Comments by riveray

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Posted on November 15 at 7:24 a.m.

Just to clarify regarding air tankers and the SB Airport, though it seems counterintuitive, it actually isn't much different in air time from SB than it is for Santa Maria. From Santa Maria the planes can reach elevation gradually as they fly form there while any plane that takes off from our airport needs to circle out to sea to gain elevation - at least 3,000'. You might not think it would take that long but the times end up being similar. There is also the issue of difference in air traffic comparing the airports and the issues of trying to merge fire and commercial/private use here as compared to Santa Maria. Finally, by separating the airspace that the helicopters are using from that of the tankers there is less of an issue for them too.

On Houses Gone Along Coyote Road, Mountain Drive

Posted on October 30 at 7:38 a.m.

Hi Gregory - my first comment, since I'm the one who did the work and own the tractor - is that there was no trail here. Because of the slide, we were forced to make a complete re-route around it for a half mile. The work on this section would have taken a minimum of 10x longer and the costs would have been prohibitive. Use of it also enables us to build erosion control features like dips that would not get done by hand, especially along sections of trail that have deep gullies. The alternative are trails that only get more damaged and harder to maintain. On the other hand, within the year, once the vegetation grows back a bit, it is almost impossible to see that the tractor has been used. I'm sorry if this offends you but the work that is being done is important.

On Cold Springs-West Fork

Posted on July 9 at 2:17 p.m.

Exterior red are contingency lines that are used in developing strategic plans. These include Cathedral Oaks on the south; Old San Marcos Pass on the east, West Camino on the north and Dos Pueblos Canyon on the west. As you can see by the fire map that the fire is nearing Dos Pueblos. Each of these contingency lines have one or more "fallback" lines - for instance Highway 154 if Old San Marcos is breached. For this fire the ultimate fallback lines would be Highways 101 and 154--quite a boundary if all the interior lines failed. Note that the planning group is desperately looking for a backup ridge west of Dos Pueblos they can work towards holding the fire since Refugio isn't a good road to attempt to hold with the curves, homes, etc. I used blue for the interior to note secondary lines that are being used primarily to keep the fire from heading south towards homes or other ridges within the primary containment lines.

On Gap Fire Weather Turns Hot

Posted on July 9 at 1:23 p.m.

Hi all--am trying to keep up with the map side of things but not always easy to get detailed enough info plus need to keep up with the expanding fire perimeter and things of interest outside. Just added dozer lines in anticipation of problems in the DP Cyn area which come from this AM's morning briefing.

On Gap Fire Weather Turns Hot

Posted on July 9 at 10:30 a.m.

Broadcast Peak (4,200') is several miles west of the burn area at the top of the steepest part of the SY range and could be in the fire's path if it continues west. The communications towers on top are critical for a number of TV and radio stations, among others. Protecting these towers is critical. See this link for views of the towers .....

On Gap Fire Weather Turns Hot

Posted on July 6 at 11:15 a.m.

Good point--I didn't want to speculate on what might happen should it cross the mountain but none of the possibilities are good ones. Ray

On Gap Fire Moves Towards Condor Peak

Posted on June 28 at 2:02 p.m.

Perhaps you can share your point of view in an article in the future. I'd personally invite you to go out on any of the trails with me, whether one like Romero or another that receives heavy mountain bike use like Tunnel Trail and talk about trail issues from a mountain bike point of view as long as you're willing to talk about and respond to issues that other trail users bring up.

These include safety issues, the gullying that appears to result from excessive braking, the widening of the trail in places where bikers go off the established tread and the "high siding" that occurs when they go up on the side of the trails.

We can also look at impacts from the other trail users as well, including hikers, trail runners and those with dogs and talk about impacts all trail users cause.

On another note, perhaps you can point out the "misinformation" which was so characteristic of the article to get a better understanding of where the points being made were either wrong or off the mark.

Email me and let's get together on a trail some time soon. All of the user groups need to understand better the impacts they have on the trails.

On Trail Picture Becoming Brighter

Posted on June 21 at 8:50 a.m.

