11/26/07 Warrior’s Society News

In this issue:

1. Post Fire – the after effects

2. The defacing of our 2008 Warrior’s Society Event Sign

3. Endurance Training and Nutrition Seminar this Tuesday, 11/27

4. Next “Newbie” ride this Sunday, December 2nd

5. Trail work event on Saturday, December 8th

6. Let’s let the Great Park Design Team know we want a VELODROME in Orange County!!!!!!!!


Although many gave a sigh of relief after these devastating fires we will not be out of woods in regard to the after effects for five years, and it is not fire that is the threat…

The fire destroyed thousands of acres in the Modjeska, Harding, Williams and Silverado Canyon Watersheds. The soil has been stripped of vegetation and made unstable by the tremendous heat, which evaporated any moisture in the soil and glazed/semi-seal the soil with the oils of the burnt chaparral; in effect creating a water barrier. Rain events as small as 1/4 inch an hour will cause severe problems; heavier rains could create hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of tons of debris flows into the watersheds and onto the canyon residents in the burn areas.

As stated in last Thursday’s edition of the Orange County Register “All areas near the 28,464-acre fire are at risk, but risk is the greatest in Modjeska, Williams and the upper reaches of Silverado Canyon, according to the Burned Area Emergency Response report for the blaze.”

Unfortunately there is not much the county or Forest Service can do to protect property affected by the fires and the subsequent debris flows. Aside from MAJOR debris dams set in deep footings and sheet piles being built on private property or on Forest service land they will be at the mercy of nature. Walls of sandbags and rows of hay bales will only become part of the debris flows in a major downpour.

The cost and time needed for such construction would be tremendous, not counting the time needed to do NEPA and other environmental studies for the permitting process. You must understand that many of the homes have had acres and acres of steep slope hundreds of feet high behind their houses burnt and as previously mentioned, the soil is severally destabilized.

Many people who live on the opposite side of the canyon may feel somewhat safe – but the debris flows down the creek and the possibility of “damming” in narrow parts of the creek – or under bridge crossings from the debris flows – and the resulting flooding of creek side property or damage to Silverado Canyon Road by the creek jumping its bank due to blockages – is something many have not considered.

The residents of lower Modjeska should remember that the Harding Canyon watershed up to the Main Divide, thousands of acres, has had the vegetation destroyed by fire. This major watershed eventually drains into a narrow portion of Harding Canyon before entering an off-shoot drainage in lower Modjeska Canyon that begins at the fire station. This narrow section actually had a dam built in it in the early part of this century to capture water but it has silted in to the top of this dam. If debris block this narrow section causing a damming effect – and this water lets loose – It could cause a lot of destruction. The public agencies responsible for addressing this possibility are cooperatively involved in finding a solution to it.

I’ve hiked to the upper reaches of this canyon to about 1/4 a mile from the Main Divide after an El Nino rain event, places very few have been. The damage from just the boulders that were undermined from above the creek and dropped into the creek was amazing. One huge boulder was straddling a side drainage entering the canyon.

The agencies involved in post-fire assessments considered dredging behind the dam (the dam is owned by the IRWD) in an area owned by the county, to remove the built up sediment/debris accumulated since the dam was built in
1919 – thus allowing it to act as a debris barrier. But the age of the dam, and the fact that it was constructed almost 100 years ago (under construction standards that in no way would be accepted today), ruled out this option.

The sediment behind the dam (by the friction resulting from its mass and compaction against the bottom of/and the canyon walls) built up and compacted by rain over the almost 100 years relieves much of the pressure placed on the dam. By dredging behind it you would direct intense debris flows and the energy behind these flows directly to the dam unimpeded or slowed down by the loss of surface area and friction built up by the sediment deposited behind the dam.

The truth of the matter is even if the dam was never built the problem would still exist, if not worsened, by the fact that the canyon would be even narrower without the dam to artificially raise the elevation of the canyon creating a grade stabilizer and a larger water flow and energy dispersal area behind it; the dam’s existence probably assisted in the development of this offshoot of Modjeska canyon.

Though we need the rain – the continuation of the drought may be a blessing in disguise for the residents severally affected by the fires.

I am constantly amused by the Disney-ficaton of nature where the big male bear finds the orphan bear and decides to protect it. In nature the blunt truth is the big male bear would eat the cub. I sometimes find this same “emotional” viewpoint/sentiment in those that profess a love of nature.

Nature is not kind; it shows no mercy based on emotion. She has destroyed environments and habitats over eons, neither unimpeded nor aided by the actions of man – and truth be told in the case of the dinosaurs, before man ever existed.

Nature will dictate the fate of the canyon residents – there is very little the County, State or Federal Government can do to prevent her will – and the only rule she lives by:

“Only the strong survive.”

