San Gabriel Valley Tribune

San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Article Published: Sunday, September 14, 2003


- Under Siege
- Cartels growing pot in forest
- Forest at crossoads over public use
- Lake not so crystal
- Fire threat still high, officials say
- Facing Extinction
- Masses and Messes
- A foul problem: garbage
- Groups spread blame for forest damage
- Forest dwellers have created their share of problems
- 'Static' budget hinders forest
- Bad roads hinder vistor, fire vehicle access
- Adventure Pass raises funds, eyebrows
- Saving the forest a tall task


Forest at crossroads over public use

By Lisa Faught, Staff Writer

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST -- The Angeles National Forest is the backbone of the Los Angeles basin. It makes up 72 percent of all open space in Los Angeles county and supplies 35 percent of all its drinking water, said Forest Supervisor Jody Cook.

It serves as a refuge for imperiled species, yet draws 3.5 million visitors a year, she said.

With them come all the problems of urban sprawl -- graffiti, garbage, development and pollution.

The net effect is damaging the health of the forest in the most in the most frequented sports, cook said. "...It absolutely has a detrimental effect when so many people are doing that in a given area," she said.

Cook met with the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club at its Wilshire Boulevard headquarters Saturday to give an update on the state of the Angeles National Forest.

The update comes as the Sierra Club is working on a campaign to promote conservation of the forest, which will be launched once members get a chance to see the new U.S. Forest Service plans in February.

The U.S. Forest Service is revising its Forest Plan, which sets guidelines for managing the forest The plan will be revised for four forests, the Angeles, San Bernardino, Cleveland and Los Padres forests.

The agency has drafted six new alternatives for the forest, from protecting wilderness to ramping up recreation with more trails and roads.

Charred Forest
A CHARRED AREA serves as a reminder of a past fire near Blue Ridge Campground in the Angeles National Forest. (Staff photo by Bernardo Alps)
The Sierra Clubs is backing an alternative that would expand wilderness areas and preserve habitat for wildlife, and John Monsen, chair of the forest task force for the Sierra Club.

"One hundred years ago, there were 250,000 living around the forests. Now there's over 20 million. The forests need to be protected from urban sprawl spreading into the forest," Monsen said.

Cook identified a number of issues the forest is facing as it prepares its new forest plan. The topics ranged from the ongoing rumors about the proposed expansion of several ski resorts, the proposed outsourcing of forest jobs and the potential for limiting the number of visitors to the most heavily frequented spots.

With so many issues facing the forest, the challenge is to find a balance, Cook said.

"The biggest issue to me is finding a balance between the current public demands and the projected demands. How do I provide that to the public and at the same conserve the resources?" Cook said.

-- Lisa Faught can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4496, or by e-mail at

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