Fire officials raise fire danger level to “Very High”

June 30, 2018

The following is a press release from the Angeles National Forest…

”ARCADIA, Calif. — Effective Friday, June 29, 2018 the Fire Danger Level will be raised to “Very High” across the Angeles National Forest. With annual grasses cured, temperatures rising, relative humidity dropping and fire activity across the state increasing, fire management officials have decided to raise the fire danger level.

Elevating the fire danger enhances public awareness that wildfire probability increases as temperatures rise and brush dries out. Despite the change, there are no new campfire restrictions. Open wood and charcoal fires will still be permitted in approved “developed” campgrounds and picnic areas where a steel ring or stoves are provided. Propane or jellied gas stoves and grills are permitted in non-developed areas with a valid California Campfire Permit. Smoking is allowed in enclosed vehicles or developed recreation sites only. Drivers in the forest should stay on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass, to avoid the risk of starting a fire. Human-caused wildfires account for 94 percent of all wildfires on the Angeles National Forest, which damage natural resources and threaten lives and property.

This Fourth of July holiday get outdoors and enjoy your National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains Monument while being fire safe. Remember all fireworks are prohibited on all national forest system lands. The possession or use of fireworks, including the “safe and sane” variety, is prohibited at all times in the Angeles under federal law. Forest fire patrols during the Fourth of July week will strictly enforce the “no fireworks” policy. A violation of the law can result in a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail. Also, anyone causing a wildfire is liable for all costs of suppressing the fire.”

You can download a PDF of this press release here.

Forest Closed Due to Fire Dangers

December 7, 2017

The Angeles National Forest is under a full forest closure as of Thursday, December 7th. This means only residents and permittees can come into the forest. The US Forest Service has patrols across the forest to insure that no one is hiking or biking in the forest. This will definitely go through Friday, but we are hearing that the red-flag alert may go through Saturday, December 9th. We are trying to get more information. In the meantime, be aware that hiking may be off your plans for the weekend.

Wilson Fire Update #1

October 18, 2017

The following was posted to Facebook by Pasadena Now:

UPDATED 2:45 pm: As the Mt. Wilson Fire Remains Uncontained, Closures to Remain in Effect in and around Mt. Wilson Observatory, Communication Towers

The U.S. Forest Service has closed several trails and parks around the Mt. Wilson area and will continue the closure through the weekend due to the wildfire near the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

Currently, the Santa Anita Canyon trails are closed, as well as Eaton Canyon and Hodges and Spruce Grove campgrounds.

Punky Moore, public affairs officer for the Angeles National Forest, said the fire was 25 percent contained as of today. So far the fire has burned approximately 50 acres of the Angeles National Forest, as firefighters from different jurisdictions struggle to contain and prevent the flames from damaging the Mt. Wilson Observatory and communication towers on the mountain.

Moore said they hope the wind doesn’t shift which could possibly further delay containment and endanger the observatory and communication towers on the mountain. However, they are cautious about this weekend’s forecast.

“All of the closures that we have right now are going to extend through the weekend. And that’s for Firefighter and Public safety,” Moore continued, “and that’s in consideration of the Santa Ana winds and the the forecast that we’re seeing through the weekend as well. I think any time we see the winds being forecasted to pick up and those Santa Ana winds, we want to just stay on the side of caution through the weekend, because of the increased visitation that we normally get through the weekend. So we just want to keep people out of harm’s way and keep the Firefighters safe while we get through the weekend.”

The U.S. Forest Service continues to receive help from other agencies in containing the fire and preventing further damage or injury. Moore said the Bureau of Land Management is helping, as well as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Altogether, about 300 personnel from different agencies – including the Pasadena Fire Department – their equipment, and 10 aircraft are involved in the effort to contain the Mt. Wilson fire, Moore said.

Lisa Derderian, Spokesperson of the Pasadena Fire Department, said they sent a water tender from the department to help in the fire-control effort.

“We sent our water tender but he was released about an hour ago,” Derderian said Wednesday morning.

To combat the fire Moore said they use a multi-pronged approach.

“We did have several aircrafts helping us yesterday and those were air tankers and the helicopters and fixed wing aircrafts. Moore explained, “So the person in charge up there is the incident commander and they’re the ones that start making the plan for how to attack a particular incident. So that happened out on the ground.”

