The Tale of the Trail Machine

July 28th, 2012

CEA’s president Ernie Smith and treasurer Cindy McKievick met with CRSPIA board members and State Park representative Nedra Martinez during their July 2012 monthly meeting regarding the Sweco trail machine. Areas which were discussed included:
• Clarification on the purchase history of the Sweco trail machine
• It’s use at other State park location(s) other then Cuyamaca State Park
• It’s current lack of use within Cuyamaca State Park - SP employees and/or volunteers
• CRSPIA’s stand on large capital expenditures for State Park equipment.
After the Cedar fire of 2003, local and regional users of Cuyamaca State Park wanted to help restore public use trails as soon as possible, and to provide a means to maintain the use of those trails in the future. A private group of individuals spear headed by Bernie Martin and others raised over $50K to purchase a Sweco trail machine, essentially a custom mini-bulldozer designed for building trails. After the money was raised, CRSPIA initiated the purchase of a new Sweco and also obtained factory training for it’s volunteer operators in it’s safe usage. During this evolution, a State Park employee discovered an underused Sweco machine at another park. A negotiation occurred involving a swap that included CRSPIA purchasing another piece of equipment (not the original Sweco) for that other State park use, thus allowing Cuyamaca to “purchase” the used Sweco machine.

• To dispel a popular rumor, during the transfer of the Sweco machine to Cuyamaca State Park, the machine never left possession of the state.
• The trail machine was safely operated by trained volunteers to reroute the California Riding and Hiking, parts of the East Side trail and the initial work on the Cold Spring reroute with a 100% safety record.

CRSPIA has no control over the trail machine nor it’s use or lack there of. During the board meeting, it was noted that a donor was willing to donate a truck for volunteer use, CRSPIA declined the offer for the same reasons regarding the trail machine. Once in State park hands, the truck is now subject to the whims of the greater California State Park system.

No anger should be directed toward CRSPIA, they were as naive as the rest of us that donated money for this machine. California State Parks dictates how, when and with what type of equipment is to be used and by whom. CEA board members will continue to try to engage California State Park representatives in a dialog to facilitate the use of the trail machine to its full potential and to preserve the trails for all to use, safely.

Cuyamaca Equestrian Association’s October 2011 update

October 21st, 2011

Cuyamaca Equestrian Association’s October 2011 update:
General meeting was held on October 6th 2011
Agenda Highlights:

California State AB 42 was signed into law on October 4ht 2011. This new law sponsored by California State Parks Foundation and Assembly member Jared Huffman (D-Marin) is to allow nonprofit organizations to help take a direct role in helping prevent park closures. The bill allows Department of Parks and Recreations to enter into operating agreements for the improvement, restoration, care, maintenance, administration, or operation of a unit or units of the State park system with qualified nonprofit organizations. The bill provides another tool to maintain the legacy of our State park system and keep our parks open for all Californians. The passage of AB 42 will now allow for creative solutions to the financial challenges currently facing state parks.

GreenValley Falls Equestrian area: State Park Supervisor Nedra Martinez reported as of October 2nd 2011 Green Valley Falls, all parts of it - camping and day use area, have been closed by State Park. Also included in this closing is Granite Springs Campground. These locations will stay closed until (tentative) July 1st 2012. There is one exception and that is park employee John Sproule will stay on until the end of November 2011 when Los Vaqueros horse camping facility will close. All seasonal employees are being laid off as of Sunday, October 2 2011. Included in her report is that Palomar Family Campground and the Group Camp will close on the July 2 2011. It will stay closed as Palomar is slated for full closure as of July 1, 2012. Anyone who had reservations, for either of these facilities, will be given a refund. Note that each cancelled reservation costs the state $15.50.

