Category Archives: News & Announcements

Crib Trail easement north of Loma Alta Park granted by La Vina Homeowners Association

Thank you La Vina HOA for providing a legal easement to Los Angeles County for perpetual public use of the long-used segment of the Altadena Crest Trail (ACT) immediately north of Loma Alta Park east of Lincoln Avenue.

The easement is specifically for “public hiking, biking and equestrian trail purposes…”

ACTRWG Letter to Supv. Kathryn Barger Regarding proposed purchase of Nuccio’s Nursery

Summary of possible and likely negative trail-related impacts of proposed Polytechnic School purchase of Nuccio Nursery property, and requesting the County’s assistance in seeking a viable conservation-oriented purchase and use arrangement with less impact on the Altadena Crest Trail and its users. Sign the Altadena Wild petition opposing the school purchase here.

Assemblymember Chris Holden thank you letter from ACTRWG


Reply to:

2022 December 13

Chris Holden, California State Assembly

Dear Assemblymember Holden,

            First, congratulations on your re-election!

            Thank you very much for working hard to secure $1.5 million for restoration of the Altadena Crest Trail (ACT), specifically for development and completion of both the east and west trails that replace the section that was lost when the La Vina subdivision was constructed over two decades ago in the northwest wildlands of Altadena. Your success will enable closure of a major gap in connectivity, working toward full reconnection of the historic Altadena Crest Trail, which in the 1970s provided a continuous ~13-mile equestrian and hiking path from the Arroyo Seco to Eaton Canyon.

            The Altadena Crest Trail is used every day by many residents of Altadena, Pasadena, La Canada, and other nearby communities.  For many of us, it is integral to sustaining our health and well-being.  I personally used the westernmost segment of the ACT several days a week to bike to and from my work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).  Many of my colleagues do the same, either on foot, or by mountain bike.

            Many others use the trail even more often than I do, enjoying birds and other wildlife; wildflowers; the fragrance of chaparral, coastal sages, and oak woodland after a rain; observing stars and the Moon under relatively dark skies; and just the ability to be outdoors, away from the urban bustle, noise, and lights, without going far from home.  Many trail users enjoy the constantly changing, expansive view over the San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles, ships off the coast — all the way to Blackjack Mountain on Catalina Island; and Mt. San Jacinto near Palm Springs.  Both are visible now most days of the year.  All these attributes will expand with the addition of the new trail segments, going farther up in elevation as they do, along the alignments being developed and built by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), with help from Outward Bound Adventures and local youth.

            We applaud the MRCA people who are engaging our community, including our group.  Our Altadena Crest Trails Restoration Working Group (ACTRWG) was established in 2003 by a County Board of Supervisors motion.  Our group is open to anyone who cares to participate, from any locale.  We continue to advise the County and others on matters concerning Altadena trails.

            The ACT is highly valued in our community, especially for its separation from housing, with many convenient access points along its length.  As result of this separation, the ACT passes through miles of our coastal sage scrub / chapparal / oak woodland ecosystem, which is extremely rare on our planet and that harbors a unique assemblage of plant and animal species, including some that are endangered or threatened.  There are few locales near a large urban concentration where people can so conveniently and freely immerse themselves in such a pastoral outdoor experience.

            On behalf of all ACTRWG participants and users of our trails,

thank you for supporting this valuable community resource,

[original signed by]

Robert Staehle


Trail looking ahead with oak tree on left and slope on the right.
Altadena Crest Trail immediately west of Chaney Trail, the paved road. (Photo by Lori Paul 2011 April 25)

Pinecrest Gate Open!

