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Popular LA-area trail reopens 9 years after fire, flooding

Published August 27, 2018

SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS, Calif. (BRAIN) — Mountain bike advocates and land managers on Sunday will celebrate the reopening of one of the region's most popular mountain biking and hiking trails, the Gabrielino National Recreation Trail through the Arroyo Seco canyon. The trail was destroyed in 2009 in El Niño-fueled flooding that followed the ferocious Station Fire in Southern California's San Gabriel Mountains.

After a lengthy environmental review, restoration work on the 4-mile section of the 26-mile trail began in late 2017, with six volunteer chainsaw operators clearing downed trees to restore the trail corridor. The Mount Wilson Bicycling Association (MWBA) led monthly volunteer work days from November to July. Local retailers including Pasadena Cyclery, Incycle Bicycles, Golden Saddle Cyclery and Montrose Cyclery sponsored work days.

Advocacy group the Concerned Off Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) secured grants from REI and Southern California Edison to hire trail builders Belfree Contractors to conduct technical work on the trail, but the majority of the trail work was done by more than 100 volunteers over 283 work days, CORBA stated. Trail closure signs were removed last week by volunteers and officials from the U.S. Forest Service.

A mile-long section of the trail has been moved out of the sand and gravel wash it follows and has been restored on the hillside. "It's a much better trail now than it was even before the fire," CORBA president Steve Messer told BRAIN.

The MWBA will hold a volunteer appreciation celebration this Sunday, Sept. 2, from noon to 3 p.m. at Loma Alta Park in Altadena, California. Representatives from CORBA, the U.S. Forest Service, REI, local bike shops and clubs will all be on hand. Several groups plan to ride, hike, run, bikepack or backpack the trail in the days leading up to the celebration.

CORBA stated: "CORBA has been proud and honored to work so closely with MWBA and the Forest Service to help rebuild this historic and important trail. We are very grateful to REI and Southern California Edison for the grants in support of the project. CORBA extends our sincere thanks to all the volunteer groups who maintain other sections of this 26-mile trail, including the Boy Scouts, the Sierra Club, the AC100, the Angeles National Forest 50 trail runners and the Haramokngna Native American Cultural Center."


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