CEA response to these closures: A letter written request was sent out by our president, Ernie Smith to other equestrian organization to write to various governmental agencies regarding the closing and financial issues currently occurring with the State parks, specifically Cuyamaca. CEA’s board also is in contact with Cuyamaca representatives to try and address these issues. A copy of the letter is posted below -

Dear Fellow Equestrians,

I have held off from forwarding this email as things have been in flux
to say the least. As most of you already know Green Valley Falls is
closing October 2nd 2001, earlier than planned. This is a huge
disappointment for all equestrians. For a state park that is not
closing, Cuyamaca is being closed for equestrian camping half of the
year, this again is discouraging. November is a soft month for this campground, last year it brought in 420 campers,76 horse campers, 199 paid day use visitors between Nov 1st and November 30th at Green Valley Falls Campground. Do the math, it is more than enough to cover the $4k for the three seasonal employees for one month, estimated
profit for this soft month could be anywhere from $15K to 25K. Cuyamaca
Rancho State Park is now wanting to close this campground until July,
losing two highly profitable months out of the early summer season, how
much money is state parks going to lose? Are the rest of our “open” parks being run this way? I was born and raised in California, camped in inexpensive nearby state parks as a child. This was what my single income, stay at home mom family could afford. This affordable family recreation activity has been taken away from the citizens of
California. Standby for further details and plan of action as this is
not acceptable to the citizens of California.

CEA is currently investigating the State parks budget for this area and questioning how these issues can be better financially resolved.
1). With the lack of loss of low cost seasonal employees, CRSP is now manning the kiosks with park rangers. The cost of a seasonal employee is less than $1500 per month. Because the state halted funding of seasonal employees, Green Valley campground is now closed, this campground generated approximately $30K during the month of November last year.
2). Request State park budget from Sacramento via the FOI act. Use this information and camping attendance numbers to support the opening of Green valley sooner then July 2012.
3). Current financial information generated:
Total $37M dollars being cut from the park budget
$22M in two stages, $11 million x 2
$5M OHV Cut
$5M OHV Grants
$5M lost revenue from closed parks
2006-2007 State parks were funded at $175 million
2012-2013 they will be funded at $99 million
4). Organize communication with CRSPIA on alternative ideas for park staffing
5). Media awareness of these issues

Update Los Caballos:
Later this month (October 2011) California State Parks, using “grant” funding, will be restoring Los Caballos to it’s native state. The long closed Los Caballos trail has been rerouted and reopened during this process. Although I welcome the reopening of this important connector trail, I will miss my old friend as I know many of my fellow equestrians will. The “clean up” at Los cab is on schedule. should be starting this month (October). Corral parts are going to be salvaged.

Trail Dedication: CEA reported on the death of one of San Diego’s local legends, Jerry Schad, writer of San Diego A Foot an A field. Currently Cuyamaca state park and CRSPIA are discussing a proposal to rename Blue Ribbon trail in his honor, other local agencies are also looking to rename other familiar hiking trails in his honor. A tribute to his contributions to all of those who have enjoyed and used his wealth of hiking trails in and around San Diego.

Mott Award : CEA’s president Ernie Smith and his wife Robin Smith, along with Cuyamaca park staff, were awarded the Mott Award for innovation in California State Parks,. The ceremony was held up in Riverside, and this award was in recognition to CEA and all equestrian groups, organizations how for the past 7 year contributed to the effort to get equestrian camping back in Cuyamaca park. Without CEA’s continuous efforts of keeping the pressure on CSP, there would be no campground. The lawsuit, our pressure on Sacramento, pressure on SHIPO regarding Ah Ha Cuyamaca, all contributed to the “willingness” of CSP to do Green Valley Falls. CEA is thankful for all how contributed to this victory.

Update for November 2010 Board Elections

November 15th, 2010

Every interested equestrian is welcome to attend CEA General Meetings.

Upcoming CEA meetings: April 7, 2011 and October 6, 2011 at Coco’s restaurant,1324 E. Main Street, El Cajon (near Main and 2nd/Jamacha). The meetings start at 7 p.m. Come at 6:30 and have dinner beforehand and visit.