Trail users have great cause to celebrate! After years of ongoing effort by the ACTRWG and others, following recent intervention by new L. A. County Parks & Rec staff, public access has finally been restored to the Pinecrest Trailhead! 
For many years a razor-wire fortified, neighbor-controlled metal Gate has locked in / out numerous hikers, dog walkers, backpackers, bicyclists and horse riders. This hazardous situation was finally remedied by the County a few days ago when the metal pedestrian gate was removed! See attached photo. Access will remain closed to unauthorized motorized vehicles on the fire road beyond the Pinecrest Gate. Hopefully, the remaining visual blight caused by unnecessary penitentiary-style fortifications, including dangerous razor wire and welded metal paneling, will also be removed soon. Thank you to all those who have worked so long to get the Pinecrest Gate reopened, particularly ACTRWG “regulars” Mitch M., Kevin S., Steve M., Marietta K., and Lori P, and the County Parks and Recreation staff. 
Enjoy the scenic vistas and trails beyond the Pinecrest Trailhead! With return of public access, trail users are encouraged to respect neighborhood peace and quiet when entering or leaving at Pinecrest and to only park in legal parking spaces that do not block adjacent driveways. Please report any hazardous or inappropriate activity to the Altadena Sheriffs, as you would for any location along roads and trails in Altadena.

July 2017 Meeting Minutes

Altadena Crest Trail Restoration Working Group (ACTRWG) Steering Committee…from Arroyo Seco to Eaton Canyon
DRAFT Minutes

Tuesday 2017 July 11 7:04 PM meeting at Altadena Community Center (730 E Altadena Dr.)

0.   Introductions for new attendees: Steve Messer, Rob Staehle, Lori Paul, Marietta Kruells, Zachary Likins (LA County), Kevin Singleton, Michelle O’Connor, Mitch Marich, Dorothy Wong.

1.   Desired adjournment time for this meeting?  8:15  pm

2.   Decision on meeting Secretary & Recorder of Action Items. Steve Messer

3. Review Minutes and Action Items from June meeting. Not ready for review. Held until next month.

4. County / City / U.S. Government Announcements of any items not covered later on agenda. No new items announced.

5. Any serious new trail conditions or problems requiring immediate attention (firsthand reports strongly preferred; photos much appreciated)?  Nothing reported.

6. Current Tasks

A. Responses to letter regarding recommended trail restoration, corrections & improvements (action from prior meeting and field visit).

a. Resuming progress in restoring the historic Altadena Crest Trail.

b. Correcting new trail signage. County is looking at correcting the monument sign for Loma Alta to include the word Trailhead as it was historically.

c. Restoring trail segments on the County’s ACT map and trail website; including the crib trail north of the gymnasium. Zach GPSd the alignment recently and found the existing trail encroaches on La Vina homeowners assn property. County needs to pursue an easement to consider the trail official. Also need to coordinate with County legal department on current state of lawsuits.

d. Ongoing closure of the Pinecrest Gate. Zach reports that his Department is going to recommend to Pasadena Water and Power the removal of Pinecrest gate and reestablishment of uninhibited access for pedestrians, bicycles and horses. This group wants to ensure anything built there will be suitable for horses to pass through. This group prefers removal of the gate, to prevent any restriction of access by nonmotorized trail users.

e. Lincoln Avenue Roadside route from Loma Alta Park South to Altadena drive and from there to Hahamongna Watershed Park; Enhance safety for trail users as well as Aveson Charter Schoolchildren on their daily group walks to and from Loma Alta Park adjacent to traffic on Lincoln. DPW Roads Division was consulted about Lincoln Ave bridge. Possible alternatives include: Wayfinding signs, combining sidewalk and trail. No easy way to provide a trail along the shoulder; not enough room for both recreation easement and road right of way. DPW is considering sidewalk access on east side. This group would like to see a DG path on the east side, suitable for horses and people. There is an empty lot and a drainage that may provide an opportunity for a new trail to get kids and horses off the road, ending behind Aveson school.

f. Proposed Shady Lane connection to the ACT along Loma Alta under existing trees to improve safety for trail and park users, including crosswalk improvements at Sunset Ridge Road. Field visit a few weeks ago. Department agrees with recommendations to make this trail official. Met with flood control district, and they are receptive to having the trail. Development division is doing a conceptual plan. Concept plan will be brought to this group before implementation. Concept plan is a month away, possibly next meeting. Will need to amend Parks Dept. use agreement with Flood Control to expand Loma Alta trailhead staging area to include Shady Lane trail. Funding has not been identified.

