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BBT MONTH DRAWS ATTENTION TO TRAIL.

Byline: Brett Pauly Daily News Staff Writer

The Backbone Trail is not so famous that well-heeled hikers prefer to identify the track only by its initials, a la PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), CDT (Continental Divide Trail) and AT (Appalachian Trail).

Heck, many Los Angeles-area residents don't even know the Backbone Trail exists, much less fans of its internationally recognized brethren to the east.

``We see people all the time who are amazed, who have absolutely no idea that there is a 70-mile trail in the Santa Monica Mountains,'' said Garrie Mar, director of development for the Mountains Conservancy Foundation, a nonprofit Malibu group that promotes preservation of the region's natural resources. ``It's a little premature to use initials. But that's a great goal, for it to be well known enough to be called by its initials.''

To that end, the foundation - with help from other outdoors advocates - hosts Backbone Trail Month each November to draw attention to the yet-to-be-completed footpath. Someday, perhaps, it will simply be called the BBT, as it is so known by those responsible for blazing its course.

Not lost in the monthlong celebration of hiking and trail-maintenance activities is the foundation's goal of raising $4.6 million in private funds and matching government efforts to purchase parcels of private property that will be used to create a six-mile connector between the trail's two segments.

Interested parties can buy a chunk of the trail by contributing $100 a foot to the Backbone Trail Completion Campaign. No breaks on larger purchases - $300 a yard.

Mar and the foundation's executive director, Ruth Kilday, developed Backbone Trail Month in the early 1990s to recognize recent construction of trail segments and new land acquisitions.

They realized early on the need for improved integrity on the Santa Monica Mountains' through-hike.

``Ruth and I used to get lost on the trail,'' Mar said. ``We worked in the area's parks for a living, so it was embarrassing. There was no continuity. That really brought it home to us that something really needed to be done.''

The Backbone Trail still requires plenty of work, but if all goes as planned, it will traverse the Santa Monica Mountains in one continuous string by the turn of the millennium . . . and will be better known as the BBT.

Following are Backbone Trail Month events:

Saturday, 8 a.m., trail maintenance on Saddle Creek Trail. Meet at Warner Ranch Park, corner of Owensmouth Avenue and Califa Street in Woodland Hills, to car pool. Information: Milt McAuley, (818) 347-6433.

Sunday, 8:30 a.m., 12-mile hike with 1,900 feet gain in elevation from Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades to Temescal Peak. Meet at park. Information: David and Suzanne Michels, (818) 995-8805.

Sunday, 8:30 a.m., 6- to 8-mile hike over Castro Crest Loop. Meet at Corral Canyon Trailhead off Corral Canyon Road in Malibu. Information: Bill and Marcia Harris: (310) 828-6670.

Nov. 8, 8 a.m., trail maintenance on Dead Horse Trail. Meet at Warner Ranch Park to car pool. Information: Casey Gonzales, (213) 222-4600.

Nov. 9, 8:30 a.m., hike 8-1/2 miles with a gain of 750 feet and a drop of 2,550 feet over Fossil Ridge, Saddle Peak and Piuma trails. Meet at Piuma Trailhead on Malibu Canyon Road in Malibu to car shuttle. Information: Ruth Armentrout, (818) 716-6918, or Ed Lozano, (213) 222-5755.

Nov. 9, 8:30 a.m., hike 7-1/2 miles, with 2,450-foot gain and 650-foot drop, from Tapia Park to Saddle Peak. Meet at intersection of Stunt and Saddle Peak roads in Calabasas to car shuttle. Information: Noel Bell, (310) 398-0774, or Russ Marshall, (714) 730-6005.

Nov. 9, 8:30 a.m., hike 11 miles, with 1,900-foot gain, from Will Rogers State Historic Park to Deadhorse Trailhead. Meet at Deadhorse Trailhead in Topanga State Park, off Entrada Road in Topanga, to car shuttle. Information: Ron and Mary Ann Webster, (310) 559-3128.

Nov. 9, 9:30 a.m., hike from Will Rogers State Historic Park into Temescal Canyon. Meet at Temescal Gateway Park, corner of Sunset Boulevard and Temescal Canyon Road in Pacific Palisades, to car pool. Information: Temescal Canyon Association, (310) 459-5931.

Nov. 16, 8:30 a.m., hike 18 miles, with 3,500-foot gain and drop, over Malibu Creek State Park loop and Upper Solstice-Castro Crest loop. Meet at Malibu Creek State Park off Malibu Canyon Road in Malibu. Information: David and Suzanne Michels, (818) 995-8805.

Nov. 16, 8:30 a.m., hike 6 miles from Tapia Park to Dark Canyon, returning via Piuma Ridge Trail. Meet at Tapia Park off Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas. Information: Jane Lewis, (818) 342-2894, or Milt McAuley, (818) 457-6433.

Nov. 23, 8:30 a.m., hike 6-1/2 miles, with 1,000-foot gain and drop, from Tapia Park to Century Lake loop. Meet at Tapia Park. Information: Ruth Armentrout, (818) 716-6918, or Sue Palmer, (818) 879-0960.

Nov. 29, 9:30 a.m., hike 6-mile loop over Mishe Mokwa and Backbone trails in Circle X Ranch. Meet at Backbone Trailhead, 1 mile east of Circle X Ranch ranger station, on Yerba Buena Road in Malibu. Information: National Park Service, (818) 597-9192, ext. 201.

Nov. 30, 8:30 a.m., hike 7 miles, with 1,300-foot gain and drop, including 3 miles of a new segment of Backbone Trail and bushwhacking 4 miles of steep animal trails, from Newton Canyon to Trancas Canyon. Meet at Upper Trancas Canyon on Encinal Canyon Road in Malibu for car shuttle; bring eye protection and gloves. Information: Milt McAuley, (818) 347-6433, or Bill Harris, (310) 828-6670.

Trail notes: For all activities, bring water, lunch and sturdy shoes; also tote along gloves and eye protection for trail maintenance. All hikes are moderate or more difficult. Reservations and car pooling are strongly recommended; call listed contacts for details.

Events are organized by the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council, Santa Monica Mountains Task Force, Sierra Club, Temescal Canyon Association, California State Parks and National Park Service.

For additional information on the Backbone Trail, call the Mountains Conservancy Foundation at (310) 589-2400. The Internet savvy can refer to the trail's website, ceres.ca.gov/smmc/mcf, which will be up and running by mid-November.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

Photo: (1--color) Longtime Backbone Trail advocates Milt McAuley of Canoga Park, front, and Bill Harris of Marina del Rey hike the footpath's newest segment, between Zuma and Trancas canyons.

(2--color) The Backbone Trail near Saddle Peak off Saddle Peak Road looks northeast in Hondo Canyon.

Terry Wood / Special to the Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1997 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 30, 1997
Words:1094
Previous Article:BACKBONE OF THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS.
Next Article:DESPITE ROUGH TERRAIN, BACKERS HAVE PUSHED ON.


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