Trail builders clear the way at Deukmejian Wilderness Park

Glendale resident Mat Davis, clad in black gloves, ripped a charred tree from its roots and tossed it into the shrubbery of Deukmejian Wilderness Park. He then grabbed a “Pulaski” — a half ax, half pick trail-construction tool — to dig out the burnt tree stump.

PHOTOS: Volunteers are the backbone at Deukmejian Wilderness Park

Davis, 21, was one of roughly a dozen participants cutting weeds and smoothing the dirt path to restore one of the park’s trails at the city’s trail building workshop on Saturday.

“He’s got quite a challenge there,” said volunteer and workshop instructor Karen Buehler, also known as “trail boss.”

For two weeks, volunteer crews have been working on restoring the historic “Boy Scout Trail,” which was one of the many park trails destroyed in the 2009 Station fire.

“They were a mess, they were unsafe,” said Marc Stirdivant, senior administrative analyst for Glendale’s community services and parks department, of the park’s trails. The park was closed for nine months, he added.

But since the massive fire, trail crews have restored more than four miles of trails, Buehler said.

Upon completion, the newest trail will be renamed the “Vineyard Trail” after the LeMesnagers, a family of grape-growers who supplied grapes to Los Angeles wineries.

The trail leads to what used to be the family’s ranch, Stirdivant said. The city’s trail and open spaces program is sponsored by the Glendale Open Spaces and Parks Foundation.

Buehler estimated that the historic trail will take another month and a half to complete, with more than 80 man hours already under the crew’s belt.

“What we’re trying to do with the volunteers is lend a hand to Mother Nature — she does most of the work,” Stirdivant said.

Once completed, the trail — which is less than a half a mile long — will give hikers a less strenuous hiking option, Stirdivant said.

First-time volunteer Frank Carlsen, who’s lived at the bottom of the park all his life, remembers climbing the mountains behind his home as a child.

“I’ve been hiking up here all my life,” the 58-year-old said, taking a break from cutting weeds and shrubbery. “Looking back at all the playing around we did up here, the trails we built ourselves, I thought I’d come up and learn the right way.”


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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