Good points in both comments above. Yes, doing trail maintenance, especially in areas where there are serious safety issues does cause an impact though I would argue whether in the canyon area of Cold Springs where all of the work was done by hand or in the upper canyon where the tractor was used, the impacts of the work itself is both short term and needed while user impacts can continue over time.

Much of the damage that is caused when we get the major storms is due to the fact that the water often can't get off the trail, causing gullying and in some cases major trail damage. If you follow the trail down from the power lines you'll notice that the outside berm has been removed so water can sheet off the trail and both dips and grade reversals have been added that will keep erosion to a minimum.

That may not seem like a big deal to add these for some trail users but from a trail care perspective doing so is critical for the long term sustainability of the trail.

I would also suggest that it won't be that long before the dirt compacts, the hillside slumps a bit, the grasses re-grow on the outside edge of the trail and visual impacts of the work will disappear. What will remain, however, are the improvements to the erosion control that will keep the trail is great shape for a long time.

I would also suggest that there are literally hundreds of trail users on Cold Springs every week, many thousands over the year, off all types - families, the elderly, those with dogs, those with young kids, trail runners and yes even mountain bikers. The trail needs to serve all those users not just a select few.

Would appreciate your comments again after the start of next year to see how you feel about the "improvements".


On Trail Picture Becoming Brighter

Posted on May 11 at 1:05 p.m.

I'm glad the story provoked a lot of discussion on issues that for want of a forum, have really been ignored. Almost all of the conversation regarding user conflicts has been done more or less under the banner of trail safety, with one side blasting mountain bikers for making the trails unsafe and bikers on the other side defending their rights to use the trails.

As you can see from some of the comments above, the issue is very emotional - and unfortunately some of it takes on the tone of current politics - which is to defend one's point of view at all costs and to admit nothing that might strengthen the hand of the other side.

Well first, no one seems to be talking about what the impacts are of use of the front country trails. There are costs, and in some cases it appears major costs, especially given the paucity of resources we have to deal with the impacts.

Frank brings up a number of good points and we should be discussing those rather than ganging up on whoever brings them to the table, whether Frank or me. I'm not out to get mountain bikes off the trails but I do believe we need to have honest discussion regarding their impacts and to how their use affects other trail users.

Getting a handle on how we feel about mechanized use of the trails is one of those points of discussion as is what damage they cause to the trails. As technology develops there will be other forms of trail travel that could lead to issues we haven't yet thought about. It is fair to talk about these kind of issues and to make sure we are clear about what purposes we want our trails to serve, how we will go about making sure they can be maintained to a standard that is sustainable and that both the natural environment and its inhabitants are protected along the way.

So, yes, let's have the discussion. What Frank saw over the last 4-5 years is a trail that he has seen change. Perhaps not so much that it would bother some but it did him. The trail is widening in places, there is more loose rock and gravel on the trail, there are ruts on some of the steeper sections and several of the switchbacks are being damaged. I walked up the trail with him.

These aren't figments of the imagination - they are real impacts - ones we need to look at from a variety of perspectives: one of them is whether it is worth having bikes on the trails given these impacts. I would suggest that isn't a practical option. Another is whether or not the impacts can be mitigated and what the cost of doing so is. Still another is working out what types of educational programs might be put in place to change attitudes and habits. Another might be looking at a monitoring program that assesses use and regulates it according to impacts.

The bottom line from my point of view is that we cannot afford to ignore the fact that there are impacts and costs associated with them. How we deal with them is up for discussion.

So let's continue the dialogue but please can we tone down the emotions?

On The Hidden Costs of Mountain Biking

Posted on January 25 at 6:20 a.m.

Though the story focuses on a number of themes relating to rehabilitating the trails, the issues are fairly complex for a short story. First, the work being done now is by the LPFA under a contract with the Forest Service to deal with flood damage but the Trails Council is working with MTF and other organizations on an overall plan to generate the funding needed to do all of the front country trails.

Second, MTF has been involved in discussions of the project, walked the Cold Springs Trail with us to go over the plan of work and hopefully will be the key organization working with us to rebuild the trails. The project is huge and without all of us working together it won't get done.

Last, if you'd like to read about the progress of work on the trail you can find progress reports at the Trails Council blog (
Ray Ford

On New Coalition Volunteers Look to Rehab Trails

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