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2011 KRMBA New BLM / Keyesville Trail Proposal with Maps

posted Sep 25, 2014, 7:37 PM by Kern River Mountain Bike Association   [ updated Sep 25, 2014, 7:45 PM ]

Comments on the

Bakersfield BLM Resource Management Plan

by the Kern River Mountain Bike Association

Kern River Mountain Bike Association (KRMBA)  is a bike club in the process of becoming a non profit 501c3 association. KRMBA represents the mountain biking interests of the Kern River Valley and Southern Sierra.

December 8, 2011

Bakersfield RMP
Bureau of Land Management
3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308

Dear BLM Planning Team,

On behalf of Kern River Mountain Bike Association (KRMBA), representing the interests of mountain bikers in the Kern River Valley, we would like to submit comments on the Bakersfield BLM Draft RMP 2011.

While KRMBA enjoys, supports, and maintains many multi-use trails,  one goal of KRMBA is to encourage “human powered” non-motorized recreation as well.   This enhances user experience and allows for more sustainable trail use.   The BLM in other areas of the western states have enacted very successful plans that include both multi-use trails and user-specific purpose-built trails, such as one-way mountain bike trails.  One excellent example that we would want to emulate are the changes made on BLM land at Hartman Rocks in Gunnison, Colorado, which includes several multi-use and purpose-built trails that have replaced the ‘free-for-all’ OHV use.   Now users of all types are able to use the land in a sustainable conflict-free manner.  

KRMBA has comments on 5 trails, as described below.    If needed, I have GPX and KML files of all trails discussed below.

We hope that you will consider our comments.

Keyesville Classic Trail

1.  Officially designate the newest sections of Keyesville Classic Trail.  The 2011 Keyesville Classic Mountain Bike Race included 2 new return-route sections to avoid riding on Pearl Harbor Drive.  These trails, which followed a contouring cow trail and an old flume trail, have become excellent high quality additions to the trail.  These trails  alone were a highlight of the cross country race, and mountain bikers continue to ride them as part of the return loop of the Keyesville Classic.

2.  Unify the return trail of the Keyesville Classic singletrack, by creating a connector through the older Pearl Harbor Memorial area. This would allow a continuous singletrack route from Kern Canyon Trail, and allow mountain bikers to avoid Pearl Harbor Drive. The support for this trail from other mountain biking groups throughout Southern California is huge.   KRMBA, CORBA, and SSFTA have all offered to help with design, construction,  and maintenance associated with this singletrack.

3.  Keeping the singletrack character of the trails should be an important goal.  Narrow singletrack trails are the highest priority for mountain bikers.  Proper signage and barricades, such as boulders, could help keep ATV’s and 4-wheelers off of 2-wheeled singletrack trails.  A continuous return trail with few intersections, as described above, should help this issue as well.

Below is a Google Earth image of the existing and proposed Keyesville Classic return trail.

One-Way Non-Motorized Downhill Mountain Bike Trail in Keyesville

We propose a one-way downhill trail in Keyesville, similar in character to trails in Hartman Rocks BLM Recreation Area and new BLM trails in Croy Canyon near Ketchum, Idaho.

The trail should be designed as a sustainable and "purpose-built" trail for intermediate through expert mountain bike riders.  It should incorporate the natural terrain features for both “flow” and technical skills.  A one-way trail makes it safer and a mountain bike only designation would enhance the user experience with mountain bike specific trail features.  

This trail could be used as an alternative Keyesville Classic Downhill Course and part of the Super D Race Course. (Super D is an endurance downhill race, which has become one of the most popular races in biking).

Below is an image of the general proposed route in two sections.   The lower section of the proposed trail entirely follows existing cow and avoids the motorized dirt roads.  The top section of the proposed trail starts one ridge over from Tombstone Ridge and is entirely off of private property.

If approved, this trail could be entirely built and maintained by volunteers.  A purpose-built bike-only trail in Keyesville would be met with incredible enthusiasm from the mountain bike community across Southern California and would provide a highly desired type of recreational opportunity that has been lacking in the area.

Cyrus Canyon Trail

For many years, there has been an access trail ascending Cyrus Canyon, which has seen hiker and mountain biker use.   Since the land is now under BLM management, we propose that this trail be included in the Resource Management Plan as a non-motorized multi-use trail.   

The terrain and slope are excellent for mountain biking, and it has the potential to be one of the best winter rides in the region.  The BLM controls the only access into this beautiful area.  Local mountain bikers are eager to help with any trail maintenance or re-routes if the trail is approved by the BLM.  The trail has been blocked off by a fence at the dirt road.  We ask that an access through this fence is provided for non-motorized users.

Below is an image of the trail in 2 parts.  The lower Western section is a trail that follows an old road, while the upper section is a narrower use-trail that contours above the drainage.

Please consider adding this trail to the Resource Management Plan.  KRMBA would be willing to formally adopt the trail, and do anything necessary to allow mountain bike and hiking access.

Badrock Ridge Trail

Another trail of importance to mountain bikers is Badrock Ridge Trail, which descends from USFS land to Erskine Creek Road in Lake Isabella.  We strongly urge the BLM to keep this trail open and to include in it as a multi-use trail in the Resource Management Plan.  With its unsurpassed views and variety of terrain, It has the potential to be the most popular shuttled bike rides in the state of California.