May 2016 ACTRWG Meeting Minutes

Altadena Crest Trail Restoration Working Group (ACTRWG) Steering Committee

…from Arroyo Seco to Eaton Canyon  

7:00 PM, Tuesday. May 10, 2016

Altadena Community Center, 730 E Altadena Drive


  1. Introductions for new attendees.   1. Introductions for new attendees.   Jeremiah Small, local resident, Steve Messer, Mitch Marich, Olga Ruano, Rob Staehle, Marietta Kruells, Kevin Singleton, Lori Paul.
  1. Desired adjournment time for this meeting?   8:30pm
  1. Decision on meeting Secretary & Recorder of Action Items.   Steve Messer will record minutes.
  1. Review Minutes and Action Items from April meeting:. Corrected spelling of “For.”  Approved unanimously with this one correction.    
  2. County / City / U.S. Government Announcements of any items not covered later on agenda: Nothing new to report.
  1. Any serious new trail conditions or problems requiring immediate attention?   

Mitch covered two segments of the trail from Zane Gray to Eaton Canyon, then from Cobb estate to Canyon. On the west end there is a lot of brush growing into the trail, not yet obstructing the trail; primarily mustard. No damage or changes from recent rains, but still some work is needed. The ridge above Skyline where there are switchbacks there is some rutting. As you approach Eaton Canyon Hans Ghekiere reported that there was a landslide that he cleared from the trail. Private property gate at Eaton Canyon, water is undercutting the gate and a rut is developing back up the trail. Another similar rut further down a long fall-line section. It would be best to be pro-active in repairing this damage before it becomes major. The two problems are 50 yards apart. Olga reported that Sup. Antonovich’s trail days event is taking priority for the trail crew at the moment. Olga can ask Rudy Valenzuela, head of trails crew, when he is planning to come back to the ACT.

From Lower Sam Merrill/Cobb Estate, the ACT heading west needs to be completely rebuilt, brushed in, fall-line, unsustainable alignment, with lots of rocks. Camp area with wood pile and graffiti on rocks and trees next to trail. Can’t see it from the road, at approximately 34°12’19.6″N 118°07’37.6″W.

Unauthorized trail up the fire break at Cobb Estate, creating an erosion problem near that location. Downed homeowner’s fence along a section of the trail immediately west of Canon drive.

These and other problems to be compiled in a report by Mitch Marich to Olga Ruano.

New sign 100 yards downhill from Canon has one trail sign pointing to nowhere. There is a proposed school for this location. There may be an opportunity to negotiate an easement for an existing trail. Skyline gap, dead ends at Summer Kids. This easement could cover 75% of the gap. There is no existing easement across Summer Kids. Camp Chiquita historically allowed the trail to be used by the public, but the trail was closed temporarily and stayed that way. If the Summer Kids property is developed, it may be an opportunity to seek an easement. Lori described the historic alignment of the trail through the Skyline gap. A potential easement may be available through the Zorthian Ranch and/or other properties. More research is needed on existing easements, and “lost” easements on deeds that have not made it onto a map. Olga reported that in the early 20th century easements were not surveyed, but just recorded as a description, and they are trying to catch up on their property and easement recordings.

7. Current Tasks   

a) Fire Season Preparation:  Maintain fire roads / trails for Fire Dept. access (cooperation between County & USFS), crew staging, and emergency evacuation routes. Plan 4th of July closures / public education. Olga Ruano / LA County, Dennis Merkel / USFS Recreation Staff Officer.  Lori compiled some information that was discussed in 2012 to clear evacuation routes for local residents in anticipation of a bad fire season.

b) Re-grading to new County standards for erosion control on vulnerable ACT segments. Progress? Robert Staehle / ACTRWG. No Report, but refer to Mitch’s report.   

c) Update re: New fence erected along ~200-foot segment of ACT above Windfall Ave (E. of Rubio Gap and Stonehill). Fence blocks obstructs drainage culverts and the view to south from the trail. Policy changes to prevent future fence / wall obstructions? Olga Ruano / LA County, Dennis Merkel / USFS.  Property owners have not yet been contacted, but it is still planned.

d) DPW Devil’s Gate Reservoir (Hahamongna Watershed Park) / ACT Trailhead / Recreation impacts? Arroyo Seco Foundation Litigation? JPL / NASA Security Gates Project? Marietta Kruells or Lori Paul. No new information, ongoing local concern about water transfer from Arroyo Seco to Eaton Canyon.

e) La Vina litigation resolved:  Update & resumption of trail planning. Marietta Kruells, Olga Ruano / LA County. HOA have agreed to the arranged boundaries with the County and the MRCA. Minor progress.

f) Rubio Cyn Gateway trail planning status / discussion with AFC. Olga Ruano / LA County. Jeremiah Small reported that there is a new section of trail from the Creek up to the Lone Tree trail, with pin flags and evidence of recent work. Sean Green has been maintaining the Lone Tree trail. There was a tool cache up there, probably belonging to Paul Ayers. Robert Ettleman had a conference call with John Howell about the Geotechnical report and MOU with maintenance conditions for a 20’ wide trail easement.

g) Update on locked Pinecrest Gate. Mitch Marich or Paul Ayers. Mitch reported that people have been climbing over the fence, and other ongoing issues.

  1. Other Old Business. Ken Burton trail restoration was completed by CORBA and MWBA with 1650 volunteer hours from 98 individual volunteers over 6 months, 15 group days and 16 prep days. Ken Burton’s family were in attendance at the opening, held during the MWBA Pancake Breakfast on May 1st.
  1. Other New Business.  The first two chapters of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Management Plan EA have been released to the public in advance of the public comment period. They are available at the USFS web site
  • On the Mount Lowe Railway right of way trail above Rubio Crest in the northeast corner along Rubio Vista, a gate is rumored to be been planned. We don’t need another gate.
  • Marietta asked for a map of the area around Loma Alta Park to aid in planning safer access points to the park.
  1. Review of Task List for next meeting:
  • Olga to ask Rudy Valenzuela, head of trails crew, when he is planning to come back to the ACT, to help coordinate repairs with this group.
  • Mitch will compile a report of trail conditions for Olga to pass on to the maintenance crew.
  • Olga was going supply a map of the Loma Alta Park.

Carried over:  

  • Dennis will check with Graham about the Lincoln Ave Water Company permit requirement to remove the pipe from the Chaney Trail/Sunset Ridge connector portion of the ACT.
  • Rob will look for a copy of the sale agreement between Sameer Etman and AFC, including conditions of the sale requiring a trail easement be granted.
  • Olga to check with DPW about the Pinecrest gate and the road right-of-way.
  1. Upcoming Events:   The next ACTRWG meeting falls on Tuesday, 2016 June 14 (2nd Tuesday of each month, unless cancellation is announced, 7pm at the Altadena Community Center).  Note that we will skip the July meeting.
  • ACONA 24 May Meeting, 7:00-8:30pm at ACC Re: “Traffic, Bike & Pedestrian Safety in Altadena” with speakers from CHP (Capt. Steve Strull, Officer Mike Ulloa, and Officer Phil Cooper) and Altadena Sheriffs (Capt. Vicki Stuckey & Lt. Rob Lewis) / Also, “Fire Danger is Early this Year” re:  Fire laws; property preparation; who to call re: overgrown shrubs, piles of kindling, etc.  
  • June 4, 2016, LA County Multi-Use Trail Day at Pathfinder Park in Rowland Heights. A free event including trail activities, entertainment, raffles and food.
  1. Adjourned at 8:30.


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