Bill includes $700K for Station fire damage

GLENDALE — Roughly $700,000 has been earmarked for improving the forest roads and trails that were destroyed last year during the Station fire, officials said.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) secured the earmark in the Interior Appropriations bill for restoring the 160,577 acres of scorched landscape that's in severe need of restoration.

"The roads and trails have been eroded and degraded," said Richard Toyon, former forest ranger and president of the local nonprofit Volunteers Organizing in Conserving the Environment.

Trekking on some trails in the forest is challenging because they eventually disappear, he said, and some roads and trails are no longer recognizable.

The bill must still pass the full House and Senate before reaching President Obama's desk, said Schiff's spokeswoman, Maureen Shanahan.

If the bill is approved, the funding would be allocated to the U.S. Forest Service to handle the restoration work.

"This funding will help repair the roads and trails that were damaged in the fire to restore safety and access for families to enjoy one of California's greatest natural resources," Schiff said in a statement.

Engineers for the Angeles National Forest have estimated that about 300 miles of roads and 225 miles of trails were harmed during the Station fire, according to Schiff's office.

Damage to roads and trails worsened due to erosion and landslides during the winter.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Feb. 11 declared the footprint of the fire a disaster area.

Some of the roads have been closed due to the extensive damage, and trails that have been deemed unsafe for hiking have been off limits.

Officials are planning to focus the funding on the most critically damaged roads with the largest access points.

Some road improvements include installing retaining walls, reconstructing low water crossings, grading surfaces, repairing drainage, repaving and restoring signage, according to Schiff's office.

Trail improvements include drainage repairs, re-stabilizing slopes and restoring walking surfaces.

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