© a Quinn Martin production
Lots of you have been asking what you can do to help. This year's resolution is to affect change on The Angeles and take back OUR forest. I will have an online petition circulating soon. Thanks everybody.

I originally wanted to blog about my adventures in the San Gabriel Mountains. I have some good stories, like the time I took a donkey to Ralph's Supermarket. But then the Station Fire started. I realized that there is much that needs to be brought to the attention of the mountain going public. Most folks are kept in the dark about how the Angeles National Forest operates. I will raise issues that are important to me, which are hopefully important to all citizens, but if you have any suggestions for discussion here, I am willing.

Here's the big agenda: Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron. I've made a few smart remarks and cryptic comments about her. But now, with the backing of some knowledgeable and trusted friends, it is time for a concerted effort to have her removed from her post. Stay tuned for details. And if you have any information you would like to contribute, anonymously or not, email me at gregsweet4@yahoo.com

I will get to some of the stories, sooner or later. Also, I want to make it clear that I no longer work at Adams' Pack Station, that these words are my own, and that the pack station is not the source of my information - they don't want trouble.

Station Fire Commander

Yesterday I posted the link to an article announcing the semi-retirement of Mike Dietrich, the Incident Commander on the Station Fire. I didn't write anything because I was in a hurry, and because I don't know anything about this man.

However, I do know that experienced firefighters drop like flies around Jody Noiron, which could be the reason a fire on The Angeles needed to borrow a commander from the San Bernardino National Forest. And I can't help but wonder if this most recent encounter with Jody had an affect on his desire for a break from it all.

Mike Dietrich is the one that announced at the beginning of the fire that they were going to fight it "in a frugal manner" and then quickly backpedaled. This doesn't sound like the words of an experienced firefighter (resume here »), but Jody Noiron has a track record of not spending enough money on fire suppression. I imagine that Mike was just doing as he was told. Did you notice how defensive he got when the press asked "Whaddya mean, frugal"? It sounded like he didn't know what to say - probably because it didn't make sense to him either. And Jody never once came to his defense. She threw him under the bus.

Update: Be sure to read the comments...

Station Fire - 2nd Day Video

Video sent to me by Matt, shot from Mt. Lukens Road. This is the second day of the Station Fire. You hear him mention Dark Canyon. The fire is moving eastward into the Arroyo Seco and Bear Canyon. This is just below the point of origin and the station for which the fire was named. I know, and have long known, that the last time a fire went through there was the 1954 Woodwardia Fire, which moved in the same direction - down into The Arroyo and on to Bear Canyon, burning the cabin of Will Thrall's San Antonio Hiking Club. If a Joe like me knows that the growth into which the fire was burning was 55 years old, and that it was on a path similar to the previous fire, shouldn't there have been someone working on the Angeles that had the same information? Oh yeah! That's right! Jody repelled them all with her obnoxious ways, and the few remaining are new to the forest, replacing those that have quit!

Hey Gigi, you know fire, you know Dark Canyon... gregsweet4@yahoo.com

Gimme A Break!

This is the craziest thing I have heard about the Station Fire or the mountains in general...

A friend of a friend in Sierra Madre said that "crews" were in the mountains today above said village. The Station Fire did not pass through there, but 'dozer lines were cut in defense of the neighborhoods. Now that the fire danger has passed, somebody has decided that they should take the brush that was cut for the firebreak and toss it back onto the area from where it was cut.

It was suggested by a friend of mine that fire crews had gotten themselves into trouble with environmental groups, but I know better. First of all, the exigent circumstances of fire supersede other concerns, and that cut brush isn't going to root and grow again. This sounds more like the hysteria of the Sierra Madre FireSafe Council and their secondary obsession of mud. They were up there trying to use the branches as water dams. None of the firebreaks above other communities had crews "replacing" the brush cut for firebreaks.

You yentas over at Mary's Market ought to get out more often.

