Recently we were contacted by some people down in the San Gabriel area of the greater Los Angeles area about some moves the USFS were proposing. The moves include making the area off limits to overnight camping and eliminating much of the parking previously reserved for hikers, miners and patrons of Bungee America.
One of those people who contacted us stated “aren’t you supposed to be the knight in shining armor for the mining community”. They were referring to us as saving them. We cannot save anyone, what we can do is lead, guide and educate and show you the way to oppose horrendous things just like this which the government is doing to close more of your lands.
It is up to YOU to stop this. Simply reading this post doesn’t do one damn thing except allow the USFS to close this down. By not sharing this, sending an email to the to oppose this, contacting your Congressman or the County Supervisors, you are allowing this agenda to be jammed down your throat.
We had a lengthy conversation with Ron Jones, the owner of the patented land up the canyon and Bungee America. Ron has been fighting moves just like this for decades. We are going to include his letter as a guide for you to oppose this land grab. You can cut, copy, paste or use any portion of this letter you’d like, but please DO SOMETHING. Don’t just get mad, share this and send an email. Make a call.
It can be as simple as “I oppose the Cattle Canyon Improvement Project”, or as complex as the letter below. But oppose it you must, and if you don’t, do not complain when the area is closed.
Please feel free to circulate this information to your membership and advise them they are welcome to cut and paste or draw upon this information in objecting to the “project”. You may also share that my 50 acre private inholding which contains the Bridge to Nowhere, is a patented mining claim from 1913 and sits within the Angeles National Forest, Sheep Mountain Wilderness and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which means I have extensive experience dealing with US Forest Service over reaching.
The “San Gabriel River Confluence with Cattle Canyon Improvement Project” (“Project)” as it is officially titled, is a collection of misrepresentation and misinformation by the proponents. It is a collaboration of two primary proponents, the US Forest Service and The Watershed Conservation Authority.
Let me explain a few things that the proponents of this project do not want the public to know.
The project area involves 2.5 miles along East Fork Road and Camp Bonita Road in the Angeles National Forest. The project advertises 270 “New Parking Spaces” along this 2.5 mile section. However, there are currently in excess of 400 parking spaces along this section. In reality, what is being promoted as adding 270 spaces is in fact intended to eliminate all parking except 270 spaces.
To be more specific, 101 “New spaces” are advertised as being located along Camp Bonita Road between Cattle Canyon bridge and the “Bridge to Nowhere” trailhead at the end of the road. This is the most heavily used trailhead in the entire Angeles National Forest. In addition to Bungee America’s 4000 patrons, over 25,000 members of the public park along this 1500 foot section of Camp Bonita Road each and every year. Currently, there are more than 200 parking spaces along Camp Bonita Road. Anyone can search on google maps for “Bridge to Nowhere Trailhead” and find a satellite image which reveals in excess of 200 vehicles parked along this 1500 foot stretch of Camp Bonita Road and at the turnaround at the trailhead. This image was generated by Google in 2017. Interestingly, if you search using Google Earth Pro and use the historic data toolbar you can see for yourself the Google Earth Pro satellite images from 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017. All images happened to occur on a weekend when parking is at maximum capacity. All 4 images show in excess of 200 vehicles parked at the trailhead. The proponents are intentionally misleading the public into thinking 101 “NEW Parking Spaces” would be in addition to the current 202 parking spaces. This leads one to believe there will be more than 300 parking spaces. This is an intentional misleading of the public ! The project is actually intended to cut the existing 202 parking spaces at the trailhead by 50% to a total of 101 spaces and not 101 “new spaces”. These google earth images and the proponents both identify that there is a need for more parking, not less parking. In fact, the project intends to remove more than 169 parking spaces along Camp Bonita Road alone. The project intends to retain only 33 spaces along Camp Bonita Road and add 68 “genuinely new” spaces in the area that was once the East Fork Fire Station. Research of this area has shown that it could actually accommodate 100 parking spaces. So why is the project intending to reduce parking by 50% when it could keep all the current parking (per google earth images) plus add 100 “genuinely new” spaces for a total of 302 spaces. This would truly serve the public’s need.
The project should either increase parking for the public or at the very least it must not eliminate parking spaces.
