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Live Oak Trail and Other Updates 8/25/2022

Live Oak Trail and Camp

At today’s Parks Commission Meeting we met the new Acting Supervisor at Cachuma Lake, Mr. Jeff Bosworth. Mr. Bosworth is a life-long horseman and has been a member of the Backcountry Horsemen (sigh of relief!!!). We are fortunate to have him as the Supervisor at Cachuma and he is making sure the logs and stumps at the Live Oak Trailhead parking lot are removed for the most part, keeping a few to keep cars from parking under the trees. He encouraged us to stay in touch with him as he knows the history and current situation at the Trail.

We encouraged the Commissioners to support creating a community working group to prepare a Master Plan for the Live Oak Camp and Trail that will define equestrian use at the Trail and Camp. If we don’t know the direction and uses the Parks Division (the County) is proposing for Live Oak Camp, we really can’t define what needs funding and how (or if) equestrians can become an effective partner in improving and maintaining the Camp and Trail.


To that end, we presented options to generate revenue at the Live Oak Camp and Trail. First to restore the Horse Camp at Live Oak Camp (using Joshua Tree National Park Black Rock Camp as an example) and second for the County to partner with a local equestrian non-profit to fund larger projects at the trail and camp including tree trimming to keep the road clear, resurfacing the road, upgrading the pavilion and kitchen at Live Oak Camp via volunteer efforts (similar to the Coast Mounted Assistance does for Montana de Oro). We also suggested more advertising for equestrian riding at Live Oak in the hopes to draw the many local, State and National trail organizations and individuals to the Camp and Trail.

At future Parks Commission meetings we will use our precious three-minutes during Public Comment to educate the Commissioners on equestrian trail riding (recreation popularity, safety, etc.), activities and sports that would be potential revenue generators for the Live Oak Camp and Trail.


Also reported was that the trail counter is producing anomalies, such as HUGE numbers of equestrians (over a 1000) on an afternoon in June and another in July. Large numbers of hikers in the afternoon hours were also reported. How to account for these in the data was discussed. The County staff believe this is because of a change in the 3G Vs 5G software the vendor uses and they are upgrading the equipment.


AB 1909 –Bicycle Omnibus Bill

A few weeks back we mounted a State-wide, get-the-word out about AB 1909, the Bicycle Omnibus Bill that proposed to allow e-bikes, including Class 3 E-Bikes (Capable of speeds of almost 30 miles per hour) on all bike paths and trails, but also all equestrian, hiking and recreational trails. This would have been a disaster for equestrians, hikers and trail runners and other pedestrians.


But there is some good news... the Bill was passed in the Assembly with the protections in place that prohibit motorized bicycles and/or e-bike from any trail unless the public agency having jurisdiction over the path or trail permits, by ordinance, that operation. Ordinance amendments often require public notice and public participation, so it is incumbent on all of us equestrians to keep an eye on any changes to our local County/City Codes and our State Parks.


Additionally, language that allows State Parks to prohibit electric bicycles on bicycle paths and trails was successfully added to the Bill.


See the complete Bill and history at: https://legiscan.com/CA/bill/AB1909/2021


The Bill Text Reads as of 8/23/2022:


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:


SECTION 1.

Section 21207.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

21207.5.

(a) Notwithstanding Sections 21207 and 23127 of this code, or any other law, a motorized bicycle shall not be operated on a bicycle path or trail, bikeway, bicycle lane established pursuant to Section 21207, equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail, unless it is within or adjacent to a roadway or unless the local authority or the governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction over the path or trail permits, by ordinance, that operation.


(b) The local authority or governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction over an equestrian trail, or hiking or recreational trail, may prohibit, by ordinance, the operation of an electric bicycle or any class of electric bicycle on that trail.


(c) The Department of Parks and Recreation may prohibit the operation of an electric bicycle or any class of electric bicycle on any bicycle path or trail within the department’s jurisdiction.


More to come on our trails and trail issues as we move into Fall. Thank you to all of you who continue to support the effort to SAVE Live Oak Trail through your letters, meeting attendance and just spreading the word. It means so much and is so effective to keep our equestrian trails safe.

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