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fondue

The reason I took time off from this blog, after getting such a running start, was that some friends of mine, and some that probably aren't, were angry with me upsetting the apple cart. I am not talking about any employee of the Angeles National Forest, because they would all like to see Jody Noiron disappear.  Of course, I am speaking of folks in Big Santa Anita Canyon - they are the ones that I have known for six years.

Jody, as usual, she has gotten a bee in her bonnet, or a burr under her saddle, if the former sounded sexist, about cabin owners entering the forest when it is supposed to be closed. This is old news. She has been trying to lock out permitees since she arrived on this forest, and this latest excuse to close the forest is just another of many. It had nothing to do with me trying to get her ousted. And I am tired of getting the blame for things I have not done, and for not getting credit for things that I have done. Besides, the permitees want to see her go too.

That's all personal stuff, and I wanted to see if I would cool down and change my mind. Well, I have cooled down, but I have not changed my mind. Jody Noiron has got to leave the Forest Service, the whole Service, and everyone knows it. The thing is that I am now one of the few that knows the dirt, but doesn't have a permit or a job depending on her good favor; and apparently the only one with the fortitude to stand up to her. I will admit that it is easy for me to say now that I am Joe Citizen, but no revolutions were won by looking the other way.

So for my 'friends' in Big Santa Anita Canyon, I refer you to the article I wrote about Big T & Bouquet (http://sgmountains.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-about-cabins-that-burned.html), and remember how you are different. You know the difference - you talk about it at every cabin-owners' association meeting and you bring it up whenever you have a sit-down with Angeles management.

I'm a bigger Libertarian than all o' y'all put t'gether, and you know the story of my efforts to keep the pack station alive, so I appreciate the sentiment behind your rebellion. But now is the time to stand up and make your opinions be known, or forever hold your panties in a bunch.

LA Times: Station Fire's Strength Was Miscalculated

I my article two weeks ago entitled 'Pride Comes Before A Fall' I told you how the Forest Service let the Station Fire get away from themselves on the first day. I sent that article to the news desk of, among others, the Los Angeles Times. Here is a Times article yesterday that asks for answers about that first day...


I think the headline is too kind and the County is being apologetic for the Forest Service. Not to blame the county, it is simply professional courtesy, I suppose, or just trying to stay out of the controversy. In fact, I heard that the new Forest Service Chief, Tom Tidwell ( that's the guy from D.C.), has been in town looking into the matter for himself.

The article cites a "miscalculation" on the part of the Forest Service. A major miscalculation, I might add, and the incompetence alone should be enough to investigate the handling of this fire. But I am telling you now, possibly first, this is about politics and corruption, but mostly about corruption. And anyone that wondered if I am some kind of crack-pot, you can see that what I have said is being reinforced.

I told you that the refusal of help was a cover-up of sorts. A preemptive strike against any further allegations of incompetence on the part of Angeles management, and the lack of fire suppression spending. Spending is the operative word here, not allocation. We will get into detailed questions about what is happening to all the money that was supposed to be spent on suppression and, more importantly, in my opinion, on prevention; and who is scaring away all the firefighters. If only we'd been liberal with the water buckets ten years ago...

OH! What a world, what a world!

Lil' Sister Jenny & Me On Echo Mountain

You can guess by my hair, lapels and pant legs what era this was, and Dad musta spent some bucks on those boots! (click to enlarge)...

I remember this trip well. We went with my father, Walt, and his brother, John. Uncle John had the bright idea not to use the Sam Merrill Trail and go up the old Incline Railway bed instead. This was a rough climb, but even in the 70's you could still find old bottles and spoons and other litter from the White City to make it fun. We don't look any worse for the wear.

Today is Jenny's birthday. Nowadays she calls herself  'River'.

Still Here

I haven't forgotten my blog, just catching up on school studies, and reloading the ammunition. I will talk a little about the impending closure of The Angeles. That is, the one after this current closure order ends at full containment of the Station Fire. Here is a clue as to my opinion, a George Carlin routine that Petrea over at Pasadena Daily Photo reminded me of...

