BTC advocates for bulldozing trail in Joaquin Miller Park- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    BTC advocates for bulldozing trail in Joaquin Miller Park

    Saw this email today from the President of the Bicycle Trails Council to an Oakland City Council member and several City staff members recommending bulldozing a narrow trail in Joaquin Miller Park:

    Dear Councilwoman Thao,
    Today Battalion Chief Bowron and I surveyed the trails in JMP regarding accessibility for fire and emergency vehicles.
    He suggested:
    1) Blade and widen the Sunset Trail from the meadow to Castle Park [road] to accommodate a fire rig and construct a turnaround for fire vehicles. Also, evaluate the water access on the trail.
    2) Cut back and sweep clean the asphalt roads around the horse arena. There is water in the arena.
    3) Rebuild the yellow gate leading to the pump track site to prevent cars from driving in and "socializing" there. A big fire hazard!

    Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay

    (Emphasis mine.)

    With less the 10 miles of singletrack trails in the Berkeley Hills, we have the local mountain bike organization advocating bulldozing and widening trails into dirt roads to accommodate emergency vehicles. How pathetic!

    If you think bulldozing JMP trails into roads is a terrible idea, drop the board over at BTC a note ([email protected]) letting them know you like to ride trails, not dirt roads.

    --Edit--
    Here are Council member's Thao Sheng contact ([email protected]) along with the 2 city staff members that also received BTC's email [email protected] & [email protected].

    My reply to City council member Thao Sheng:

    Yikes! Certainly we do not want to be bulldozing park trails into roads!

    While I am certainly supportive of a formalized fire management program, better managing fuel loads, removing open flame fire pits, and properly closing the park on red flag days, one of the central draws of Joaquin Miller Park (especially for the mountain bike community) is the narrow nature of the trails. To suggest that ANY park trail should be widened to accommodate vehicle traffic is both environmentally unsound and antithetical to maintaining the trail system that makes JMP so special.

    There is not a single spot in the park that is more then a half mile from an emergency access point and absolutely no reason to be bulldozing park trails in some misguided attempt to sanitize the park. The vast majority of park uses come to JMP to enjoy the natural and rustic nature of the park, not to plod around on environmental destructive and uninviting dirt roads. If any park user feels so unsafe about being on a natural trail, there are countless bulldozed roads in the EBRPD parks right across the street.

    Please do not bulldoze park trails into roads!!!

  2. #2
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    I really don't want to start an argument or antagonize but... since when was Sunset a sweet singletrack? It's a wide-open flat climb from Castle Park to the meadow. I'm actually pretty surprised they need to do anything to it for truck access, it's already wide and smooth enough to drive on. If you have not ridden JMP and are wondering what this area looks like, I found a BKXC video that shows it clearly. At https://youtu.be/3bGnZNmbW3Y?t=144 you can see what it looks like to drop into sunset from cinderella...

  3. #3
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    That's not the direction to go from the bottom of Cinderella towards Castle Park road on Sunset. He's heading towards the meadow, and the trail is indeed a fire road in that direction from there. The single track is in the opposite direction from that way. You'd come off the bottom of Cinderella and make a right. No way could you drive a truck on it now. It's very narrow and exposed in some parts, crossing a steep hillside. It would be a lot of work to make it road-width out there.

    There are many other parts of the park not accessible by truck so one wonders what the motivation is here.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by somanygoodbikes View Post
    That's not the direction to go from the bottom of Cinderella towards Castle Park road on Sunset. He's heading towards the meadow, and the trail is indeed a fire road in that direction from there. The single track is in the opposite direction from that way. You'd come off the bottom of Cinderella and make a right. No way could you drive a truck on it now. It's very narrow and exposed in some parts, crossing a steep hillside. It would be a lot of work to make it road-width out there.

    There are many other parts of the park not accessible by truck so one wonders what the motivation is here.
    Ok, I stand corrected. It's a fire road from Chaparral up to the meadow for sure. I have ridden it down to Castle Dr, though I don't remember. I'm rereading OP, and it says "Castle Park (Road)", by which I thought he meant Sunset's intersection with the bottom of Castle Park Trail.

  5. #5
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    Somanygoob and rafekett are both correct. Sunset past the Cinderella intersection (out to Castle Park Rd) is indeed a nice narrow trail, while the trail back towards the meadow is already road width (and has gotten blow out a few times in the last decade).

    My guess on the motivation is that BTC leadership has been making the widening of Sunset a pet project for about 2 years. Back in July '17 some lady crashed on Cinderella (by the old bypass), lacerated her liver, and the firetruck couldn't drive out to the site. So they took out a ATV, picked her up on the trail, and took her to a waiting ambulance. (She was some mom out with her two young kids and got in over her head on Cinderella. Never want to see anyone get hurt, but people fall off their bikes and get hurt some times. They doesn't mean we should sanitize the park so no one every gets hurt again.)

    Afterwards BTC leadership sent out emails suggesting;

    "There should be some meeting.
    The points I'd [BTC President] make are:
    -OFD needs to ride the SB [Sequoia Bayview] trail and the Sunset trail to see what changes are need to possibly allow a fire truck entry."