B. Restore full equestrian use and amenities to Loma Alta Equestrian Park, Trailhead and Staging Area.

a. Remove signs excluding horses from south side of the Equestrian park where the bathroom and drinking fountains are located. Discuss re-opening of small restroom at Trailhead & Staging Area on north side of Loma Alta.

b. Replace dead trees in the Loma Alta Park Trailhead & Staging Area, including the recently killed White Alder (only trunk stum remains). Require adequate care for new and existing shade trees.

c. Move concrete picnic tables out of direct sun to shade under trees or provide shade armadas over the tables. Tables are no longer shaded and are hazardously hot during the day. Need a site visit at the right time of day (noon).

7. Other Old Business

1) Hahamongna. City of Pasadena maps showed County-owned easements in Hahamongna, but County does not have all easement records, and not all easements are on assessor’s maps. Zach spoke to Lauren Pluth, City of Pasadena. He has no issue with County trails in the park. The county would like to make a formal agreement with the City. Will figure out what type of agreement is needed to ensure the future of the County trails in Hahamongna in perpetuity. Potential for a trail junction hub was brought up, but Pasadena has little interest in the project, despite Rosa Laveaga’s initial enthusiasm. This group needs to decide where such a junction would go and advocate for it.

8. Other New Business

1) Camera that was at intersection of Rubio and Camp Huntington trail is no longer there.

9. Review of Task List for next meeting

1) Steve to get MWBA USFS MOU copy for County.

2) Lori to send County Biologist contact info to Zach.3) Lori and Marietta will meet with Lauren, Rosa and Zach to discuss Hahamongna Trail Hub.

4) Organize site visit to determine where to move two picnic tables in Loma Alta Park.

5) Zach to send Marietta parcel number and/or easement description for La Vina

10. Upcoming Events:  The next ACTRWG meeting falls on Tuesday, 2017 August 8 (2nd Tuesday of each month, unless cancellation is announced, 7pm at the Altadena Community Center).

11. Adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

March 2017 Meeting Minutes

Altadena Crest Trail Restoration Working Group (ACTRWG) Steering Committee
…from Arroyo Seco to Eaton Canyon

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 DRAFT Agenda
Altadena Community Center, 730 E Altadena Dr., Altadena, California

0. Attendees: Steve Messer, Marietta Kruells, Mitch Marich
1. Desired Adjournment time for this meeting? 8 pm
2. Decision on meeting Secretary & recorder of action items. Steve Messer will serve as secretary.
3. Review Minutes and action items from December meeting. Minutes were approved without
4. County/City/U.S. Government announcements: No reports. Check with Dennis about returning
to meeting. His presence is needed.
5. Any serious new trail conditions or problems: CORBA/MWBA removed downed trees from
Gabrielino, Sunset Ridge and Sunset Ridge. Mitch has inspected the trail from Eaton Canyon to
Zane Gray and from Cobb Estate to Canon, and from Chaney Trail to Sunset Ridge Road since the
big storms. Both the easternmost and westernmost segments have serious erosion, deep ruts,
undermined drains and slides that partially block the trail. Major maintenance is needed. Bench
above Cobb Estate has been repainted, hiding graffiti.

