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  1. #1
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    Stowe Trail - what's the plan?

    So this came by email from SDMBA:

    Trail Work: Stowe Trail
    Saturday, January 28th 7:30 am - 1 pm
    Sycamore Goodan Ranch, Map Link

    The time is finally here to get the Stowe Trail ready for permitted use, which will begin in February 2017. This partnership project between MCAS Miramar, SDMBA, and the trail user community is a vital step in opening this historic route between Santee and Poway connecting open spaces and the surrounding communities.

    All volunteers must register HERE.

    Goal for the day: Decommission side trails that extend to the west of the main Stowe alignment and deeper into MCAS Miramar property. Work will include brushing and blocking off trail access on pre-determined alignments as well as turning the soil tread to encourage native plant growth.
    The work area extends south from the southern gate at Sycamore Goodan Ranch to the treatment plant at the North end of Santee Lakes.

    Participants will park at the dirt lot at the end of Sycamore Park Drive off Hwy. 67. Please arrive at this lot after 7:30 a.m. and before 8 a.m. so we can stage all volunteer quickly.

    What to bring: Please come prepared with water, snacks, sunscreen, work gloves, eye protection, long pants/long sleeves/layers appropriate to weather conditions, closed toed, sturdy shoes and anything else for a safe and comfortable day.

    Because of the logistics involved with this event, we encourage all participants to commit to the entire work day.

    SDMBA will provide tools, morning snacks, trail snacks and lunch. Additional water will be available to fill up bottles/packs.

    All volunteers will be required to sign a volunteer agreement/waiver provided by the Marines at the event.

  2. #2
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    Last time I was out that way at Sycamore I saw a bunch of marker flags in the fireroad in the middle of the canyon. Is the plan to close all of the parallel singletracks and just leave the road in the middle? Will the singletracks on both sides of the road be shut down or just the ones that are deeper on MCAS land (to the north/west of the road)?

    Seems like it would be very wise to build the new trails before decommissioning the old ones based on past experiences in Spring, Oak, and Penaquitos Canyons. There is a history in our county of shutting down existing trails quickly and then very slowly, or never, building the new ones. Then the old trails get reopened illegally or new unauthorized trails get cut to meet demand for trails.

    Thanks to everybody in SDMBA working to make a viable connector for these trail systems. I just hope it isn't a big flat fireroad down the middle.

  3. #3
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    Excerpt from the SDMBA Advocacy minutes:

    Marines say they will implement permitting process for access to Stowe Trail in early 2017. Permitting will include online background check; minors do not need a permit.

    Each person who wants to ride on the Stowe trail will have to register with the Marines at Miramar for a annual permit. The permit is valid only for the registered owner (think fishing licence). The process is in the works but not finalized yet. Part of the process has to be the clear and permanent marking of a limit line.

    All the markers seen out there are Absolute markers, meaning you can be detained and ticketed if you proceed beyond them in a North/West direction. Unfortunately the Marines would not negotiate beyond that boarder so much of the single track that winds through the canyon has to be closed. The good news is any trails that to not cross that line should remain intact. All trails other trail in the canyon will remain open BUT, again, you can be detained and ticketed without a valid permit as stated above.

    If you are interested in helping get the trails to a legal status, there is a trail day on Jan 28.

    You can find out more and register to help here --> Stowe Trail Work Day, Jan 28
    Apathy will get you exactly what you deserve

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post
    Last time I was out that way at Sycamore I saw a bunch of marker flags in the fireroad in the middle of the canyon. Is the plan to close all of the parallel singletracks and just leave the road in the middle? Will the singletracks on both sides of the road be shut down or just the ones that are deeper on MCAS land (to the north/west of the road)?

    Seems like it would be very wise to build the new trails before decommissioning the old ones based on past experiences in Spring, Oak, and Penaquitos Canyons. There is a history in our county of shutting down existing trails quickly and then very slowly, or never, building the new ones. Then the old trails get reopened illegally or new unauthorized trails get cut to meet demand for trails.

