Media Alert: San Gabriel Mountains Restoration Effort Kicks off National Trails Day

MEDIA ADVISORY MEDIA
May 26, 2015

SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS RESTORATION EFFORT KICKS OFF ON NATIONAL TRAILS DAY IN SANTA CLARITA ON JUNE 6

The local Community Hiking Club will rebuild an historic trail that will be the first of five projects funded by the San Gabriel Partnership Fund

WHAT: On National Trails Day, the Community Hiking Club will lead a group of volunteers in restoring the Dagger Flat Trail, an impassible trail four miles into the Santa Clarita side of the San Gabriel Mountains.

The trail fell into disrepair after its initial construction in the 1930s. For the last year, the Community Hiking Club has organized a team of dedicated volunteers to do restoration work, including hand-pulling weeds, clearing thick chaparral, and hiking in heavy railroad ties that are being used to build out the trail. Santa Clarita is the second largest city to abut the forest, but has no direct access to the forest. Once completed, Dagger Flat will be the only viable trail in the forest in the Santa Clarita area.

On June 6, a group of volunteers will continue restoration work on the Dagger Flat Trail. The event will feature a tour of the work completed to date, featuring a reinforced, four-foot wide trail along the cliff edge. Volunteers will work on trail stairs, install railroad ties to prevent landslides, and will be fed lunch along the trail. The work will be filmed for a future short documentary on the San Gabriel Mountains work.

The project received funding from the San Gabriel Partnership Fund, created by a group of foundations to support recreation and habitat restoration projects in and around the new monument to improve access and safety. The San Gabriel Mountains represent 70 percent of the open space accessible to the 14 million people who live within an hour drive. The Fund is supporting community projects that increase recreational opportunities for underserved, park-poor communities, to give everyone access to the health benefits that green space provides.

Last fall, President Obama designated the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument, setting aside over 340,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest for permanent protection. The Community Hiking Club is part of a broad coalition of organizations that have come together to engage residents in making the forest a recreational resource for all.

Dagger Flat Trail is the first of a series of future trails that The Community Hiking Club envisions will one day connect Santa Clarita to Rancho Cucamonga.

WHO:
· Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel, president and executive director of Community Hiking Club
· Belinda V. Faustinos, San Gabriel Mountains Forever Coalition
· Volunteers with the Community Hiking Club

WHEN: Saturday, June 6, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: Corner of Sand Canyon Road and Santa Clara Divide Road in Canyon Country, CA, 91351.

Volunteers will meet at this point, and then carpool together into the start of the trailhead, four miles into the forest.

About the San Gabriel Partnership Fund
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Wyss Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund, the California Community Foundation, and The California Endowment, along with other foundations, established the San Gabriel Partnership Fund to support projects identified by communities surrounding the monument to upgrade recreation areas and facilities, improve community access, clean up rivers, and restore natural habitats. The fund will be managed by Resources Legacy Fund. The foundations committed $500,000 to immediately support recreation and habitat restoration projects in and around the new monument to improve access and safety for millions of annual visitors.

About Community Hiking Club
The mission of the Community Hiking Club is to protect and restore wild places and wild rivers in the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Eastern Sierra through educational programs, hikes, restoration and mapping projects, and community outreach. CHC has an at-risk program that strives to enable the youth of the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond to reach their full potential regardless of background. Through our nature programs we help to develop responsible, environmentally conscious and caring individuals.

About San Gabriel Mountains Forever
San Gabriel Mountains is a diverse partnership of residents, cities, local business owners, faith and community leaders, health and environmental justice organizations, and recreation and conservation groups that are working to permanently protect the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers. For more than a decade, San Gabriel Mountains Forever has worked in local communities to build support for protection of, and increased access to, our forests, rivers and parks, and develop a new, diverse generation of environmental stewards to care for our public lands.

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