Questions or directions: Linda Eskin 619 368-4333 (cell) or linda@lindaeskin.com .

CEA Board elections:
· Linda Eskin
· Nola Michel
· Jo Frankland
· Charlene Phelps

join with continuing members of the CEA Board, Ernie Smith, Bernie Martin and Cindy McKievick (board members serve for 2 year terms). In January the board will select board positions.

Park News:

· Green Valley Horse Camp is open for reservations through November. www.ReserveAmerica.com 800-444-7275. Check out photos and descriptions of each site at www.CuyamacaEquestrian.org CEA is working with the park to increase and improve trail access from the camp and plans to develop a map showing trail connections from the camp. CEA has purchased and donated two 100-gallon stock tanks with floats, 2 wheelbarrows, and ramps for the manure trailer. Thanks to all who have contributed to the Green Valley Horse Camp Fund.

· Hual Cu Cuish Equestrian Staging Area (located just off Milk Ranch Rd, by Lake Cuyamaca): The turnaround area is now flat and inviting for larger vehicles. Enjoy riding in the north end of the park.

· Adopt a work party – Do you enjoy the trails of Cuyamaca? They desperately need your help. Take one day out of 365 to give to the park. Encourage your club membership to volunteer for a
workparty date. Information on the CEA website www.cuyamacaequestrian.org. Trail Maintenance Unit really could use some help! This time of year is perfect for working on the trails.

· Trail conditions – Great trail riding conditions except for falling trees during windy weather. Be prepared to backtrack if you can’t pass a fallen tree. Reminder to use fire roads after rains to give the trails a chance to firm up so as to prevent trail damage. Enjoy your park!

How to Support CEA · Join CEA, as an individual or club by going to “Join CEA” at www.cuyamacaequestrian.org

· Come to our meetings
· Donate tax deductible funds to further CEA’s work in the park.
Mail checks to: CEA, PO Box 79, Descanso, CA 91916.

Your donations are much appreciated in the support of equestrian interests in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. A separate Green Valley Horse Camp Fund has been established to support needs in the equestrian campground.

Green Valley Falls Equestrian Campground

September 10th, 2010

CEA has prepared a PowerPoint presentation and in pdf format describing the new equestrian campground located at Green Valley Falls. In this document we have included maps, pictures of each site and recommended rig size.

Green Valley Falls Equestrian Campground Map

September 6th, 2010

Green Valley Falls Equestrian Campground Map

Dismissal of CEA lawsuit and projected opening of Green Valley Equestrian Camp.

August 18th, 2010

Starting in September, individuals and families will once again be able to camp with their horses, mules and ponies in the Cuyamaca mountains east of San Diego. For over 50 years, horse enthusiasts enjoyed shady campsites and quiet trails at the Los Caballos Family Horse Camp in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. But after the Cedar Fire in 2003 cultural resource protection issues shut down the camp. Now, with the anticipated opening of converted facilities at the Green Valley
campground, equestrians will have a place to camp in the park.

In 2003 the Cedar Fire devastated much of San Diego County in southern California. Many public facilities were closed due to damage or for resource protection. In the 7 years since the fire, the Cuyamaca Equestrian Association (CEA) has attempted to work with California State Parks to reopen the Los Caballos Family Horse Camp in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Failing that, the hope was to establish a new family camping experience comparable to Los Caballos.

In 2008, State Parks announced it was going to “clean up” Los Caballos Horse Camp, which had been left relatively undamaged by the fire. CEA discovered that the result of this “clean up” project would have been the complete dismantling of the equestrian camp.

CEA, after requesting and receiving input from the membership, along with donations, filed a lawsuit on October 30, 2008 in order to stop the State Park’s proposed “cleanup” project. Prevailing in the
lawsuit would have left Los Caballos in its current condition, but would not have allowed for the reopening of the camp for equestrian use CEA has kept the lawsuit open while negotiating in good faith with State Parks and then monitoring the process for the conversion of Green Valley
Falls Sweetwater Loop into a family equestrian camping area.