Why Not An Ivory Tower?

Forest Service employees and their families are still living in motels or bunking on couches while Queen Nero builds herself a new castle.
Read here: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/angeles/projects/docs/Arcadia-SO-Replacement-EA-Aug09.pdf

You Didn't Challenge The Legality Of Adventure Passes, Now Bend Over!

May I remind you people that you ARE the government? And that the Angeles National Forest is YOUR land? For over a decade now, you have been quietly paying your five or thirty dollars to park alongside a road or in a parking lot that you built with your own tax dollars without ever asking whether it is legal, or why the other 151 National Forests in The Country, besides the four in Southern California, don't require an Adventure Pass. And what did all that money get you? The biggest F-ing fire in 111 years!

Now they want to take the money and run. They want to take one of the last strongholds of democracy and turn it into a money making opportunity; a revenue office with the acreage of Rhode Island. They want to turn the San Gabriels over to the National Parks system. This would effectively take away many of your rights while turning our mountains into another Disneyland. Look at Yosemite National Park. Do you think it jives with John Muir's vision? It is now just another tacky California tourist trap.

Why do they think they can get away with this? Because you have proven to them that you will happily pay what ever they ask to access your land. Don't let it happen again. It is currently your right to freely access the Angeles National Forest, but it would be your privilege to pay to access the Angeles National Park.


Pride Comes Before A Fall

I have a rumor to report, but this type of rumor is usually true. But first a fact. Many employees of the Angeles National Forest are very upset by the handling of the Station Fire, especially in the beginning. It could easily have been stopped before it moved into the decadent growth.

Now for the rumor. It has been said that when the fire was first reported, Los Angeles County Fire Department offered help, but Jody Noiron refused.

Here are some things to keep in mind. The Morris Fire in San Gabriel Canyon was active at the time and air operations were already in effect. It would have been no problem for one of the Sky Cranes to come make a couple of drops to put the thing out. Now, the Angeles Forest only has one helicopter, and it is mostly used for helitack purposes (delivering personnel, tools & supplies). It can be outfitted with a small water bucket, but... a) why use a little bucket when the Sky Cranes were offered and already in the neighborhood? and b) since the dedicated water droppers were already on scene at the Morris Fire, the Angeles helicopter was being used by helitack crews, and not immediately ready to drop water.

So why would Jody refuse help? It could be because she has received tremendous criticism for not spending enough on fire suppression, and she has been blamed for a dwindling fire crew. Here is a letter (pdf) sent to Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron in December 2007, signed by six local members of Congress, requesting answers on the retention of firefighters within The Angeles...

I would be willing to bet that with so much assistance already in play at the Morris Fire, she wanted to prove that she could handle a fire on her own, that they were not really under-staffed. After all this was a little fire, right? It started close to Angeles Crest Station, probably right near the highway, and was just down the road from Mill Creek Station. It should be easy to put out, right? She could take a stand and do it safely, couldn't she?

The rest is history.

Something's Bugging Me

I really want to go hiking, but the forest is closed. So, if figure if I go in a Bark Beetle costume I will go unnoticed.

Let Them Eat Cake!

CalTrans lost some of their employee housing in the Angeles National Forest. They have been put up in houses supplied by CalTrans (they own a lot of property along the proposed 710 Fwy corridor). Plans are already in the works to rebuild these houses and get the families back in as soon as possible.

Jody Noiron, on the other hand, has lost twelve employee residences plus the barracks at Mill Creek. She has made no effort to help the employees that were living in them. No cash assistance, no requests for FEMA trailers, nothing. And like CalTrans, the Forest Service does own vacant houses, as well as barracks. The displaced families have not been offered the use these properties. What's more, she has banned ALL employees from returning home. The forest is closed to them too, and if they attempt to return home, they will be fired!