    Thanks to everybody in SDMBA working to make a viable connector for these trail systems. I just hope it isn't a big flat fireroad down the middle.
    The Goal of the Stowe Trail is to re-open a former right-of-way to the public. It is the flat fire road that runs north from Santee Lakes to Gooden Ranch. This route, and this route ONLY is what will be opened up. Al the side trails ( e.g. Fun Stuff like Switch Backs, Log Jumps, etc., ) will be strictly off limits.
    Overall, this is a good thing. SDMBA has worked very hard (Thanks Kevin!) along with the County of SD just to get us this.
    So let's celebrate this, and help out anyway we can!

  5. #5
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    You should not ride that area until it is open.

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    I assumed the switchbacks and trails over there would be off limits because they are relatively deep into MCAS land. I was referring more to the singletrack trails that parallel the fire road and are outside (south/east) of the "absolute markers" described by bankerboy.

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    At this time, all trails outside of the base boundary markers but still fall within base easement are not going to be impacted. Hopefully people don't go batshit crazy and take it as a permission slip to build. That will be a sure cause of harm to the ability to ride the Stowe trail in the future.

    So, if it there and on the east/south side of the boundary it is ok. Cross the line and it could get ugly really fast. You can bet your bottom dollar the Marines will be watching it closely for compliance once permitted/licensed access is allowed.
    Apathy will get you exactly what you deserve

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikingScott View Post
    This route, and this route ONLY is what will be opened up. Al the side trails ( e.g. Fun Stuff like Switch Backs, Log Jumps, etc., ) will be strictly off limits.

    Overall, this is a good thing.
    Somebody's been drinking the Kool-aid...

    While I greatly appreciate the efforts of the SDMBA to get this connector re-opened, I will not buy in to the idea that the closing of the existing singletrack is a good thing in any way shape or form. The singletrack through the valley was no more intrusive on their property than the fire road and, as others have pointed out numerous times, this will only lead to more rouge trail building.



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  9. #9
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    What more to we know about this permit:
    Cost?
    How to obtain?
    Where will one enter to use the trail from the north/south?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB View Post
    What more to we know about this permit:
    Cost?
    How to obtain?
    Where will one enter to use the trail from the north/south?
    Supposedly no cost but a few hoops to jump through. Here's a link to an article in the San Diego Reader with the current scoop: Miramar Marines to reopen Stowe Trail for bikes | San Diego Reader

    Trail markers are appearing.


    Stowe Trail - what's the plan?-20170320_190043.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by dseybert View Post
    I will not buy in to the idea that the closing of the existing singletrack is a good thing in any way shape or form.
    If the always illegal singletracks are sitting there as carrots, regardless of the rules, someone will rationalize that he/she is above them and once one rider uses them others will rationalize that they can too and so on and so on. Access to Stowe Trail goes away and good luck getting it back.

    I'm not asking anyone to like it but let's be honest with ourselves.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodster View Post
    If the always illegal singletracks are sitting there as carrots, regardless of the rules, someone will rationalize that he/she is above them and once one rider uses them others will rationalize that they can too and so on and so on. Access to Stowe Trail goes away and good luck getting it back.

    I'm not asking anyone to like it but let's be honest with ourselves.
    Its my understanding that they will be closing the redundant single track that goes through the Base. That's what the volunteer event on April 1st will be doing:

    https://www.facebook.com/events/3395..._history%22%3A[%7B%22surface%22%3A%22page%22%2C%22mechanism%22%3A %22main_list%22%2C%22extra_data%22%3A%22%7B%5C%22p age_id%5C%22%3A71076071171%2C%5C%22tour_id%5C%22%3 Anull%7D%22%7D]%2C%22has_source%22%3Atrue%7D

