In many discussions between different trail user groups, the fact often emerges that we all share many common goals and attitudes about trails. Most trail user groups want to help maintain trails for the benefit of all; they want to minimize damage to our public lands, while preserving recreational access in perpetuity. We want to protect and preserve what precious little open space remains for future generations to enjoy and recreate; we want our children and successors to be able to experience the great outdoors, learn from it, and be inspired by the wonders of nature. We want to see responsible trail use, with mutual respect for other trail users, for wildlife and nature, and for the environment.
Where all these groups sometimes differ is how we choose to enjoy our public lands, and the extent or methods of the protections needed to achieve those goals. Some choose to ride mountain bikes; others prefer to hike, trail run, climb, ride horses, take OHV’s, sail, kayak, camp and and any number of other activities. We all seek the peace of the forest and to escape the city in our great mountains. While there are differences, the common grounds are what should bring us together.
This is nowhere more evident than in the Angeles National Forest, where trails (outside of wilderness areas) are all multi-use. The Forest Service’s multi-use policy fosters cooperation and where needed, compromise between these groups. Every other month volunteers from the LA River Ranger District of the Angeles National Forest gets together with forest officials to be updated on what’s happening in the forest, what each group is working on. We share information and first-hand reports of our accomplishments, our upcoming projects and our observations with each other and Forest Service officials. It’s a great way to coordinate activities, and set up collaborations that further our common goals. Similar meetings take place in other districts in this, and other National Forests.
The various volunteers groups are each passionate about what they do, whether it is acting as campground hosts, patrolling trails, doing trailwork, protecting and documenting forest history, restoring habitat, removing invasive plants, or just disseminating information and respect for the forest among their members and supporters.
Each month intrepid volunteer Guy Kuhn puts together the volunteer newsletter, a summary of the reports and interactions from each of the meetings and gleaned from the web sites of each volunteer group. CORBA reports on our trailwork projects, completed and upcoming, along with fellow IMBA chapter Mount Wilson Bicycling Association. Forest officials give us the inside information on what’s happening in the forest, and what we can expect in the coming months. We learn the fiscal and other challenges faced by the forest, and look for ways to contribute.
The multi-use policy and resulting cooperation between user groups is a win-win for everyone involved. The Forest would be hard-pressed to function without its volunteers.
If you’d like to learn more read the latest volunteer newsletter featuring reports on trailwork projects from CORBA, MWBA, San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders, Mounted Patrol (equestrian), Angeles Mountain Bike Patrol, Sierra Club, Boy Scouts, Forest Lookout association and other groups.