    So back in 2017 BTC started suggesting park trails need to be widened to allow fire truck access. To be honest I don't really think they'll be able to cut a "new" road (as the trail goes across that little wooden bridge just past the Cinderella intersection) all the way to Castle Park Rd, but they've already planted the seed in the City's collective ear, about "Fire Safety". Recommended by a Battalion Chief no less, so it must be an important safety issue! And then they'll get a bunch of fools to go hack away on the narrow trail until it's completely blown out. (There are board members on the Friends of Joaquin Park who advocated for widening the narrow section of Sunset for many years as it was a "danger to pregnant women" to have crazy bikers on a narrow trail. No joke, I personally heard FOJMP espousing the idea.)

    My guess is also that BTC didn't really "survey the trails in JMP regarding accessibility for fire and emergency vehicles", but rather the President just took the Battalion Chief out to Cinderella to push this idiotic idea, (and sounds like they took him to the broken gate where the new pump track is being built - a positive and good idea.)

    It's just bat shit crazy IMO that we have a local mountain bike advocacy organization that is actively working to widen trails in JMP, (no mater what the reason). Pretty sure that's not what the majority of local riders want.

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    "We have met the enemy..." comes to mind.
    Ride fast. Huck bravely. Waste no beer. Safety third.

  7. #7
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    I was born in the EastBay...bulldoze that shit!

  8. #8
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    A proper solution to the safety issue would be actual signs stating the difficulty of the trail. But around here the environmental impact fee for a sign is probably $15000.

  9. #9
    J-Flo
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    It wouldn’t be feasible at all to turn the singletrack part of Sunset (from Cinderella to the North end of JMP) into a fire road. The hillside is just too steep and exposed. Frankly this doesn’t make any sense.

    In other JMP news, Middle Palos (aka “Pipeline”) and Big Trees remain my favorite trails there. Last time out, a week ago at dusk, we were flying down the wide chute at the start of Big Trees (that begins at Skyline) and turning into the rooty part found someone had placed a 6” wide, 20’ long tree spur, stripped of branches and leaves, across and perpendicular to the trail about 18 inches off the ground. Freaking sabotage, first time I’ve seen that at JMP. Very hard stop saved a bad crash. We checked the area and saw some people around but not anyone who might have done it, even though it must have been shortly before we got there.

    Somebody really smart decided that a few hundred pounds of coarse gravel was just the thing to put all over the rutted section at the top of Cinderella. Brilliant. The rest of the trail is beat up and needs some love.

    The upper Palos reroute is in need of love in the middle part below the two switchbacks; the rock armored part is gone and the chute between the trees is disintegrating, losing its former good flow and becoming a bit sketchy. The berms are still holding up though (cuz they got rocks and concrete in em). Lots of people are riding the old upper Palos again, which someone cleared out.



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  10. #10
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    BTCEB is a joke. All they ever do is **** up JMP.
    East Bay Parks AKA East Bay Cattle Ranches

  11. #11
    jrm
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    Not..the "Berkeley Hills". thats the stupid steep bit of Sunset trail. If anything id be more concerned if i was a castle rock resident, especially if BTC is proposing improving access there.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by oparks View Post
    1) Blade and widen the Sunset Trail from the meadow to Castle Park [road] to accommodate a fire rig and construct a turnaround for fire vehicles. Also, evaluate the water access on the trail.

    Who put the [road] in there?

  13. #13
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    I agree with many of above that this section of Sunset trail out to Castle Park runs along an extremely steep and exposed trail. I don't think it's possible to bulldoze a road there without a lot of infrastructure to maintain the road and prevent slides and erosion.

    As to the report of an injured person on the trail who required medical assistance and there being difficulty reaching them... it seems to me that that is an assumed risk of ANY travel into wilderness or trail/park area. It's not feasible to build access fire roads to EVERY narrow trail.

    I hope there's a reason why BTC is advocating for this and I'd like to hear because it is appalling and shameful on the surface of it.

  14. #14
    jrm
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    Do you mean BTCEB? Also it seems that BTCEB is in support of this option b/c it has little or no impact on the JMP pump track under construction and/or a possible other alternative that would actually take away a segment of the parks single track.

  15. #15
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    The way I understand it ,is that there was some discussion about how the OFD would fight a fire in JM. It was arranged that the OFD Chief and the president of the BTC would survey all areas of JM for access. The area from the meadow towards Cinderella could be made more accessible by removing some of the downed trees and trimming back some of the over growth . There was a discussion of adding a turn a round just past Cinderella , with out a EIR probably not going to happen. With no access to the middle of the park and no air suppression the middle of the park would be left to burn. The upper park has access and water supply a fire could be fought there. JM IS NOT a priority of the city of Oakland, what little trail work that is done there is done by Oakland Trails and the BTC. If there was a fire there ,what would rather see some of the park burned and not accessible or the whole park gone?

  16. #16
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    Just plow all single track wide enough for fire access and allow ebikes. That would work fine.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

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