6. Current Tasks:

a. Major Objectives for 2017

i. Construct La Vina Trails.
ii. Construct Rubio Canyon Gateway trails.
iii. Re-Grading to new County standards on vulnerable trail segments
iv. Restore Crib Trail Segment N. of Gymnasium
v. Restore driveable-in-emergency fire road from Millard Campground to the top
of Lincoln Ave.
vi. Remove encroachment at 3636 Skylane Drive on Canon. Update: the trail is
being blocked by sweepings from the property owner’s stable.
vii. Get 200’ fence in compliance from segment of ACT above Windfall Ave. No
viii. Create well-marked and publicized trail hub/junction in Hahamongna
Watershed Park.

b. Ongoing projects:

i. Acquire Easement to close Skylane Gap from Penny’s barn to Fair Oaks Ave
(through Zorthian property) ii. Restore driveable-in-emergency Brown Mountain fire road from top of Lincoln
to Arroyo Seco ranger residence
iii. Remove “dropped” (abandoned) pipe on Chaney Trail, from Coulter reservoir to
Chaney Trail. Does not have a County easement, unknown if it is a FS trail:
LAWC Board meeting coming up. Suggestion to attend the board meeting.
iv. Replace dying Coulter Pines at the Loma Alta staging area.
v. Sign trails for “no hunting”
vi. Open Pinecrest gate to the public 24/7
vii. Restore water amenities and trough at West. Coulter Reservoir

7. Other Old Business.
8. Other New Business.
9. Review of task list for the next meeting.
Task List carried from previous meeting: Lori will call Graham about LAWC pipeline. Robert E. to
look for Skylane gap easement in Sapphos report. Marietta will connect Arron and Rosa to
discuss Hahamonga Hub. Suggest attending Hahamonga Watershed Park Advisory Council
10. Upcoming events: The next ACTRWG meeting falls on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.
11. Adjourned at 7:25.

October 12, 2016 – ACRTWG Meeting Minutes

Altadena Crest Trail Restoration Working Group (ACTRWG) Steering Committee

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 DRAFT Minutes

Altadena Community Center

1. In attendance: Mitch Marich, Robert Staehle, Lori Paul, Steve Messer, Marietta Kruells, Robert Ettleman (LA County), Arron Tschida (trail runner).

2. Desired Adjournment Time:  7:45. Steve Messer will serve as secretary.

3. Review minutes from September 13, 2016 meeting. Minutes were not available for review.

4. Los Angeles County:  Robert Ettleman displayed a photo of the ACT at Canon Blvd, near the Village Playgarden. They were encroaching on the ACT easement, and an adjacent property. Lori has notified Sussy Nemer. Robert will send a letter to the property owner. Were considering an “end of county maintained trail” sign, but easement continues.

USFS:  Pilot program shuttle service from Arcadia Gold Line Station to Chantry was well-utilized over the past three weekends carrying over 100 people per day.

5. Trail conditions. No new problems reported. Steve surveyed the Gabrielino for trailwork. The Forest Botanist must wait until spring next year before she can survey the trail and sign off on the work. Chaney Trail connector to the ACT with Lincoln Avenue Water Company does not have a county easement. Erosion along the pipe is worsening.

6, A. Fire Season road maintenance. Maintenance budgets are being cut, and fewer roads will be maintained in the coming fiscal year.

B. Re-grading of ACT. Over the past few meetings segments of the ACT have been identified where a small amount of maintenance will prevent major damage in the coming winter. Suggestion to use the County trails web site to report problems and maintenance needs. Trail maintenance is reactive, no maintenance plan exists. County is trying to establish a maintenance plan and increase funding for maintenance.
C. Chainlink Fence. No new reports.
D. DPW Devil’s Gate Reservoir sediment removal.  No new reports.
E. La Vina Litigation:  Trail alignments have been determined, including line of demarcation between what SMMC will own and La Vina Homeowners will own. There is to be a conservation easement owned by the SMMC, on land owned by the LVHA, between the proposed trail and the homeowners. Land on the other side of the trail will go to SMMC.
F. Rubio Canyon Gateway trail planning. County has expended funds towards three property owners, acquiring easements; an overlay easement from MRCA. They are asking for an easement from AFC as well. The proposals would remove four street crossings that don’t have crosswalks. Also trying to get an easement from Rubio Cañon Water Company.
G. Pinecrest Gate: No new reports.
H. Old Crib Trail.  Robert presented a draft letter regarding the Old Crib Trail, asking for it to be put back on the trail map and signed. People are using it, though it does not have official trail status. Should be signed “Crib Trail.”  Related, the bathroom is usually locked, but could easily be opened by Loma Alta park staff. Motion made to approve the letter, with the addition of explanatory maps by Steve, approved unanimously.