It is not what people want to hear. My advice to the residents affected by the burn areas is to leave their houses during rain events for the safety of their families and to store valuables in a safe location.

There is no “magic” solution to the wrath of Nature for the residents of the canyons – but only to offer our help – and to pray for their safety.


As some of you know, we have a fairly large sign announcing our 2008 Events at the intersection of Silverado Canyon Road and Santiago Canyon Road.
Unfortunately this sign was vandalized with a big red paint stating that “events are canceled.” Rather than repair the sign (and fight an on-going battle to keep it clean with those defacing it) we have notified Peltzer Pines to put a sign over it directing people to their Christmas tree farm off of Black Star Canyon Road. They may not get the chance to as those who defaced the sign might resort to removing it altogether once they find out about this email.

A small minority of residents of Silverado are upset that the Forest Service has permitted our events to go on despite the closures, yet they are not allowed to access the forest for 1 year. The course of the Pow Wow is not in the areas affected by the fires; there will be no impact or degradation of the burned areas. But this is not what is bothering them.

There are even a few that live outside the canyon that have criticized the Warrior’s Society for continuing with our events. I also find their motivation to criticize the Warrior’s Society more self-serving than “altruistic” in purpose.

As we stated in last week’s news, the Forest Service’s main concern is that the public not access these areas without supervision, (especially the Harding Trail because the fire severely destabilized the slopes), for their own safety and to protect the burned areas from illegal access. There were many fire breaks done as defensive shields in case fire fighters were trapped – and there is a real concern that unauthorized use of these temporary fire breaks, mainly by heavy motor vehicles such as motorcycles and automobiles, will delay or stop the rehabilitation efforts.

It is unfortunate that due to the 5-10 percent of the population that is irresponsible and does not follow the rules – the public at large has to pay the price of no access for 1 year.

One resident of Silverado who complained directly to our event director about us being able to continue with our events was the same person who last year during the Pow Wow – lifted his motorcycle over the gate at Maple Springs along with another motorcyclist – despite the road being closed to motor vehicles (except those supporting the event) – and gloated about his actions to our support staff.

I tried to stop him when I first saw him ride past me on Maple Springs Road and yelled to him that he was not supposed to be on the road – but he just glared at me. He knew that it was the policy of the Forest Service to close the gate to motor vehicles, not to hikers or mountain bikers, after rains for safety reasons (our event insurance policy protects the Forest Service from lawsuits). He is part of that 5-10 percent of the population that breaks the rules and ruins it for the rest of us.

Apparently he and his fellow poacher felt that, unlike the “Flatlanders” that live outside Silverado; they and their motorcycles are above the law. This resident is aware that the majority of fire fighters who fought to protect their property were “Flatlanders” and that our event director Sherry Panttaja, also a “Flatlander,” was a volunteer evacuating horses from Silverado Canyon during the fire and placing them on her property until the fires were out and they could be returned safely to the canyon.

It is not all the Silverado Canyon residents that have this attitude or resentment and jealousy – and I don’t want to paint them so; as a matter of fact, one of them called me personally to let me know that our event sign had been vandalized. This person knows the amount of work we do to maintain the trails in the Cleveland National Forest. The signs put up on the Maples Spring gate by the Forest service announcing the closure have also been vandalized / removed.

Do the person(s) who defaced our 2008 Event sign realize that the events support good causes?

The Pow Wow supports our trail maintenance activities in the Cleveland National Forest as well as the SOARA Ham Radio Club, which provides assistance at community events and will provide emergency communications during natural disasters. SOARA will be given our new hi-tech digital communications equipment when not in use for our events. SOARA and the Warrior’s Society will be providing volunteers and our event trailer set up with the Communications equipment and first aid/trauma kits for the upcoming “Rwanda Ride” that will be raising funds to provide bicycles for the impoverished citizens of Rwanda.

“The Traverse” will be a fundraiser to provide scholarships for the children of our vets wounded or killed in action.

And the Toad Festival will be a fundraiser to help children affected by Autism.

Is the resentment and jealousy of those opposed to us continuing with our events so great and overwhelming that they believe these petty feelings are more important than supporting the maintaining of our public trails (which keeps them clear and maintained for fire fighters to access during future fires), assisting other organizations with communications/first aid support such as those promoting the “Rwanda Ride,” providing scholarships for the children of our vets wounded or killed in action, and helping children affected by Autism?

Perhaps it would have been more honest to spray paint “Our feelings of resentment and jealousy are more important than:

A. Supporting the maintenance of our trails, providing communications equipment to be used to support community events or in a natural disaster and to support other community organizations.

B. Assisting the children of our vets wounded or killed in action.

C. Providing the resources for the parent’s of children afflicted by Autism.”

Unfortunately as it is now – our 2008 event sign is a testimony of the worst that humans have to offer – and not the best.

And if the 2008 event sign is further vandalized or removed altogether it will be further testimony of worst in human nature.