Video courtesy Angeles National Forest via Twitter

Please Help Wild Mountain Mystics

August 5, 2017

Wild Mountain Mystics playing at Adams Pack Station

Wild Mountain Mystics playing at Adams Pack Station

Southern California musical duo and San Gabriel Mountain enthusiasts, Wild Mountain Mystics, have suffered a tragedy. They have lost both of their cars, equipment, and instruments in a fire. Their insurance is not going to cover much of the loss. As these items are part of their livelihood, this is even more of a loss. The Friends of the San Gabriels has donated $1000 toward their recovery.

Please visit to make a donation by entering the email address

Donate Here

Pilot Shuttle Program Coming to Chantry Flat

September 22, 2016

Chantry Flat Parking Lot - Photo by Leo Jarzomb, SGV Tribune/ SCNG

Photo by Leo Jarzomb, SGV Tribune/ SCNG

The U.S. Forest Service, in reaction to criticism of its management plan (pdf) for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument that not enough concession was made for accessing recreation sites, has launched a pilot shuttle program. Chantry Flat, being one of the most popular access points, was selected as the destination of the trial runs. This is a collaborative effort with the non-governmental organization CarLess California, from whom the Forest Service has received a grant for the project.

Three 18 passenger vans will pick up and drop off hikers from the REI Sporting Goods parking lot adjacent the Arcadia Gold Line train station. Runs will be made at 30 to 45 minute intervals, the approximate round trip driving time, plus time to on load and off load. The first trip will begin at 7:00 a.m. and the last shuttle will be leaving Chantry Flat at 4:00 p.m.

Stop by the pack station before your hike for maps, water and hiking snacks. And, as always, we’ll refuel you after your hike with fresh grilled panini sandwiches and cheese burgers, hot french fries and cold drinks. If you come on Sunday, enjoy our concerts starting at 12:00 noon.

The shuttle will be operating on the following weekends…

  • September 24 – September 25
  • October 1 – September 2
  • October 8 – October 9

REI is located at 214 N Santa Anita Ave, Arcadia at Santa Clara St. (MAP).

Pack Train Still Serves Remote Mountain Areas

January 31, 2016

The following article was reprinted in the February, 2016 newsletter for Angeles National Forest volunteers.

MERCY CALL - L.E. Adams calls rescue crew, frequent task when trouble occurs in the mountain camps

MERCY CALL – L.E. Adams calls rescue crew, frequent task when trouble occurs in the mountain camps

Source: Los Angeles Times
Date: March 18, 1953
Pages: A6

ARCADIA, March 17- The Last pack train in the Angeles National Forest, and said to be one of the few general service pack trains left in the Old West, is run by Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Adams and their son Bill out of Chantry Flats.

With Mabel, a stout Jenny as lead animal, four horses and five burros, the station packs in as far away as Chilao, 19 miles back. The train is responsible for four camps, Sturdevant, Fern, Ivy and Bon Accord, and serves a total of 143 cabins, some of which are occupied year around.

Varied Freight

In addition to groceries, which the occupants of the cabins have brought up to Chantry Flats by car from 2500 feet down below. Bill Adams, who handles the pack train, carries in butane, gasoline and coal-oil for lights, lumber for new buildings — anything anybody wants or needs. One of his trickiest jobs was packing in a television set for Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gick up Big Santa Anita Canyon.

The history of packing in the Sierra Madre range dates back to the 1880’s. The old trail started at the east boundary of Sierra Madre. In 1937 the paved highway from Santa Anita Ave., which is the northern extension of Double Drive in Arcadia, was completed to Chantry. Most of the 143 cabins, many with five and six rooms, were built prior to that time, and lumber for them had to be carried in by pack train.

Aid Injured

The sorrows and the joys of the mountain range come to the pack station door. Because hikers have parked their cars there, they return to the station for aid when there has been an accident. Seventeen persons have been “pulled out” of the mountains by rescuers in the last 18 months.

The Forest Rangers, the Adams, Sheriff’s Posse No. 5 and the Sierra Madre Rescue Squad work together as a team. The Sheriff’s Air Patrol also helps. The members of the rescue squad are trained mountain climbers, adept in moving a body twisted and torn by compound fractures after a fall down a steep cliff, in rescue litters.