In July, 2010, CEA’s attorney, Cory Briggs, received the following from State Parks attorney, Carol A. Squire, “The conversion project for the new horse camp in Green Valley will be completed by the end of
next month, August 2010.” Accordingly CEA has filed for dismissal of the litigation.

CEA member groups and fellow equestrians are looking forward to the anticipated September 3rd opening of the Green Valley equestrian loop. Individuals, families and friends will once again enjoy camping and riding in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Development of a replacement camp for Los Caballos in the north end of the park remains to be accomplished.

Groups and individuals have donated generously to support the legal efforts by CEA. After paying all attorney fees and court costs, $1,500 remains in the CEA treasury. In accordance with CEA’s commitment to refund the balance of funds donated specifically for legal costs, we have been asking these donors to allow CEA to transfer the donor’s refund into a designated Green Valley Falls Equestrian Camp fund. A letter to those donors will be mailed shortly.

Map of Equestrian Facilities

August 18th, 2010


View Rancho Cuyamaca Equestrian Facilities in a larger map

Larger Map

Green Valley Falls family equestrian campground

August 18th, 2010

The final push to complete the new family equestrian campground at Green Valley Falls is underway! Almost all of the corrals are in place, sites have been realigned, new water lines are being dug, picnic tables and fire rings are being replaced or repaired. We’ll have a couple of pull throughs, but there will be a lot of back in sites. So don’t be afraid to ask for help backing in!

Update for March 2010

March 2nd, 2010

Every interested equestrian is welcome to attend CEA General Meetings.
Meeting day and location: CEA board has decided, since most member groups do not send representatives to CEA General Meetings and the distance of most members to attend meetings and the ease of communicating through email, that CEA General Meetings will be held biannually, the first Thursday of April and October. The next meeting will be April 1 and then October 7 at Coco’s restaurant,1324 E. Main Street, El Cajon (near Main and 2nd/Jamacha). The meetings start at 7 p.m. Come at 6:30 and have dinner beforehand and visit.
Questions or directions: Linda Eskin 619 368-4333 (cell) or linda@lindaeskin.com.

CEA is continuing to negotiate a settlement with respect to preserving (not reopening) Los Caballos. CEA remains committed to the family camping experience in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

Draft Environmental Impact Report on Cuyamaca Equestrian Facilities is out. For supplemental information (layouts and maps) see figures scroll down to San Diego then to Cuyamaca.

The draft EIR is being circulated for public review and comment for a period of 45 days, beginning February 17, 2010. Questions regarding the project should be directed to:

Christine Beck, Environmental Coordinator
California Department of Parks and Recreation
Southern Service Center
8885 Rio San Diego Drive, Suite 270
San Diego, CA 92108
enviro@parks.ca.gov
(619) 220-5300
(619) 220-5400 (fax)

Your views and comments on this project are welcomed and must be in writing. Comments may be submitted by mail, fax, in person, or e-mail. All comments should be submitted no later than April 2, 2010 to the address listed above with a contact name and mailing address for the public record.

Park News:
• Adopt a work party – Do you enjoy the trails of Cuyamaca? They desperately need your help. Take one day out of 365 to give to the park. Encourage your club membership to volunteer for a workparty date. Information on the CEA website www.cuyamacaequestrian.org Disneyland is offering a free day pass for a day of volunteering in the park. www.disneyparks.com Click on “Give a Day”, then “Start Now”. Search for area code 91916 after January 20 – Cuyamaca trail work should show up. Follow directions. Trail Maintenance Unit really could use some help! This time of year is perfect for working on the trails.
• Trail conditions – Great trail riding conditions except for fallen trees after winds. Be prepared to backtrack if you can’t pass the obstacle. Remember to use fire roads after rains to give the trails a chance to firm up so as to prevent trail damage. Enjoy your park!