What a pitiful life they lead, a life driven by resentment and jealousy – and not by what is best for the greater good.

I find no pleasure dealing with confrontation, but I have found purpose. I do not let the petty feelings of resentment and jealously of others to distract me.

I have a Vision where mountain bikers no longer have to fight to protect their access, where our efforts can instead be directed to a greater goal of helping others outside the mountain bike community. This was supposed to be the year that this goal of contributing to the greater good happens, with our events supporting non-profits like those I mentioned.

We have gotten to the point where we can devote funds outside of the trail maintenance of (and advocacy to protect our access to) the multi-use trails of the Trabuco District of the Cleveland National Forest.

I don’t feel anger towards the individual(s) who defaced our sign; I feel pity that they are so caught up in their resentment and jealousy that they cannot see the bigger picture, a Vision far beyond their grasp.

My thanks go out to the majority of canyon residents who – despite the tragedy they have faced – can look outside themselves and support these causes – and the greater good they provide.

And we also gratefully thank the Forest Service for allowing us to continue with the events and for supporting the good to the community that will come of them.

Chris “Dances With Hornets” Vargas
Executive Director of Advocacy, Trail Work and Event Support

The non-profits that will benefit from our 2008 Events:

A. The Mountain Bike Pow Wow:

The SOARA Ham Radio Club; SOARA, a non-profit corporation, was founded in March, 1974 to serve current and prospective licensed radio amateurs in the southern area of Orange County. The purpose and objectives of SOARA, as stated in the constitution and by laws are:

. To promote Amateur Radio and advance it’s causes.

. To provide a communications capability and a source of technical support for the benefit of its members and the community

. To promote fraternalism and cooperation among its members.

To this end, SOARA and the members actively support and participate in ARES, RACES and other sanctioned organizations. We provide communications support for many public service events throughout the community:


B. “The Traverse” event:

A fundraiser for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund; the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund honors the bravery and dedication exhibited by Americans in our Armed Forces who have sacrificed life or limb defending our country by providing educational scholarships to their children.


C. The Toad Festival:

A fundraiser for “Talk About Curing Autism” (TACA):

TACA has been VERY important in helping parents navigate the world of autism
– education, therapy, biomedical information and emotional support.

TACA provides emergency financial assistance to families with a child with autism to cover costs associated with housing, utilities, automobile repair, insurance premiums, food, medical care, prescriptions, daycare, and other items.



Rock N Road Cyclery will be holding an Endurance Training and Nutrition Seminar from 7:00 to 9:00 at the Mission Viejo store on Tuesday, the 27th of November. The Store is located at the shopping center on the northwest corner of Rancho Santa Margarita and Margarite.

For more information contact the Rock N Road at: (949) 859-5076


On a more positive note the next Newbie ride is being held Sunday, DEC 2, in San Diego Co. We chose Daily Ranch as the venue. This ride is a joint ride with the “sladnas” firestorm ride. Mark aka Sladnas on STR lost everything in one of the San Diego fires. The members of STR pitched in and bought him a new bike and it will be presented to him on this ride. Here is the link to the ride.


Be sure and paste the whole link into your browser if it does not activate.

“Guides New Warriors” Frial


The Forest Service is not yet ready to start installing water bars and grade stabilizers on the Silverado Motorway so we will be brushing the trails in the Trabuco Canyon area, starting with the Trabuco Trail. The work will start at 7:00 a.m. and end at 1:00 p.m. and we will be meeting at the Holy Jim Trail Parking Lot.

Please RSVP if you plan on attending and bring gloves, snacks and water for on the trail when you are working. Pizza will be provided after the end of the event.

Please RSVP to:




The City of Irvine and the Orange County Great Park Corporation invite you to attend a public open house at the Orange County Great Park Balloon site.

When: December 1st and 2nd, 2007 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Great Park Balloon Site
Meet the Great Park Design Team and give us your feedback on programs related to:

. Sports and Recreation
. Festivals and Events
. Ecology and Nature
. Historic Preservation
. Cultural and Social Institutions and Activities

If you are unable to attend the open house you can still participate in the planning process by taking an online survey. The survey will be available from December 1st – 8th.
For more information, please call (949) 724-7420.

Manitou and Shimano are the Major Component Sponsors of the Warrior’s Society

Rock N Road Bike Shops and Sho-Air Racing are Major Sponsors of the Warrior’s Society

Cytomax is the Official Fluid Replacement Drink of the Warrior’s Society

Clif Bar is the Official Energy Bar and Gel of the Warrior’s Society

The Warrior’s Society is a Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) affiliated organization

The Warrior’s Society is a Tax Exempt Organization under 501 (c) 4 of the IRS Code

“Far better it is to dare mighty dreams, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take the ranks with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat!”

Theodore Roosevelt


Comments are closed.