked off in 2015, we’ve held several of these forums at different venues throughout Laguna Beach, with the mission of bringing people who love our open space together to learn about Laguna Canyon Foundation and how to get involved with our trails. Targeted to mountain bikers specifically, this gathering focused on the trail work we have planned for the 2018-2019 trails season, and encouraged people to sign up to volunteer at one of our trail days.
We opened the forum by talking about the history of our open space and how Laguna Canyon Foundation was formed. Those of you who have attended an LCF event have probably heard the story—how Laguna Canyon was owned by the Irvine Company and scheduled to be developed, and how LCF was formed specifically to purchase and preserve that open space. Since that day in 1990, Laguna Canyon Foundation has expanded beyond land acquisition into land stewardship, and our trail program is a critical part of that. The second part of our forum covered our plans for the specific trails we’re focusing on this year, including Laguna Ridge, Camarillo, Old Emerald, Car Wreck, Rock-It and 5 Oaks.
If you’ve been out in the parks recently, you’ve probably noticed the increase in hikers and mountain bikers out on the trails. This increase in use inevitably leads to an increase in user conflicts. Add in steep, challenging terrain and singletrack trails, and you’ll see why we’ve gotten more anecdotal complaints about conflict on the trails. The Q and A portion of the forum focused heavily on these conflicts. How can we open more trails for mountain biking? How can we get more people out volunteering on the trails? How can we tackle the thorny issues of user conflicts? While we don’t have the magic potion that will answer these questions, we had a robust and, at times, challenging conversation about topics that we are all passionate about. We summed up the conversation in just a few words: be polite when you’re on the trail. Give back to the open space you love so much. Work with us to try to increase sustainability in our trail system. Be a part of the solution.