Announcements
• Note: CEA meeting dates changed to April 1 and October 7. Updates will come out monthly. Please contact Ernie Smith ernestoz@yahoo.com with any questions/input regarding CEA or your club’s activities. Copy to Peggy Martin peggy150@gmail.com so that information may be included in monthly updates.
• Join your local riding groups and state-wide ones such as Backcountry Horseman and California State Horsemen’s Association. Your dues are important for the good work of these organizations promoting equestrian access and activities.
• Vallecito Days – March 5-7, Contact Terry Jorgensen tlh9749@yahoo.com 760-789-5185
• Warner Springs FFA Benefit Trail Ride – April 10 & 11, Contact Sherri Freeman freemans@sdcoe.k12.ca.us 760-782-3517 x 50.
• Camping and riding opportunities:
o Los Coyotes Horse Camp, site of the CEA Gathering in 2007, is open for horse camping and riding. 760-782-0711
o Vulcan Mountain preserve on Farmer Road in Julian is open to riding.
o Anza Borrego area: * Vern Whittaker Camp. http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/Anza_Borrego_Desert_Sp/r/campsiteDetails.do?contractCode=CA&siteId=533&parkId=120006 800-444-7275 * Primitive camping in Blair Valley.
* Stagecoach camp in Shelter Valley http://www.stagecoachtrails.com 760-765-3765 * Butterfield Resort. www.ButterfieldResort.com 760-765-1463
o Santa Ysabel Casino is holding periodic guided rides off Hwy 79. 760-787-2201

Opportunity to donate to CEA when you shop online

GoodSearch.com and GoodShop.com support non-profit organizations such as CEA by counting the number of searches (powered by Yahoo) you make or purchases completed through the GoodShop.com portal. There are two ways you can participate.

• Install a toolbar using the following link. http://www.goodsearch.com/toolbar/cuyamaca-equestrian-association Both sites are contained in the GoodSearch toolbar. Make sure the Cuyamaca Equestrian Association is in the “I support:” text field after the toolbar is installed. One cool thing about the toolbar is that when you visit a sponsoring site to purchase something online, the donation icon in the toolbar will light up and/or the coupon icon as well. Great coupons! Just a reminder, if you are shopping online you need to go through GoodShop.com or one of the other buttons on the GoodSearch tool bar to obtain the donation.
• Bookmark GoodSearch.com and GoodShop.com.as favorites and use them when making online purchases. Enter Cuyamaca Equestrian Association in “Who do you GoodSearch for?”, then enter your search. Next time you search CEA will already be listed. For shopping you are asked to enter the store name, so I just tried Amazon which gives 1.5% donation!

Questions? Email Ernie Smith at ernestoz@yahoo.com. Happy Holiday shopping!

How to Support CEA
• Join CEA, as an individual or club by going to “Join CEA” at www.cuyamacaequestrian.org
• Come to our meetings
• Donate tax deductible funds to further CEA’s work. Mail checks to: CEA, PO Box 79, Descanso, CA 91916.
Your donations are much appreciated in the support of equestrian interests in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
Any donation of $500 or more toward the costs of the lawsuit qualifies for a refund (proportional to expenses incurred) if the lawsuit settles or we prevail in court with fees paid by State Parks. Thanks to all who have supported this legal action.

Update for January 2010

January 14th, 2010

Cuyamaca Equestrian Association

Every interested equestrian is welcome to attend CEA General Meetings.
Meeting day and location: CEA meetings are the first Thursday each month at Coco’s restaurant,1324 E. Main Street, El Cajon (near Main and 2nd/Jamacha). The meetings start at 7 p.m. Come at 6:30 and have dinner beforehand and visit.
The next meeting will be February 4, 2010.
Questions or directions: Linda Eskin 619 368-4333 (cell) or linda@lindaeskin.com.

