Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15 Trail Update

  • Angeles NF updated the Section E Powerhouse Fire closure to reopen the unburned Sawmill - Liebre segment, but they renewed the closure for 12 more months for the remaining area.  Our SoCal PCTA rep Anitra Kass is working with ANF to determine if we can execute work projects in the burn footprint before the closure gets fully lifted (whenever that is), but it is pretty messy out there.
We're gonna need a bigger shovel
  • After the area reopened last month, Pete and Jerry cleared blowdowns from the trail going up Liebre Mtn, just below Horse Camp. If anyone goes up there soon I'd be interested to hear if there are more, since the storm last week.
  • In Section D, work continues in the Station Fire footprint.  An inventory after the November 16 wind storm revealed 50 dead trees blown down across the trail, and then on December 11 the big storm went through.  Pete and the Trail Gorillas will be out there next month to start clearing them.
Times 50

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Next Trail Projects: Oct 11, Nov 15

While the northwest corner of the Angeles National Forest remains under the Powerhouse Fire closure order, we're continuing our attention to the Station Fire area.  The Trail Gorillas have worked hard to clear the trail in this segment, with great success in 2014.  And now that it's been five years since the burn, the poodledog bush is finally diminishing. 
We'll hold work projects in the segment off of 3N17, the Mt Gleason Road, on October 11 and November 15. Info is below: 
On Oct 11 and Nov 15, meet at 0730 at Mill Creek Summit on the Angeles Forest Hwy.
We'll combine vehicles there and convoy through locked gate on Mt. Gleason Road.
Work is primarily treading.  All volunteers need to wear sturdy work boots and long sleeved pants and shirt, and bring leather work gloves, weather protection, lunch, and all your water for the day.  PCTA will supply tools and PPD.
If you can volunteer, please respond with your party number, so we can ensure to bring enough tools for everyone.
NOTE: Will cancel in event of Red Flag wind warnings.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Clearing Big Trees On Mt Gleason

I got these photos from John Shelton today showing the work progression on the big trees that Pete and the TG's cleared on Friday / Saturday. These really only summarize the two-day process, but it gives you an idea of the task here of clearing two  ~3 - 4' dia blowdowns stacked together:

 Here in the National Forest the sawing can be accomplished with chain saws.  The rigging and hoisting is all done with big hand winches without much trouble, and 4' pry bars to finish, all assisted by gravity.

So how do you top THAT?!  Their next project is high in the San Jacinto Wilderness, which means no power saws - they have cut this monster out by hand. I'll post those photos here after they finish.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Poodle Party on Mt Gleason

Pete Fish's Trail Gorillas continue working in the 2009 Station Fire burn area. Pete has been working the area, heavily-infested with toxic Poodledog Bush, every spring.  This spring after clearing the many blowdowns and starting work on the PDB, several windstorms occurred that blew down dozens more burnt trees, delaying clearing out the PDB as Pete and the TG's cleared the trees again.  On Saturday our crew cleared the last tree (a big one), and finished brushing Mile 428. According to Pete, trail miles 412 thru 434 are now cleared.
Before & After
Making piles. We then pitch them offtrail with a hay fork.
 When Angeles NF allows us back in to work in the Powerhouse Fire burn area in Section E, we'll likely have to fight the PDB there for the next couple of years. Maybe it can be controlled a little better out there since it's lower elevation, warmer, and less remote for crews' access.
Poodledog is a tall stalk with fuzzy-looking leaves and colorful purple flowers on top.  It has a funky scent, and causes contact dermatitis - a burning allergy-reaction rash.  Some people are more sensitive than others, and though we've been cursing it for four years now, it is a native.  It takes over after fires, serving to hold soil in place and shade the ground for better water retention and then tree seedlings can germinate. It actually works really well for that, and then starts to abate as those other plants take over.  The hummingbirds appear to be big fans of the plant's flowers as well, which are pretty easy access for them.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 2014

With 'Pickaxe Pete' Fish, 4/5/14 (Photo by Dave Fleischman)
While the northwest corner of the Angeles National Forest (and my PCT segment) remains under the Powerhouse Fire closure order, I'm turning my attention to the Station Fire area.  Having completed the 2014 inventory of the burn area, Pete Fish's Trail Gorillas are working hard to clear the trail around Mill Creek Summit before summer. If you can join us next weekend, I'll be out on Saturday April 12, but the project is from Friday through Tuesday.
It's been 4-1/2 years now since the Station Fire, and with dead trees continuing to fall, new growth now kicking into high gear, and the reviled Poodledog Bush finally in retreat, it's interesting to see the burn area responding. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February, 2014

Because the USFS extended the Powerhouse Fire closure to February 28, we are still locked out of the area for projects. Check back again next month for more status.
But we have been getting out to work in Spunky Canyon, clearing brush and doing a little treading.  Here's our crew at lunch on December 21 in Spunky Canyon:
Contact me to join the next work party, we have one more day of work out there and then we'll hope to get into the closed segment for an inventory. If the closure extends again, we'll be working hard this spring in the Station Fire burn in Section D.