The Angeles National Forest announced Thursday that it will reopen about 98,000 acres of forest that has been closed since the 2009 Station fire. As I reported in Outposts on April 1, forest officials have been doing public outreach and relying a lot on volunteers to clear out invasive species as part of the forest restoration. Shown above is a hillside in the San Gabriel Mountains that burned in the fire and was adorned with wildflowers in spring 2010 -- proof that this fire-adapted ecosystem can rebound.
Areas that will reopen include Charlton Flat Picnic Area, Gould Mesa Campground, Bear Canyon Trail, Paul Little Picnic Area, Mill Creek Summit Picnic Area, Silver Moccasin Trail, Sunset Ridge Trail, Indian Canyon Trailhead, Canteen Trail and the entire San Gabriel Wilderness area. Forest officials say more than 100 miles of hiking trails are being reopened.
In addition, the U.S. Forest Service announced that the portion of the Pacific Crest Trail that runs through the forest will reopen, with some minor reroutes. This is good news for PCT thru-hikers, who had a roughly 40-mile detour last summer.
Hikers should also be thrilled that the Angeles National Forest has finally posted a high-resolution zoomable map showing the closure area (frame grab image at right). A word of warning: Downloading the map can be excruciatingly slow; I found it quicker to just use the online zoom feature.
Check the Angeles National Forest website for the latest Station fire restoration updates.
-- Julie Sheer
Photo credit: Julie Sheer. Map credit: Angeles National Forest