Other things within the project area that the project includes are:
1: ELIMINATING roadside camping. This area has been used for camping for over 80 years.
2: ELIMINATING camping at Heaton Flat. This area has been used for camping for over 80 years.
3: ELIMINATING overnight parking. This area has been used for overnight parking for over 80 years. There is talk of allowing overnight parking for the sole purpose of back packing in the wilderness only if you acquire a “Special Permit” through the US Forest Service’s local office. This permit may require fees and certainly requires advanced planning with no determination by the proponent if it would take days or weeks advanced notice. The proponent has advised that backpackers would be required to personally pick up the pass in advance at the District Ranger’s office in Glendora, CA during business hours.
4: ELIMINATING 35 parking spaces at the end of Camp Bonita Road to install a shuttle bus stop. Ridiculously, there is NO PLAN TO PROVIDE ANY SHUTTLE BUS SERVICE. The U.S. Forest Service has stated they have no intention of operating a shuttle service. It is their desire that someone else fund and operate shuttles sometime in the future.
To make the project sound more appealing to the public it includes a few good ideas. This includes more pit toilets, and more trash receptacles. Unfortunately, the U.S. Forest Service has difficulty maintaining the current facilities. Therefore, more toilets and trash cans will only be beneficial as long as they are properly maintained. Historically they have been neglected due to what the USFS reports as budgetary constrains.
When the President created the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, it was on the promise of More Recreational Opportunities for the public. Since its creation in November of 2014 we have seen the reintroduction of User Fees to park in this area and now this project intends to eliminate parking, reduce access, and increase restrictions. Does that sound like, more recreational opportunities for American’s or less recreational opportunities?
The proponents of this project keep touting this will preserve this area for future generations. In my opinion, they intend to accomplish their goal by shutting it down and make parking and access so difficult that people go away. You only need to look at history to understand that once any area has been shut down it is very rarely ever re-opened. The initial draft of this project included the installation of a gate at cattle canyon bridge. This was intended to further restrict your public access. Due to public outcry, this gate has been removed from the project. This is evidence that your written comments create results. It is imperative that any opposition to any portion of this project must be received in writing before December 26, 2017. Please email your concerns to: EFSGR@wca.ca.gov
In addition, I believe this “Project” will not move forward without the cooperation of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The elimination of parking and roadside camping involves 2.5 miles of East Fork Road and Camp Bonita Road. Both of these roads were constructed and are presently maintained by the County of Los Angeles using your tax dollars. This area is located entirely within Los Angeles County’s fifth Supervisorial District.
In fact, the Board of Supervisors may be our single greatest ally in stopping the “Project” from moving forward in its present form. Please voice your concerns by sending your email to Fifth District, Los Angeles County Supervisor, Hon. Kathryn Barger c/o Planning and Public Works Deputy, Mr. Chris Perry at:
The best interests of the public would be served by taking a few good ideas currently proposed (more bathroom, more trash cans, installing a pay phone since no cellular service exists) while incorporating significant changes which protect the right to use and access of these public lands and county roads.
Please support our position of deleting these four significant items.
1: Elimination of any parking spaces.
2: Elimination of any overnight parking.
3: Elimination of any roadside camping.
4: Elimination of any camping within the forest.
I’ve included this link to the “San Gabriel River Confluence with Cattle Canyon Improvement Project” on one proponent’s website at the Watershed Conservation Authority.
If you look at: http://www.wca.ca.gov/cattle_canyon, you will find only the “fluff” which the proponent’s are selling to the public. This is the stuff which on the surface is easy for people to embrace. You will find nothing of the intentional misinformation I have outlined. This information has been buried deep inside the 483 page “Draft EIS/EIR.”
The entire Project is described in the 483 page “Draft EIS/EIR in the left margin underneath, “Downloads”.
Here is the link:
Please read it, make your own conclusions, it’s not rocket science.
If all American’s (that means, “You”) don’t stand up for your rights to the Use and Enjoyment of Your National Forest, it is only a matter of time until there will be no accessible public land left for you to recreate upon.
We promote environmentally responsible recreation.
Leave no trash and pick up the trash of others.
Leave the forest in better condition than when you arrived.
Fully enjoy this area today and be good stewards of it for generations tomorrow.
Time is of the essence, Act Now !