WHAT: The East Fork Project promises to transform conditions along a 2.5 miles stretch of the San Gabriel River’s East Fork, upgrading the visitor experience to what one would expect in a National Park.
WHERE: The project’s scope is last two miles of the East Fork Road, roughly from Camp Williams to the East Fork parking lot plus about ½ mile down into Heaton Flat.
WHO: The estimated $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 East Fork Project is a joint effort of the Watershed Conservation Authority (WCA) and the US Forest Service, the agency that manages the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The East Fork Project begins to fulfill the vision the President had when he established the national monument in October 2014. Funding is expected from the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy and other agencies. If all goes as scheduled the project could be competed as early as 2019. The East Fork Project is part of a larger master agreement signed last year between WCA and the Forest Service that could include projects that extend beyond East Fork to other heavily used sections of the San Gabriel River in the national monument and the San Gabriel River watershed.
WHY: The often-visited recreational areas along the majestic tributaries of the San Gabriel River north of Azusa currently offer inadequate recreational facilities and services as well as lax resource protection. These popular areas in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument have suffered from decades of neglect.
The project’s objectives are to promote stewardship, enhance recreational quality, and restore the river ecosystem. The project also addresses issues of diversity and inclusion. 93% of the visitors along the river itself are Latino, many in family groups escaping the heat and enjoying the shady river setting.
A core principle of the project is the sustainable access model. The conceptual design for the project includes visitor parking and transit stops that will be concentrated near six well-designed river access points that channel visitors to multi-lingual interpretive signs, restrooms, trash receptacles and river overlooks. The access points will be linked by a new East Fork Scenic Trial above the river and along the East Fork Road. The Oaks Picnic Area will be redesigned to improve traffic flow with more grills, larger tables, and native trees. An interpretive botanical loop trail is will be suitable for kids. The current East Fork Parking area will become a shaded interpretive center, picnic area and river overlook with parking moved to the to the East Fork Station parking lot to its east.
NEXT STEPS: There will be a call for public comments soon. We’ll keep you posted here, with newsletter updates and on our social media accounts.