I. Loma Alta Trailhead & Staging Area. No new reports.
Old Business:  Draft a letter regarding the Lincoln Ave Water Company pipe on Chaney trail to Ranger Blount.

New Business: San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Management Plan public comment period was extended until November 1st. Collaborative comments will be shared for review with this group.

This Thursday, McDonalds at Lincoln and Woodbury will be a Coffee with the Captain Vicki Stuckey, Altadena Sherrifs Captain.

Task List:

Robert will send a letter to the property owner encroaching on the ACT at Canon Blvd.
Lori and Rob to add a map to the letter before sending.
Get comments on the Draft Collaborative letter to Steve.

Task List carried from previous meeting:  Mitch to complete maintenance needs report for Olga.

Marietta: Send a written request to reinstate the Crib Trail into the County’s trail inventory, and bring it back up to County trail standards. Include that we were promised a route around what is now the site of the Gymnasium on the west side of Sunset Ridge Road.

Steve: Draft a letter regarding the Lincoln Ave Water Company pipe on Chaney trail to Ranger Blount.

Upcoming Events: Next ACTRWG meeting will be Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at the Altadena Community Center. November meeting will be cancelled due to election day.
Meeting adjourned at: 8:12 p.m.

April 2016 Meeting Minutes

Altadena Crest Trail Restoration Working Group (ACTRWG) Steering Committee

…from Arroyo Seco to Eaton Canyon

Tuesday 2016 April 12 (Yuri Gagarin Day), 7:00 PM meeting at Altadena Community Center (730 E Altadena Dr.)

DRAFT Minutes

  1. Attendees: Dennis Merkel, USFS, Rob Staehle, Olga Ruano (LA County), Mariettan Kruells, Steve Messer, Lori Paul, Kevin Singleton

2. Desired adjournment time for this meeting? 8:00 pm.

3. Decision on meeting Secretary & Recorder of Action Items. Steve Messer will take minutes.

4. Review Minutes and Action Items from March meeting. March minutes were approved with a correction to the date posted.

5. County / City / U.S. Government Announcements of any items not covered later on agenda.

County will be hosting a “mutli-use trails day” on June 4th at Pathfinder Park in Rowland Heights.  Dennis Merkel announced California Trails Day this Saturday will work on Slide Mountain trail in the Santa Clara Mojave district. Agents of Discovery app has been released by the Forest Service at Vogel Flat with a theme of Pollinators in the Environment, an educational game/app that is already in use at Chilao and Grassy Hollow visitor center. The Forest Service will eventually have 75 sites around the U.S. included in the App.

6. Any serious new trail conditions or problems requiring immediate attention (firsthand reports strongly preferred; photos much appreciated)?

Steve, Mitch and Mike McGuire cut a downed oak tree from El Prieto trail.  Ken Burton trail will be opened to the public at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 1st as a part of the MWBA Pancake Breakfast.  CORBA and MWBA have been restoring the trail for the past six months, and expect to complete work on April 17th.

On March 22, Mitch saw the ACT and reported that ACT is getting overgrown, especially one section east of the water tank. No county work recently. A significant landslide above Skyview drive did not block the trail at that time.  Hans Ghekere worked on the section near the private gate above Eaton Canyon at the east end but the undermined drain I have already reported is getting worse. Also, there is a long reach of in-sloped trail near Eaton Canyon where the collected flow is eating across the whole tread.

