The Angeles National Forest, covering 650,000 acres, is one of the few remaining open space areas in southern California. As such, it is an important part of the overall health and well being of the area population -- providing solitude from the everyday stress of modern living, a place to conduct research, a haven for wildlife, and offers a wide variety of recreation opportunities. The Forest hosts visitors from around the world and provides a scenic backdrop for the larger Los Angeles population. The forest service manages the watersheds within its boundaries to provide valuable water to southern California and to protect surrounding communities from catastrophic floods. These are lands as diverse in appearance and terrain as it is in the opportunities it provides for enjoyment.
Within the forest, extremely rugged and scenic terrain ranging in elevation from about 1,600 feet to 8,200 feet predominates in San Gabriel Mountains. Dense thickets of chaparral in the low country yield to mixed pine and fir-covered slopes and ridge tops, which rise in turn to majestic peaks and meadows rich with varied vegetation typical of a high desert forest. A variety of wildlife lives in the higher elevations.
Our service project is removal of invasive Spanish broom plants in a proposed wilderness area of the San Gabriel Mountains near Pacoima Canyon and Mount Gleason. These hearty interplopers thrive after fire, and this part of the San Gabriels was burnt in the large Station Fire of 2009. They're out-competing native vegetation and we're volunteering to help the biology team on the Angeles NF to eradicate them. The work is on steep slopes and requires digging tools to root them out. We'll also spend some time on the project gathering native seeds which will ultimately be used to promote re-growth of natural conditions. On our day off we may hike up to nearby Mount Gleason to experience magestic views over the area. Our camp is a designated site, with running water and toilets, high in the San Gabriels, so camping is in vehicles or in tents. This project was recommended by our partners at The Wilderness Society in southern California.