The Adams have a list of 20 numbers to call for help and the rescue groups have a fan-out system by which they take up the call as soon as one of the members is reached.

Fire Protection

Eight telephones, all leading into the ranger station or connecting with the Adams telephone, give fire protection. Eight portable pump stations are at the telephone locations. Big Santa Anita has been lucky, however, and has not had a fire of any consequence since 1896.

The State Fish and Game Commission keeps the canyon streams stocked with trout and the only way to get them into the streams is by pack. Transported 100 miles or more from the State hatchery at Victorville by tank truck, the young trout are transferred to small tanks which are loaded onto Mabel and her burro friends by Bill Adams and his helper, Riley Herrick. Then they packed two and one-half miles upstream where they are turned loose by the rangers into the clear cool spring waters that ripple down toward Big Santa Anita Dam.

Four Camps

Ivy camp is run by the Rev. Elmer Nelson, pastor of the Bethel Community Church of Duarte, Fern Lodge is owned by the YMCA, Sturdevant Camp is owned by the Methodist Church and Bon Acord is owned by the Girl Scouts of San Gabriel and is not open to the public. Year-round residents lease their land from the government and own their cabins. A cabin may be bought for as little as $500 on up to fancier ones with fireplaces at $1200.

Commentary from the Forest Service:

There have been a lot of changes in the last 63 years

  • $1.00 in 1953 had the same buying power as $8.79 in 2016
  • Ivy Camp (Bethel Community Church) – 1954 the Camp reverted back to LeRoy Haynes who had owned it before. But, with the loss of the dining hall due to the 1953 fire, it eventually shut down, but I cannot find a specific date. It became Hoegee’s Campground at some after it shut down.
  • Fern Lodge (YMCA) Sold to the los Angeles Presbytery in 1956, but shut down in 1960 and the improvements removed.
  • Bon Accord (girl Scouts) Sold to Brad Bryce in 2004 or 2005 and converted to the residential recreation permit rather than an org camp. Sold to the Woods about 4 years ago.
  • Sturdevant Camp Sold to “The Friends of the San Gabriels” who have been working diligently since April 2015 to provide some improvements (new out door chairs, fuel reduction, inside painting) and marketing.
  • Within a few months of this newspaper article, the 1953 fire will have destroyed numerous cabins, portions of Fern Lodge and the main dining hall at Ivy Camp. By 1954, there were only 94 cabins left in the Big Santa Anita Canyon.
  • During the early 1960’s the Chantry Flats check dams were constructed. The U.S. Forest Service and Los Angeles County Flood Control District teamed up to engineer and construct these Lincoln Log type structures in many of the front country canyons of the Angeles National Forest. These structures were designed to keep the stream bed’s ever-moving alluvium “in check” with hopes of reducing the accumulation of sand and rock in the Big Santa Anita’s reservoir further down canyon. The paved fire road that you begin your descent down into Robert’s Camp is the beginning of the construction road that was bull dozed all the way past Sturtevant Camp.
  • The State Fish and Game Commission no longer stocks trout in many of the canyon streams due to the impact on species and habitats affected by hatchery-raised rainbow trout.

However the crank phone system

The crank phone being used by L.E. Adams in the newspaper article is still in operation. This phone is part of the largest remaining crank system in the United States (some say the world). There are over 4 miles of wire connecting the pack station, Sturtevant Camp, 9 emergency call boxes and cabins in between.

Chantry Road Closed 09/29/2015 to 10/02/2015

September 29, 2015

The road to Chantry Flat will be closed for road repairs.  The County hopes to open the road by Friday October 2, 2015 but it may remain closed through the end of Friday.  The public can hike on the road but should be careful as the road is not closed to residents or cabin owners.