Do You Love Your Firefighters?

All around town there are banners hung that thank the firefighters for their efforts. Firefighters are getting standing ovations in restaurants, and the memorial for two men that died in the fire required Dodger Stadium to accommodate the number of mourners.

Here is a memo (pdf) that exemplifies Jody Noiron's attitude toward her firefighters...

"ANF Fire Patch/Coin & Back of the ANF Coin: In early April 2007, these patches --that were handed out by the ANF Chief Don Feser as a fire morale builder-- became a bone of contention. The ANF Forest Supervisor demanded they be collected and returned to her. In part this led to the early retirement of the Chief, leaving the Forest with no leadership and little experienced fire staff and also causing a hole in the Incident Management organization in R5 and the nation. Photos compliments of an unnamed source..."

And this is the general sentiment around the Angeles National Forest, taken from a firefighters' website discussion forum...

To Eastern FF:

If its true Jody is going to R9, may I be the first to open the door to let her out
of R5 with a hearty "See ya, don't let the door hit ya on the way out..."? Gosh,
hope she takes her "award" with her.

Heck if she does go, the morale of the firefighters on the ANF will rise just as
fast as suppression spending...

Fedwatcher II

This Must Be A Joke

Date: April 2, 2008

Subject: Fire Line Officer Team 2007 Leadership Awards - Region 5
To: Regional Forester, R5

For the past 10 years, the Fire Line Officer Team (LOT) has presented Leadership Awards to those line officers who excel in four award categories: Commitment to Firefighter and Public Safety; Commitment to Restoration of Fire Adapted Ecosystems; Commitment to Partnership Efforts in Fire Management; and Commitment to Build Suppression Resource Capacity. We are pleased to recognize the following Region 5 line officer for her commitment to fire leadership:

Commitment to Build Suppression Resource Capacity
Jody Noiron

Today's natural resource leaders face complex responsibilities. Whether nurturing the firefighters and the fire leaders of the future or ensuring interagency relationships are sound, a line officer in the fire arena requires hard work and dedication. The LOT is pleased to recognize line officers at every level of the organization who have excelled in meeting the fire management needs of today while preparing the organization for the future...
Congratulations! Award materials are being shipped to your Regional Fire Director.


/s/ T.C. Harbour
Director, Fire and Aviation Management

/s/ Mary Wagner, Chairman
Fire Line Officers Team

Vetter Mountain Lookout Lost

This email was just passed along to me...

From the Lookout Volunteer Coordinator Pam Morey 9/2/09:

It is with a heavy heart that I share this sad news with everyone. I
was informed last night by Mike McIntyre, our A.N.F. liaison, that we
lost Vetter Mountain Lookout to the fire. I know George [Geer?] and I, along
with a lot of you, have a special place in your heart for Vetter
Mountain Lookout; let’s not forget the memories and stories which we
can share for many years to come. Vetter Mountain Lookout was a
special place for so many people; Mike McIntyre who put in many hours
and looked forward to the day it was staffed with volunteers, Ramona
Mervin who spent 24 years watching for fires from Vetter, and a lot of
Forest Service personnel on the Angeles National Forest. Vetter
Mountain Lookout will be rebuilt in time. We do not know when that
will happen, I will keep you posted on that. Take time to grieve, and
re-live your time at the Lookout, and look forward to the day when we
will be back on that mountain top!

A Self-Loathing Hillbilly

Throughout the reading of Station Fire news I have been reminded of a line from The Devil Went Down To Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band that goes: "Fire on the mountain. Run, boys, run." The next line, "The devil's in the House of the Rising Sun" is ineffectual to me. The problem is that it leads me to the lines "Chicken in the bread pan pickin' out dough" and "Granny, does your dog bite? No, child, no." Worse yet is that I kinda like that song. Click the 'next' button on the mp3 player at right...

