Hiking fans, let me share with you this disturbing email:
“The road to Chantry Flat from Sierra Madre was shut without wanring on Friday (Nov. 23) …” wrote Barbara Ellis. She was caught unaware of this latest, arbitrary closure of the 3-mile road that leads to hiking trails in Big Santa Anita Canyon (just above Sierra Madre and Arcadia).
“I was trying to collect my husband from Chantry Flat after he had hiked there from Shortcut Canyone (where I dropped him off) through the West Ford and over Newcomb Pass. With the road closed, he was faced with an extra 3-mile walk down the road. If we’d known Chantry Flat was closed, he’d never have attempted this hike,” continued Ellis’ e-mail.
The Forest Service have a long and sullied history of closing off access to the forest to hikers. These are the same people who charge a fee (it’s euphemistically called the Adventure Pass) to hike in the federal lands that rim the San Gabriel Valley.
Perhaps there was a closure due to Santa Ana winds and the potential fire danger. But then, with that logic, would it be OK to close the forest whenever there is a fire danger? These days, with global warming, extended droughts, dry brush and a fire season stretching from June – December, that would be half the year or more?
As someone who hiked that 3-mile road (during the 2003-2005 closure), I know how long and steep it is. The good news is, Ellis’ husband — and their dog — was saved by the Santa Anita dam operator who drove up the road and fetched them, giving them a ride down.
Continued Ellis’ e-mail: “The closure was certainly causing chaos at the bottom of the hilll — there was a constant stream of cars turning around and many disappointed hikers. One organized hike had to be cancelled …”
It’s too bad that on a day when many were off from work, a day of hiking had to be cancelled. I’d like the Forest Service hear the disappointment in the voices of those hikers, young and old. Are there any others who are mad about being flattened by the Forest Service for closing Chantry Flat Road?
(Go to this link to learn more about the hikes from the top of Chantry Flat, including the one to Sturtevant Falls.)