Sturtevant Camp is Under New Ownership & Management

April 21, 2015

Ranger Cabin & SignFriends of the San Gabriels, in partnership with Adams’ Pack Station, is pleased to announce that they have completed the purchase of historic Sturtevant Camp. The USFS permit is pending two administrative items but we have the approval and that is really the most important part. So, what are our next steps? Here is a summary:

We successfully raised $75,000 which allowed for the purchase and requirement of two years of operating capital. Unfortunately, that does not include any contingency for repairs, maintenance, improvements, or an on-going drought. All of you were very generous with your donations and I do not want ask you for more. We need to determine how to reach out to potential donors outside of this circle and I am looking to you to provide suggestions. The one suggestion that we have had repeatedly is crowd-funding. I have researched just about every funding site and have determined that at this point in our fundraising we are beyond the feasibility of using those services. In essence what these sites do is provide a means to reach out to family, friends, and beyond regarding a project. That is what we did through our website and email. We only incurred a little over 3% fees whereas the best fee structure I found was a little over 7%. What I believe we need are larger benefactors and/or corporate sponsors. Does anyone have any idea how to go about this? This is completely outside of my knowledge base.

For those of you who donated and were identified, I will start working on getting out your receipts as we will no longer need to worry about returning the funds due to the sale not going through.

We have determined that it would be best to move the Camp out from under the Friends of the San Gabriels as there has been some concern expressed that there may be a conflict between Adams’ Pack Station (Burcon Outfitters, Inc.) and FSG. Also, we (Sue and I) foresee a time when we will need to step back from the project and the Camp needs to continue under good stewardship. Therefore, we are in the process of incorporating a new non-profit called the Sturtevant Conservancy. Initially, the Board of Directors will consist of Sue and I. However, in a short period we will want to expand the BoD. Unfortunately, due to some recent events we are going to be very careful who will be placed in this decision making role.

Work, work, work… Yep, we still have a lot of work to do at the Camp. Some urgent projects include: re-pipe the sewage drainage from the manager’s cabin. The toilet is current not functioning. The potable tank and the poly tank (the two water tanks we have) need to be plumbed together to allow for alternating which tank is drawn from. This is primarily to resolve an issue with chlorinating that continues to be re-filled by the ground water. It will also allow up to access both tanks to get us through June. Who out there is a plumber or is very familiar with plumbing who can help with this? Next, the micro-hydro pond needs to be dug out. We are having very little water flow already as the ground water is starting to sink under the surface. The raking needs to be completed.

Hosts: The current boot squad has done a fantastic job putting together check lists and laminated instructions for hosts. We will be expanding upon this and providing training sessions. We are targeting late June for this as the Camp will most likely have insufficient water to have guests. As a host you will be asked to learn things like running the generator, how to provide an orientation to guests, how the propane system and water system works, and we will be planning to have a wilderness first aid class so that everyone is certified in CPR and first aid. Let me know if you are interested.

-Deb Burgess
Adams’ Pack Station

Take a guided tour…

2015 Anniversary Party

April 5, 2015

Join Us on Sunday, April 19th

Bill Adams

Bill Adams

Adams’ Pack Station will hold its annual anniversary party, now celebrating 79 years in operation. As always, this also kicks off our live music series. This year we will have live music EVERY Sunday until the middle of October. You should not miss our line up this year. For the 19th, we will enjoy great music by:

(For other concerts, check out the music schedule)

Eric & Monica

Eric & Monica

Have you been waiting all year for the famous Eric’s pulled pork? Wait no longer. Eric and his lovely wife Monica will be here with the treat everyone wants. Don’t miss out. And as usual, we will have fresh-grilled burgers & fries, hot dogs and hot links, veggie options, and ice cold beer.

Write Up on KCET Blog

January 28, 2015

Friends of the San Gabriels Mount Fundraising Efforts to Save Historic Sturtevant Camp

“All I need is 200 people to donate $100 each,” announced a petite woman in a bright green t-shirt, perched atop a wooden bench, smoke rising from the fire pit in front of her.

Sturtevant Camp

Sturtevant Camp

Our host for the day was Deb Burgess, owner of the general store and lunch spot Adam’s Pack Station, at the Chantry Flats trailhead at the Big Santa Anita Canyon area of the Angeles National Forest. Seventy of us arrived by 7:30 on a Sunday morning for what was advertised as a “Hike Into History” (co-hosted by founder Casey Schreiner), but the real purpose of our early morning gathering became abundantly clear: Burgess is raising money to buy Sturtevant Camp, a historic resort founded by Wilbur Sturtevant in 1893. It’s one of the only preserved reminders of the Golden Age of Hiking when women in long Victorian dresses once climbed the San Gabriel Mountains.

“We are here to save this beautiful camp,” proclaimed Burgess.

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