CEA is continuing to negotiate a settlement with respect to Los Caballos and prepared to go to court. CEA remains committed to the family camping experience in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The Draft EIR on the equestrian projects is expected soon which is the next step in the CEQA process. CEA will send out information as it becomes available. Thanks to all equestrians who wrote in support of equestrian facilities in the park.

Park News:
• Adopt a work party – Do you enjoy the trails of Cuyamaca? They desperately need your help. Take one day out of 365 to give to the park. Encourage your club membership to volunteer for a workparty date. Information on the CEA website www.cuyamacaequestrian.org Disneyland is offering a free day pass for a day of volunteering in the park. www.disneyparks.com Click on “Give a Day”, then “Start Now”. Search for area code 91916 after January 20 – Cuyamaca trail work should show up. Follow directions. Trail Maintenance Unit really could use some help! This time of year is perfect for working on the trails.
• Trail conditions – Great trail riding conditions except for fallen trees after winds. Be prepared to backtrack if you can’t pass the obstacle. Remember to use fire roads after rains to give the trails a chance to firm up so as to prevent trail damage. Enjoy your park!

Announcements
• Join your local riding groups and state-wide ones such as Backcountry Horseman and California State Horsemen’s Association. Your dues are important for the good work of these organizations promoting equestrian access and activities.
• Vallecito Days – March 5-7, Contact Terry Jorgensen tlh9749@yahoo.com 760-789-5185
• Warner Springs FFA Benefit Trail Ride – April 10 & 11, Contact Sherri Freeman freemans@sdcoe.k12.ca.us 760-782-3517 x 50.
• Camping and riding opportunities:
o Los Coyotes Horse Camp, site of the CEA Gathering in 2007, is open for horse camping and riding. 760-782-0711
o Vulcan Mountain preserve on Farmer Road in Julian is open to riding.
o Anza Borrego area: * Vern Whittaker Camp. 800-444-7275 * Primitive camping in Blair Valley.
* Stagecoach camp in Shelter Valley 760-765-3765 * Butterfield Resort. www.ButterfieldResort.com 760-765-1463
o Santa Ysabel Casino is holding periodic guided rides off Hwy 79. 760-787-2201

Opportunity to donate to CEA when you shop online

GoodSearch.com and GoodShop.com support non-profit organizations such as CEA by counting the number of searches (powered by Yahoo) you make or purchases completed through the GoodShop.com portal. There are two ways you can participate.

• Install a toolbar using the following link. Both sites are contained in the GoodSearch toolbar. Make sure the Cuyamaca Equestrian Association is in the “I support:” text field after the toolbar is installed. One cool thing about the toolbar is that when you visit a sponsoring site to purchase something online, the donation icon in the toolbar will light up and/or the coupon icon as well. Great coupons! Just a reminder, if you are shopping online you need to go through GoodShop.com or one of the other buttons on the GoodSearch tool bar to obtain the donation.
• Bookmark GoodSearch.com and GoodShop.com.as favorites and use them when making online purchases. Enter Cuyamaca Equestrian Association in “Who do you GoodSearch for?”, then enter your search. Next time you search CEA will already be listed. For shopping you are asked to enter the store name, so I just tried Amazon which gives 1.5% donation!

With one person using this tool, CEA raised $10 over a three month trial period; imagine if the entire horse community used this tool to further equestrian causes.

Questions? Email Ernie Smith at ernestoz@yahoo.com. Happy Holiday shopping!

How to Support CEA
• Join CEA, as an individual or club by going to “Join CEA” at www.cuyamacaequestrian.org
• Come to our meetings
• Donate tax deductible funds to further CEA’s work. Mail checks to: CEA, PO Box 79, Descanso, CA 91916.
Your donations are much appreciated in the support of equestrian interests in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
Any donation of $500 or more toward the costs of the lawsuit qualifies for a refund (proportional to expenses incurred) if the lawsuit settles or we prevail in court with fees paid by State Parks. Thanks to all who have supported this legal action.