Large portions of the Angeles National Forest that were closed to the public after the August 2009 Station fire are being reopened on Monday.
The reopening of about 98,000 acres of the forest’s northern, southern and eastern areas will offer recreational opportunities including hiking, picnicking and camping to the public in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Marty DumpisÖ, the Angeles National Forest’s deputy supervisor, said it’s been strange not seeing the general public in the forest for nearly two years, since the disastrous fire ravaged 250 square miles, destroying structures and taking the lives of two firefighters.
“We know how important the trails and everything are for the public we appreciate everyone’s patience,” Dumpis said. “We’ve done what we could to get most of the trails open.”
Forest resource specialists evaluated the areas to be reopened to insure “they didn’t have any concerns from an ecological standpoint and to make sure there weren’t any safety issues either,” Dumpis said.
The reopening was made by possible with the help of volunteers from the community at large and the organizations like TreePeople, who worked alongside the Forest Service removing invasive weeds, replanting trees and doing basic trail maintenance so the public can access the Station fire areas again, Dumpis said.
More than 100 miles of hiking trails are being reopened, as well as popular campgrounds. Specific areas include Indian Canyon Trailhead, Charlton Flat Picnic Area, Gould Mesa Campground, Bear Canyon Trail, Paul Little Picnic Area, Mill Creek Summit Picnic Area, Silver Moccasin Trail, Nature’s Canteen Trail, Sunset Ridge Trail and the entire San Gabriel Wilderness area. The portion of the Pacific Crest Trail that runs through the Forest will reopen as well with some minor reroutes.
The remaining portion of the burned area that is primarily within Big Tujunga Canyon requires additional recovery time and will remain closed until further notice. This area was recently designated a “Treasured Landscape” by the National Forest Foundation and efforts are underway to allow for species recovery and implementing sustainable recreational opportunities.
“I think the public will be pleased,” Dumpis said. “I know people wished more of the forest would be open but the Big Tujunga Canyon area needs more time.”