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Riders halted by sign

Local cyclists are irked by change that prevents them from accessing Placerita Canyon trail

Posted: August 20, 2011 7:30 a.m.
Updated: August 20, 2011 7:30 a.m.
 

Mountain bikers are at least temporarily banned from a popular Placerita Canyon Nature Center trail, even though they’ve been riding there for more than a decade.

A wrongly posted trail sign on Canyon Trail — which until recently welcomed horseback riders, hikers and bicyclists — now depicts only hikers and equestrians as acceptable users.

Bikers fired back with a petition asking for park management to meet with them in an effort to “restore bicycle access to the Canyon Trail.”

On Friday afternoon, park officials met with about two dozen unhappy bikers for the first time.

“You’re picking winners and losers,” said cycling advocate Kevin Korenthal. “You have taken sides, and you have cut out mountain bikers based on one complaint from a hiker.”

Russell M. Kimura, center’s regional park superintendent, told the group: “This trail was never a multi-use trail. We made a mistake.”

He explained that staff did, in fact, respond to a complaint made by a hiker claiming he was almost hit by a cyclist on the trail.

“The hiker said, ‘Do you know bikes are not allowed on this trail?’ We told him, “Yes,” and then he said, ‘Well, you better check the sign posted on the trail.’

“We realized then that the sign was a mistake,” Kimura said.

Kimel Conway, spokesman for Los Angeles County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said county policy never intended the trail for multipurpose use.

It was intended just for use by hikers and those on horseback, he said.

The bikers sat in a circle inside the Nature Center with stuffed predatory birds — golden eagle, great horned owl — hanging over their heads.

Conway assured bikers that policies can be changed and encouraged them to appoint leaders and present their arguments in writing.

“Some of the ideas that have come here are worth exploring. I suggest we should meet with the (parks) director about possibly changing policy,” Conway said.

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