It's A YouTube Nation

Did you know that the Station Fire has its own YouTube channel? Me neither. The link is http://www.youtube.com/thestationfire

This is a video of the backfire that had me nervous last night. Looking eastward down the West Fork of the San Gabriel River. Mount Wilson is on the right with the dome of the 100" telescope visible...

Mount Lowe Railway

What About The Cabins That Burned?

There was an article in the LA Times yesterday that mentioned the plight of cabin owners in Big Tujunga Canyon, and how the same could happen to cabin owners in Big Santa Anita Canyon. When a cabin burns down, whether insured or not, it is "The Forest Service" that decides whether it can be rebuilt.

First I want to talk about cabin tracts like those in 'Big T' and Bouquet Canyon. Their problems are partially their own making. The Times article tells us that, in spite of the fact that the permits are for recreational residences, many live in the cabins full time. It says "They build porches, add above-ground pools and deck roofs with satellite dishes."

Residents in Tujunga scare off legitimate hikers and allow unfriendly dogs to run free. Cabins in Bouquet have carports filled with upholstered furniture and broken appliances. Both are infected with methamphetamine. They are like little pieces of Fontana that broke-off and wandered into the San Gabriels.

Naturally, I am not referring to ALL residents in the tracts. There are folks that use their cabins as intended: for weekends and holidays, but many in these types of cabin tract resist the Forest Service regulations, at least. It is up to the "good ones" to work with the Forest Service to exact control over the degenerates. Of course, as my rants suggest, this may not be as easy for them as it sounds.

This brings me to the point of this post. The Forest Service is also, if not mostly, to blame for the condition of these cabin tracts. The current management of the Angeles National Forest does have a flimsy excuse in that they have inherited many of these problems. But no effort has been made to correct them. There are no patrols to monitor persistent residency, and the additions of "porches, above-ground pools and deck roofs with satellite dishes" abound with impunity.

So what is the most advantageous solution to all of this? Fire! I am not suggesting, not in this post, that anyone would turn a blind eye to a home in peril. But when a problem cabin tract burns, some authorities may think that they could save themselves a lot of headaches by simply saying "NO" to rebuilding. The subtitle of the article gives a hint as to their future reasoning: "Residents of lodges on federal land need fire risk assessments before they can return to their secluded sanctuaries after the Station fire." The 'fire risk assessment' will surely state that the area is too dangerous to build within and that they only want to save lives from future disaster.

I am not offering here an opinion on the rebuilding of Big T, just a little insight and a prognostication as to how it's gonna go down.

Back Fire or Backfire? (9:09 pm 09/09/09)

I checked in with the Mt. Wilson Towercam a few times today expecting to see smoke from the back fires planned along the Rim Trail. There was none. One last look after night fall showed flames on the ridge. This was unexpected because I heard that they would only start the back fires with air support; hence the delay as air crews worked at Pleasant View Ridge and Waterman.

I called the pack station and they said that Cal-Fire told them back fires wouldn't start until 9am tomorrow. So they are worried too. But thank Heaven (pun intended) for the folks at Mount Wilson Observatory. They just posted that back fires are indeed under way by "Victor Division". Subsequent views from the Towercam have shown that many Forest Service and other official trucks are present on the mountain top, so I trust that they have current information.

I would like to thank Cal-Fire for keeping the folks in Big Santa Anita Canyon apprised of plans and operations, there would not have been this kind of communication from the Forest Service. One thing is sure, with so much attention on this fire, and with so much inter-agency involvement, it would be hard for the Angeles management to screw this up, or worse.

The Big SAC

I have nicknamed Big Santa Anita Canyon The Little Canyon That Could. It looks as though the Station Fire just singed the edges of the watershed, leaving Adams' Pack Station, Sturtevant's Camp and 80 cabins untouched. I will write later about the history of this canyon, what makes it so special today, and why we ought to fight to preserve it.