  13. #13
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    Wow I can't believe no one updated this info. below! This used to be my favorite trail in the whole county, but the "used to be" is NOT because of the Marines, see below. While I see ATV tracks a lot from either the marines or possibly from the ranger to the North, I've never seen any military presence here ever. Maybe I'm lucky, but I used to bike this area every day and have never seen an "authority" figure here, besides at the Ranger Station that's really in a different area from this trail. I would suggest going after 5 PM because I've heard that's the (end) hours of any possible Marine patrols. And again I believe it, because I've never seen them in riding hundreds of hours on and near this trail. Whoever said that this trail is the only one open to bikers within the military base is correct. There are contradictory signs: "Stay On Trail" 50 feet after "No Trespassing". But again, don't worry about it after 5 PM, this is/was a great trail and you can make it an even cooler loop by going NE up the ridge trail about 0.75 miles south of the Ranger Station (not the Cardiac trail, south of that one), and then south on the hilltop road/trail down to the beginning of Clark Canyon to the East of Stowe Trail. That is THE BEST LOOP! The problem right now though is that the winter storms really, really screwed up the Stowe trail North of the official beginning of Sycamore Canyon, as in the meadow area is OK, not great, but a lot of this trail now has deep sand and stacks of granite-like rocks. It went from an easily accessible trail to something that's just a chore to bike. I don't even know if a 29" can do OK with that much sand and large rocks. It's just a mess now. And it's not like the military or the ranger is going to clean it up for us... The pic is just a taste of the erosion from the winter rains. See all of those rocks? Most of them were not there above ground and now there are places where they are stacked 3-5 feet deep. Terrible.

    A different way to get here is either parking way North in Poway (NW of the Ranger Station about 1 mile), or taking Clark Canyon all the way past the fence to the end, below and South of the dirt overlook staging area. The problem with that is a lot of overgrowth at the end and it's difficult with no path for about 0.5 miles, will take you 20-30 minutes just to go that last 0.5 mile to the upper staging area before you can then go down the gravel road to the middle hilltop trail that splits south from the ridge trail that connects with Stowe trail. So from either Magnolia/Summit/Princess Joanne or the more obnoxious parking at Strathmore/Fanita, the original loop was maybe 105 minutes (closer to 120 min from Princess Joanne), and the Clark Canyon way would add 15-30 minutes to this, but either way now is slow, one from sand and huge rocks, and one from overgrowth and no trail for 0.5 miles.

    As for the other areas west of there, that are 100% on military property, I used to do a lot of those too, but the fear of getting arrested was greater there, although not as much as North of the 52 from the Mission Trails Santee side. If I could read the tea leaves about the military posting new signs on Stowe trail: "Use this trail and anything west is going to be bad for you and your bike". Of course they have to physically be there patrolling to catch you, but I have also seen infrared and other visual equipment around trees for them to monitor who goes in/out of their property. Long story short, if you skirt their property after 5 PM (skirting as in Stowe trail, etc.), you will probably be fine. The farther west you go the less you will be fine. They can't patrol everywhere, all the time, but you better believe they will patrol the area immediately around the firing area and that is due west of the Stowe trail at the beginning South area of the canyon.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Stowe Trail - what's the plan?-1491788239899.jpg  

    Last edited by richj8990; 04-23-2017 at 01:59 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    Wow I can't believe no one updated this info. below! This used to be my favorite trail in the whole county, but the "used to be" is NOT because of the Marines, see below. While I see ATV tracks a lot from either the marines or possibly from the ranger to the North, I've never seen any military presence here ever. Maybe I'm lucky, but I used to bike this area every day and have never seen an "authority" figure here, besides at the Ranger Station that's really in a different area from this trail. I would suggest going after 5 PM because I've heard that's the (end) hours of any possible Marine patrols. And again I believe it, because I've never seen them in riding hundreds of hours on and near this trail. Whoever said that this trail is the only one open to bikers within the military base is correct. There are contradictory signs: "Stay On Trail" 50 feet after "No Trespassing". But again, don't worry about it after 5 PM, this is/was a great trail and you can make it an even cooler loop by going NE up the ridge trail about 0.75 miles south of the Ranger Station (not the Cardiac trail, south of that one), and then south on the hilltop road/trail down to the beginning of Clark Canyon to the East of Stowe Trail. That is THE BEST LOOP! The problem right now though is that the winter storms really, really screwed up the Stowe trail North of the official beginning of Sycamore Canyon, as in the meadow area is OK, not great, but a lot of this trail now has deep sand and stacks of granite-like rocks. It went from an easily accessible trail to something that's just a chore to bike. I don't even know if a 29" can do OK with that much sand and large rocks. It's just a mess now. And it's not like the military or the ranger is going to clean it up for us... The pic is just a taste of the erosion from the winter rains. See all of those rocks? Most of them were not there above ground and now there are places where they are stacked 3-5 feet deep. Terrible.

