16 Comments
Aug 3, 2023Liked by Casey Schreiner

Good information and thank you for all your work and advocacy. I would be thrilled if a shuttle system came to fruition. What keeps me away from some hiking areas such as Bridge to Nowhere and Ice House Canyon is the very limited parking. I remember when the pilot program ran, it was great!

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Same! When the Santa Anita Canyon pilot program ran, I took public transit all the way from East Hollywood to the trailhead and didn't have to worry about parking at Chantry OR in my very crowded neighborhood!

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Aug 3, 2023Liked by Casey Schreiner

Environmental groups have long complained about the conditions at East Fork with the Sierra Club and Nature for All taking the lead in offering solutions to the Rivers and Mountans Conservency and het Forest Service. This led to a plan serven years ago for a comprehensive East Fork Improvemement Project designed to radically improve conditions at East Fork.. See my article here: https://angeles.sierraclub.org/news/blog/2016/04/east_fork_project_new_plans_popular_san_gabriel_river_site . The project has long been stalled by a lawsuit from Bungee America who owns a private recreation operation within the forest. The lawsuit is over. Watch for progress soon.

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Casey Schreiner

Interesting idea about the deciduous vines keeping the house cool in summer and backing off in the winter. Locally (California), Vitis californica would almost seem to be a clear winner with its aggressive growth and large leaves. The Roger's Red is particularly stunning with its red fall color. Unfortunately, my own Vitis has already gone dormant and we haven't hit the hot part of the season, but I don't think I've given it enough sun to really achieve its glory.

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Thanks for the advice on the vines, Bill! I thought it was a super interesting idea, too -- and definitely one I hadn't thought of before, even as a big native gardener. In L.A. I had some Channel Island morning glories on a north-facing pergola which were reliably beautiful and brought a lot of hummingbirds and butterflies to the courtyard, but cutting them back in the winter was always a bit of a chore :)

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Aug 3, 2023Liked by Casey Schreiner

Casey, a few thoughts about public use of the front range of the San Gabriel Mtns.

1. Timed entry permits. L A Co Parks tried this at Eaton Canyon during Covid when everyone was heading to the waterfall. A high percentage of people with permits were no-shows. But because you had to get the permit in advance, no one else could take the permitted spot. Really didn’t work out well.

2. Henninger Flats. This area is managed by LA Co Fire probably due to the historic tree nursery they once operated up there. But the Fire Department has no budget or interest in managing for recreation. The water system is shut down, restrooms are nailed shut and it’s posted that there is no camping. Picnic tables are crumbling. This used to be a really popular spot for day use and camping. But for the last few years, it’s been shut down and left to rot. Sure would be nice to get this area back up and running. Use of campground hosts could ease staffing and budget demands. Could you use your connections and soap box to help with this??

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Responding in turn!

1. I think I would chalk that up to the general flakiness of Angelenos than to the efficacy of permits. They seem to work very well in many other locations. Here in Oregon, a high-use, high-impact area of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area went timed-permit only during the high season, with its marquee waterfall Multnomah Falls going to online reservation permits ONLY. It is working fine here. Occasionally getting frustrated with no-shows is certainly preferable to the current situation, and at least if it was permitted you would know what days are available. There is definitely a solution for those no-shows, though.

2. I JUST found out about the closures at Henninger when a good friend of mine trekked up there to camp only to find locked gates. That is a huge, huge disappointment because, you're right, that area is magic. I feel like a local "Friends of" group could take up the efforts if County Fire is no longer interested? I'm no longer a full time L.A. County resident but would be happy to help in any way I can!

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Aug 3, 2023Liked by Casey Schreiner

Tourists have trashed our beautiful Lake Tahoe beaches over the 4th for the past several years. Now the last free beach is under the auspices of a concessionaire with heavy law enforcement, parking fees and added dumpsters. The locals have now lost our last free beach (Zephyr Shoals)because tourists have no “pack it in, pack it out” ethic. We are sick of these stupid people up here.

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Ugh sorry to hear that -- I covered the massive (and also embarrassing and shameful) trash haul out of Tahoe following the 4th of July. It seems to be a problem plaguing outdoor areas everywhere.

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I have developed a theory that a person’s tendency to wantonly strew garbage across a pristine and beautiful landscape is an act rooted in their pathological and narcissistic hatred of the beauty of the space and/or jealousy of it. There are no excuses for using the outdoors as your personal garbage can. This is an act of disrespect, selfishness and hate, not unlike rape or assault. The fact that trashing outdoor spaces is now so common is just another indicator of how sick our society has become. People who do this have no regard for law, nor for their fellow humans who get to look at and walk through their trash. It’s despicable and should warrant heavy fines and/or jail time.

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Aug 3, 2023Liked by Casey Schreiner

Thank you so much for your advocacy and all you do to make the outdoors more accessible, Casey. I do ask, however, that individuals and organizations advocating for a shuttle system consider the impact that mandatory shuttles (if that is what is under consideration) will have upon immunocompromised people. My immunocompromised friend with cancer, who is supremely careful about masking, up-to-date vaccination, and other biosecurity measures, just contracted COVID when an unmasked person, seated behind her on a bus, sneezed ON her. There are people for whom public transportation can literally be life-threatening, and now that universal masking has been abandoned, those are some of the same people whose only freedom is to be outdoors.

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Thanks, Tracy.

As far as I know, I don't think anyone is proposing mandatory shuttles for these areas. The project Nature For All has been working on would be a shuttle that connects light rail transit in the foothills to some of the sites along the Angeles Crest Highway. Even in National Parks where shuttles are mandatory, there is almost always another option off the high-traffic areas for people who want to go in private automobiles.

I do think that a combination of free but limited permits for automobiles and a free shuttle option for heavy-use sites like East Fork is the only way that we can continue to have access to these places while not completely destroying them in the process. But even though they work, and are being implemented in more and more places as the outdoor use continues to increase every year while budgets plateau or shrink, people tend to HATE the idea of permits.

If we really want to be responsible here, we're going to have to implement a solution that is not a one-size-fits-all and one that is likely going to be a little bit of a pain in the butt for everyone. But I think it's painfully clear that what we've been doing is not working and it needs to change.

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Aug 3, 2023Liked by Casey Schreiner

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Sounds like we agree: shuttles make sense alongside private automobiles for those who cannot safely take public transit. Unfortunately, the most medically vulnerable folks have largely been left behind since the reopening, so I'm inclined to pipe up and remind people about how policies that seem positive for the majority can nonetheless limit access for older adults, people with disabilities, and the immunocompromised.

Thanks again for your advocacy, and for keeping us informed.

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Unfortunately, the group that most trashes the river there at the bottom isn't looking for a shuttle ride to a trailhead farther in, because then they couldn't bring their ice chests, easy ups, bbqs, and boombox. This particular group just wants a place to soak in the waters immediately next to the road, and only increased enforcement will keep them in line. I'd be totally fine with extending the forest pass requirements and increasing the fees to fund that enforcement.

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I agree! I want that enforcement by the river to make sure the sun shelter and bbq crowd can enjoy the river without trashing it. Limiting the parking up there (ideally by pre-reserved permits so you don't get huge traffic snarls up there) would keep that number manageable, while having the shuttle means people who want to hike or just travel lightly in the region would still have a viable option if the permits were all sold out. This is essentially the same system used in the Columbia River Gorge's "Waterfall Corridor" in the summer and so far it seems to be working well.

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