Many people know Big Santa Anita Canyon by the name of a feature within: Chantry Flat (NO! It's just one flat, not "flats"). Forest Service fire officials told the pack station owners last week that if the fire were to get into the canyon, they would not defend it, that it would be too dangerous. Maybe that's partially true, but they never offered a preemptive strike. The pack station, the cabin owners, friends of the canyon and yours truly launched a campaign to bring this to the attention of the media. It has worked.

Below is a photo of the watershed, looking north, on Sunday...

Big Santa Anita Canyon

Fire breaks were originally cut to prevent possible fire from the Big SAC entering the neighborhoods below. Lines have since been cut to protect the canyon from fire at Mt. Wilson and in The West Fork of the San Gabriel River. Hand crews were knocking down what they could as it attempted to get inside.

Below are photos of the overall fire boundary on Sunday, and close-ups of areas that were closing in on the Canyon and Sturtevant's Camp (near Spruce Grove)...

Backfires along the ridge between Mt. Wilson and Newcomb's Saddle were planned for yesterday to keep the fire in the West Fork, but bigger fire broke out in the Pleasant View Ridge area in the High Country. Fortunately, the fire near Sturtevant's had died down overnight, and the last two mornings have been cool and foggy. A look at the Towercam shows how far the marine layer can penetrate the San Gabriel River Valley, including West Fork. In other words, Sturtevant's is safe so far. This statement is not all extrapolation, several little birds that have flown up to camp have told me it is still there.

Following are a couple of photos showing the big hose and the 3/4" fire hose strung all over Chantry...

Station Fire Grand Compilation Time Lapse 720p HD

Very Cool! Full screen mode at bottom right under the "You" in "YouTube" for a big show...

Videographer's channel HERE

Fire Danger

On the Angeles National Forest website the fire risk meter is still set to 'very high'. Some may think it ought to be set at 'extreme' or 'critical', but I think we should go back to 'low'. Ain't nothin' left to burn!

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down!

(I'm not obsessed, I'm frustrated - this is a protest song)

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, Falling down.

London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

Take a key and lock her up,
Lock her up, Lock her up.

Take a key and lock her up,
My fair lady.

How will we build it up,
Build it up, Build it up?

How will we build it up,
My fair lady?

Build it up with silver and gold,
Silver and gold, Silver and gold.

Build it up with silver and gold,
My fair lady.

Gold and silver I have none,
I have none, I have none.

Gold and silver I have none,
My fair lady.

Build it up with needles and pins,
Needles and pins, Needles and pins.

Build it up with needles and pins,
My fair lady.

Pins and needles bend and break,
Bend and break, Bend and break.

Pins and needles bend and break,
My fair lady.

Build it up with wood and clay,
Wood and clay, Wood and clay.

Build it up with wood and clay,
My fair lady.

Wood and clay will wash away,
Wash away, Wash away.

Wood and clay will wash away,
My fair lady.

Build it up with stone so strong,
Stone so strong, Stone so strong.

Build it up with stone so strong,
My fair lady.

Stone so strong will last so long,
Last so long, Last so long.

Stone so strong will last so long,
My fair lady.

Sturtevant's Concern

Towercam is up and running!! But it shows an area of concern for Sturtevant's Camp. Image is time-stamped. Most of the fire is in The West Fork, but there is a puff up on the Rim Trail. Fortunately, a fresh fire break is visible in the area.

Click photo to enlarge...

About This Site's Background Image

I love old structures, and it reflects the shabby shape of the Angeles National Forest.

The Future of Adams' Pack Station

As many of you know, Adams' Pack Station, Sturtevant's Camp, and 80 rustic cabins are threatened by the Station Fire. As I type this, we may have already lost Sturtevant's or the six private cabins nearby.

The camp is the primary source of income for the outfitting end of the pack station's business. If the camp were lost, and not allowed to be rebuilt, it would also mean disaster for the pack station. Unfortunately, most of the owners of the 80 cabins do not regularly patronize the packing services. In fact, many do not regularly visit their cabins. Even with the camp's business, the pack station has historically supplemented its income with by selling snacks, drinks, ice cream, and parking to hikers.

Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron has been in the media in recent days, and has not said much about the fire itself. Not that she has to, that's why there are fire experts. But what she has talked about is soil 'hydrophobia', habitat regeneration, continuing fire hazards in unburned areas; in other words, she has entertained her favorite subject: closing the forest.

Even if the pack station, the camp, and the cabins all survive the fire, the Angeles will surely be closed for a long time to come. This means no visitors to the pack station store. This means no campers at Sturtevant's. The camp's ownership has the resources to maintain it, should they decide to keep it for history's sake, as they have done in past long term closures. But this puts the future of Adams' Pack Station up in the air.

More later on the history of closures in the Angeles.

Station Fire from Altadena 09|04|09

It didn't look good for Sturtevant's Camp this afternoon!

This photo is from the corner of Lake Ave. & Altadena Dr. in Altadena. Form this perspective, Harvard saddle is directly below the plume of smoke. The saddle is a ridge that connects Mt. Wilson (obscured by lower hills to the left) and Mt. Harvard to the right. On the other side of Harvard Saddle is Winter Creek (formerly the West Fork of Big Santa Anita Canyon). It doesn't appear that the fir is in Winter Creek, but it looks as though it could be over the Mt. Zion Ridge in the Upper Big Santa Anita, home of Sturtevant's Camp. But these pyrocumulus clouds are so big (20,000 ft. or more) that this may be mostly from Devil's Canyon in the San Gabriel Wilderness Area.

Forests With A Future

This plan is seven years old to date. When where they planning on implementing it? This is about the Sierra Nevada, but we need (or needed) this in the San Gabriels.

William Cronon on the National Parks/Forests

Author and forestry professor William Cronon speaks about the place that National Parks & Forests hold in our hearts.

Go Away!

At the top of the Recreational Activities page of the National Forest website it says "National Forests and Grasslands offer a diversity of outdoor opportunities. These lands are yours - to visit, to care for, but most of all, to enjoy. What are you waiting for? Pack up your family and friends and head for adventure in America's Great Outdoors". The attitude of the management of the Angeles National Forest opposes this philosophy at every turn. They view visitors as a threat, a liability, and a general nuisance. Certainly there are a few visitors that fall into one or more of those categories, but the solution to the problems that might otherwise have them work for a living is to close the forest whenever the slightest excuse can be conjured, or to make the facilities so inhospitable that nobody would want to visit.

In defense of a few in mind, they are simply inept. But most of the management just wants cruise along in their cushy government job, rarely leaving the office, rarely entering the forest, and never wanting to make a decision. And then there are the dangerous ones - those with hidden agendas. More on that later.

Keep in mind that I am not necessarily talking about the folks in the field, and I am definitely not talking about other forests. The Angeles, however, is completely dysfunctional.

As time permits, I will give examples of what I've said so far. I don't want to make anyone angry, I really just want bring my concerns to the attention of those that do not have day-to-day involvement with this forest's administration, with the hope of correcting some of the problems.

We mountain enthusiasts would gladly help if we know what the problems are; we would participate in discussion if we weren't talked down to. The quote above reminds us that the National Forests are OUR land. Let's reclaim it!

Call Me Ishmael | In The Beginning | It WasThe Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

I don't know where to start with this blog. The beginning is typically the best place, but I can't find it. I don't know that one could call this writer's block, because my problem is not what to write, it's what to write first.

The reason I started this is that during the Station Fire in the San Gabriel Mountains, August - September 2009, I started contributing to a couple of local blogs. I knew that I had a lot to contribute, but I didn't know that anyone else was interested. In real life I have often bored people with minutia of San Gabriel Mountain history, and annoyed them with my opinions (affectionately known to me as 'my observations'). But maybe I can be informative and entertaining here in the blogosphere, or at least make us all think.