Nearly two years after the devastating Station Fire, large swaths of Angeles National Forest reopened today.
The reopening of roughly 98,000 acres in the forest’s northern, southern and eastern areas will make the area accessible to the public for hiking, picnicking and camping in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Over 100 miles of hiking trails are being reopened as well as popular campgrounds.
Marty Dumpis, Deputy Forest Supervisor, Angeles National Forest hears a renewed appreciation for the area that’s been closed off from the public for so long.
“We’ve heard that from many people. The Angeles is an area, because of the large urban area we live in, it’s sort of a refuge for many people to just get away to the outdoors and away from the hustle and bustle of the city
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Specific areas reopened 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.
Dumpis credits the area’s recovery to time.
“The biggest thing was to allow enough time for natural recovery to occur. Y’know we’ve had a couple of good winters, of very good rainfall, and that’s helped the natural vegetation come back.”
The recovery strategy also included community volunteers and partner organizations working alongside the Forest Service to remove invasive weeds, help plant trees, and restore trails so the public can once again access some of the areas impacted.
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.
Angeles National Forest officials say the native black bear, mountain lions and deer have returned.
“The animals that were displaced by the fire now that the vegetation is coming many of them the animals are coming back in because of all the fresh, new succulent growth. It’s real good habitat for them feeding.”
On the afternoon of August 26, 2009, the Angeles National Forest received a call for initial attack response to a fire that had ignited on the forest near the Angeles Crest Fire Station, on the Angeles Crest Highway.
The slow moving fire took days to control and ultimately engulfed 160,000 acres, leading to the loss of forest resources, private property and human life.
Among those killed were two firefighters who drove off the side of a treacherous road in the Mt. Gleason area, south of Acton.
The Station Fire is the largest in modern California history. As of October 2009, the cost of fighting the fire stood at around $83.1 million. Eighty-nine residences, 26 commercial properties and 94 outbuildings were destroyed. Eleven people were injured, including firefighters and civilians.
For a map to the areas now open at Angeles National Forest click here .