Monterey Off Road Cycling Association

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Couch Canyon Bridge Construction Completed!

It started several years ago with MORCA members and local riders identifying a chronic drainage problem in Couch Canyon along a popular Fort Ord route, Trail 47. Fast forward to October 2023: Monterey County trail users – and Sea Otter Classic participants – now have a brand-new, high-tech, 50-foot bridge to guide them over this drainage and help better maintain the trail.

Looking back, with each winter and especially last winter’s torrential rains the erosion along this drainage was worsening and the existing culvert crossing was failing. Collateral damage was spreading to nearby vegetation as hikers, equestrians and cyclists steered around the saturated soil. And each spring, the deterioration was exacerbated when the Sea Otter Classic routed thousands of riders through this area. In fact, last spring it got so bad that race organizers re-routed the course to a different trail altogether.

As stewards of Fort Ord’s expansive network of trails and beyond, MORCA looked to long-time partner and Fort Ord’s primary land manager, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), for a collaborative solution. As a result, MORCA applied for and was awarded an $80,000 grant from the BLM to pay for the bridge. Constructed through a pultruded fiberglass process by Creative Composites Group all the way out in Pennsylvania, the bridge was trucked across the county to Monterey.

National Public Lands Day 2023 helped to commemorate this significant MORCA trail project as volunteers put the finishing touches on the new bridge. This milestone capped more than 500 volunteer hours and tireless collaboration between MORCA, BLM, and adjacent Laguna Seca Raceway which generously provided storage for materials and easy access to the build site. All in all, the Couch Canyon Bridge is more than a trail feature that all users can benefit from, it is a testament to Monterey County mountain bike advocacy and to community collaboration in the name of outdoor recreation and conservation.