    A different way to get here is either parking way North in Poway (NW of the Ranger Station about 1 mile), or taking Clark Canyon all the way past the fence to the end, below and South of the dirt overlook staging area. The problem with that is a lot of overgrowth at the end and it's difficult with no path for about 0.5 miles, will take you 20-30 minutes just to go that last 0.5 mile to the upper staging area before you can then go down the gravel road to the middle hilltop trail that splits south from the ridge trail that connects with Stowe trail. So from either Magnolia/Summit/Princess Joanne or the more obnoxious parking at Strathmore/Fanita, the original loop was maybe 105 minutes (closer to 120 min from Princess Joanne), and the Clark Canyon way would add 15-30 minutes to this, but either way now is slow, one from sand and huge rocks, and one from overgrowth and no trail for 0.5 miles.

    As for the other areas west of there, that are 100% on military property, I used to do a lot of those too, but the fear of getting arrested was greater there, although not as much as North of the 52 from the Mission Trails Santee side. If I could read the tea leaves about the military posting new signs on Stowe trail: "Use this trail and anything west is going to be bad for you and your bike". Of course they have to physically be there patrolling to catch you, but I have also seen infrared and other visual equipment around trees for them to monitor who goes in/out of their property. Long story short, if you skirt their property after 5 PM (skirting as in Stowe trail, etc.), you will probably be fine. The farther west you go the less you will be fine. They can't patrol everywhere, all the time, but you better believe they will patrol the area immediately around the firing area and that is due west of the Stowe trail at the beginning South area of the canyon.
    I rode it just about every weekend as well for a number of years. The 2 or 3 times I did see military patrols, they never said anything to me or seemed to care and I know they saw me. Of course I was just on the Stowe trail and not traipsing further into the base. Once the signs went up and I started hearing about people getting turned away and/or cited, I stopped riding it. I did Clark canyon a few times too but it was brutal and stopped riding it once the signs and fence went up. DBack and the ridge line wasn't too bad once you were up on top but it turned out that was military property and a no no as well. Tried the ridge lines above High Anxiety and Slaughter House canyon a few times but it was nothing but climb, descend, climb, descend in loose cobble stones.

    At this point, I'm going to be a good boy, get the permit and just ride the Stowe trail legally. Yeah, one can probably avoid being caught by riding off peak periods but I'm not going to push my luck like that anymore. I'm done beating myself and my bike to death pounding through miles of cobble stones and scraping through brush.

    If somebody else wants to push their luck or take the "alternative routes" and risk pissing off the rangers or MPs, that's their business...

  15. #15
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    As of April 26th USMC Miramar is now accepting permit applications to access Stowe Trail.
    https://twitter.com/MCASMiramarCA

    Website

    Stowe Trail


    Permit application

    http://www.miramar.marines.mil/Porta...-23-173447-927

    Liability waiver

    http://www.miramar.marines.mil/Porta...-23-173448-223

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    As for the other areas west of there, that are 100% on military property, I used to do a lot of those too, but the fear of getting arrested was greater there, although not as much as North of the 52 from the Mission Trails Santee side. If I could read the tea leaves about the military posting new signs on Stowe trail: "Use this trail and anything west is going to be bad for you and your bike". Of course they have to physically be there patrolling to catch you, but I have also seen infrared and other visual equipment around trees for them to monitor who goes in/out of their property. Long story short, if you skirt their property after 5 PM (skirting as in Stowe trail, etc.), you will probably be fine. The farther west you go the less you will be fine. They can't patrol everywhere, all the time, but you better believe they will patrol the area immediately around the firing area and that is due west of the Stowe trail at the beginning South area of the canyon.
    They will be patrolling heavily once permits start getting issued and people start riding Stowe. I wouldn't bet on them going home at 5pm especially with long days through summer.

    Why not just get a permit and ride legally?

    If they find people continue to ride west of the Stowe trail it will jeopardize access for everyone. Please don't be that guy who gets the whole thing shut down!

  17. #17
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    I wish they could have simplified the permit process, and make good for at least 5 years or more. It sounds like they screen you more for this then they do for purchasing a hand gun.