7. Current Tasks

i. Tentative plan for expanded child care facility along ACT, 3636 Skylane Drive.

Lori Paul reports that there is nothing new to report. The validity of current permits are being verified

ii. Re-grading to new County standards for erosion control on vulnerable ACT segments.

Thank you Pasadena for west end of ACT into Hahamongna! One segment of the trail has been restored at the end of Altadena Drive by the City of Pasadena. The trail has been repaired, graded and compacted, but have not included any drainage along the segment of trail. Fence was replaced and extended. We are wondering why the boulders were removed. Olga will check with the trail maintenance crew to see if there is anything scheduled for the ACT.  No reports on the removal of the Lincoln Ave water company pipes from the Chaney Trail connector.

iii. Millard Canyon:  Graffiti removal; restore natural rocks after tagging painted out by County crew?

We now have a campground host at Millard, he is living in a tent. Working to remove the old trailer from the site. Problem is that we need to get equipment to remove the trailer from the site to where it can be picked up by a metal recycler. Law enforcement considers it Lonnie’s responsibility (former camp host). On the 19th the FS dozer operator will move it to the parking lot to be dismantled. New Host is Keith Ping. Volunteers have attempted to remove the graffiti from the area, but it was difficult to remove, so they painted over some of it.

iv. Any update re: New fence erected along ~200-foot segment of ACT above Windfall Ave (E. of Rubio Gap and Stonehill). Fence 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.

Olga reported that aerial imagery shows that the fence is encroaching on the trail easement. They are planning to send a letter to the property owner stating that he needs to remove the fence from the trail easement. Nobody has contacted the property owner directly; this group feels personal contact would be a good first step. Fence appears to be on two different parcels, both of whom need to be contacted to determine why they put up the fence, and what can be done to ease their concerns. County and Forest Service need to coordinate efforts. First step is to send them a friendly, non-demanding letter requesting them to remove the fence from the easement. Fence was erected on top of a small retaining wall structure that may have been part of the trail. No fencing permits are required for a fence 6’ or less that is not a retaining wall.

v. 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

Altadena Heritage newsletter is going to include a story discussing the creation of a four-way trail junction site in Hahamongna.

vi. La Vina litigation resolved: update & resumption of trail planning. Marietta Kruells, Olga Ruano / LA County

No new reports.

vii. Rubio Cyn Gateway trail planning status / discussion with AFC. Olga Ruano / LA County

A geotechnical report has been done for a proposed trail alignment through the AFC property, and the County is waiting for the AFC to get back to them on the proposed easement. Samir Etman sold the property with a condition that an easement for the ACT would eventually be granted. There are current rumors of a gate being considered at the Mt. Lowe Railway right of way trail, access to Rubio Canyon. The County needs to be proactive in preventing a gate from being installed at this location.

viii. Update on locked Pinecrest Gate.

New sign on the back side of the Pinecrest Gate that says “If locked inside call county Sherriff.”

Existing county ordinances prohibit smoking, trash, alcohol, shooting, hunting, etc from County parks, which include trails. Trails that access the Forest should not be closed. County asserts that trails close at Sunset, yet people have been using the trails after dark for decades. Enforcement of existing ordinances is needed, not a gate keeping honest trail users out.

Olga has produced a map showing the gate is on County DPW property. Olga will check with DPW to see if they have any claim over the gate. County Parks needs to look into an MOU with the DPW.

8. Other Old Business

Nothing new to report.

9. Other New Business

10. Review of Task List for next meeting.

  • Olga to check on trail maintenance crew schedule to see if ACT is on the schedule.
  • 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.

11. Upcoming Events: The next ACTRWG meeting falls on Tuesday, 2016 May 10 (2nd Tuesday of each month, unless cancellation is announced, 7pm at the Altadena Community Center).

15. Adjourned at 8:16 pm.