Trail Users Committee to reap benefits of nonprofit partnership

FILE PHOTO: Michele Avila hikes on the Canyon View Loop trail at Towsley Canyon in Newhall on Saturday. Dan Watson/ The Signal

The Santa Clarita Valley Trail Users Committee (SCVTU) will be getting more resources and opportunities since partnering with the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) in April.

SCVTU Committee Chairman and Founder Ken Raleigh said the committee, which was founded in 2011, wants to shift their focus to helping the community.

“We wanted to transition to a community services organization,” Raleigh said. “We’re looking forward to serving the community and expanding trail opportunities.”

Originally, the committee was formed to advocate for safe and equal access to trails, which will still be a focus for the group. SCVTU started as a grassroots and watchdog group who sought to develop, repair and access trails, the chairman said.

Committee members, of which there are currently 10, have worked with CORBA in the past to collaborate, advocate and plan for trails in the Santa Clarita Valley and the northern Los Angeles area.

CORBA, a chapter of the International Mountain Bicyclists Association, works with land managers and off-road cyclists to preserve open space, maintain access to public land and create trail opportunities.

“This is a logical next step to strengthen the relationship between SCVTU and CORBA to increase our effectiveness as a bicycle advocacy organization,” CORBA President Steve Messer said in a statement.

By reorganizing themselves to be part of CORBA, a 30-year-old all-volunteer nonprofit, the trail users will reap the benefits of partnering with an established organization while eliminating fundraising and administrative burdens for the committee.

“There’s a lot of resources there in terms of expertise and experience,” Raleigh said.

The committee’s short term goal in partnering with CORBA is to gain access to trails that were closed after the Sand Fires and winter storms, Raleigh said.

Committee members have partnered with city, county, state and federal officials in the past, and hope to partner with the city in their effort to get more open space.

“Our vision is to work with local land managers to improve connectivity between trail areas and to increase and improve multi-use trail opportunities for public use in the Santa Clarita area,” Raleigh said in a statement.

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