    Are they seriously gonna stop everybody they meet and ask for a permit? That's like getting pulled over every time you get on the freeway to go work?

  18. #18
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    Government never does anything the simple way. When is the last time you heard of rules and regulations being made easier?

    Marines will do what they need to make their point and drive home the message. Look how well they got compliance be confiscating 40 bikes in one weekend. It sucked but it worked.

    For those who venture on to their land, especially for the short term, expect a conversation with the nice folk on quads. Just be respectful and don't be ass about it. No issues if you follow their rules while on their property.

    Oh wait, I said the wrong...

    "Damn jar heads can't tell me what to do. My taxes f'ng paid for that land so I have a right to use it as I see fit..."

    Yep, that will show them :-)

    It has taken a long time to get legal access. Hopefully some self absorbed ding-dong doesn't wreck it in the first month.
    Apathy will get you exactly what you deserve

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    USMC customer service on Stowe Trail access...

    Wow. The instructions say to call them 10 business days after submitting the application. I figured why bother calling on exactly the 10th day, I'll give them 15! Instead, they reached out to me today (day 13) to set up an appt. Not bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GOOOO View Post
    Wow. The instructions say to call them 10 business days after submitting the application. I figured why bother calling on exactly the 10th day, I'll give them 15! Instead, they reached out to me today (day 13) to set up an appt. Not bad.
    They called me today and I got an appointment for next week to get my permit. The lady I spoke with said they only do appointments for Stowe Trail permits on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For me, this was 11 work days after turning in the application so they're fairly close to their 10 working days lead time. Keep in mind you're dealing with the military and you do things on their terms and by their rules period.

    I'm hoping too that some self-entitled idiot doesn't piss them off to where they shut the whole thing down.

  21. #21
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    After getting the permit, how do you access the trail from the Santee side ?

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    It is on the corner of Fanita Parkway and Gainly.

    There is a new step-over gate installed. It will put you on the service road that everyone accessed through the old (now closed) hole in the fence off Strathmore.

    Just be courteous and cognizant of the neighbors. They deserve quiet, no one wants to hear a lot of noise. Respect the homeowners streets and try not to park in front of their houses. There is a lot of parking all along Fanita and Gainly. These have been the biggest reasons access has been restricted on the east side of the lakes.

    Once you head north on the service road, you will run into the Stowe Trail signs (about even with the painted rock in the valley) that will send you west across the river bed. From there, signs are placed every 100 feet. You can't get lost.
    Apathy will get you exactly what you deserve

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    Quote Originally Posted by bankerboy View Post
    It is on the corner of Fanita Parkway and Ganley Rd..
    Fixed.

    I didn't know you could park on Fanita Pkwy. Something change?

    If not, as a courtesy to the neighborhood, if parking on the lowest block of Ganley is full, consider parking on Lake Canyon Rd. about 0.7 miles south on Fanita Parkway.
    ¯\(°_o)/¯

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    Thank you !

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    Quote Originally Posted by the one ring View Post
    Fixed.

    I didn't know you could park on Fanita Pkwy. Something change?

    If not, as a courtesy to the neighborhood, if parking on the lowest block of Ganley is full, consider parking on Lake Canyon Rd. about 0.7 miles south on Fanita Parkway.
    There is also parking at Santee Lakes. Yes, it costs a few bucks but you have a place to chill for a post ride cold one or even a picnic without having to worry about upsetting the local residents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the one ring View Post
    Fixed.

    I didn't know you could park on Fanita Pkwy. Something change?

    If not, as a courtesy to the neighborhood, if parking on the lowest block of Ganley is full, consider parking on Lake Canyon Rd. about 0.7 miles south on Fanita Parkway.
    I rode here yesterday afternoon and there are no parking signs on Fanita Pkwy.

    One idea might be to park at Sycamore Canyon School on Settle Rd. It's about a half mile to the new step over gate. I have never parked at the school so I don't know if its allowed.

    I remember the dirt lot east of West Hill HS use to be full on the weekends from people riding Sycamore Canyon. If this becomes that popular again it wont be long before the neighbors start to bitch.

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