San Gabriel Valley Tribune

San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 09/04/2010 08:40:05 PM PDT

Volunteer Now! Volunteer group restoring trails damaged by Station and Morris fires
By Linda Fields Gold, Staff Writer

It would be hard to live in our San Gabriel Valley and not realize that it is just past the one year anniversary of the terrible Station and Morris fires. How frightening it was to look up and see that deep orange glow and black smoke in the mountains and the brooding and gloomy skies, even in the daytime.

"The San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders is an all-volunteer public service organization dedicated to constructing and maintaining hiking trails in the San Gabriel Mountains' Angeles National Forest."

The SGMTB works all year in the San Gabriel River District area. This huge area extends from the 5 Freeway corridor near Frazier Park to Mt. San Antonio Canyon.

For more than 25 years, this group of friends and acquaintances has met on alternate Saturdays to help the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service has a list of what needs to be worked on and the SGMTB also makes suggestions. And groups in Los Angeles or Orange counties, such as the Boy Scouts or those wishing to become Eagle Scouts, frequently call and get involved on a weekend, too.

The core group is about 10 members and for a special project, the group is likely to increase to several dozen.

The SGMTB is made up of men and women of all ages. They must be prepared for heavy physical labor. Training will occur on that day's job and equipment will be supplied.

At this time, the Trailbuilders are specifically working to restore trails in the Station Fire area. They meet on the first, third and fifth Saturdays of each month.

Carpools depart promptly at 8 a.m. Bring your lunch and at least two quarts of water. Work gloves and lug-soled shoes, please. (Lug-sole shoes can come from many sources, ranging from Wal-Mart to Cole Haan and have very sturdy work soles.) A volunteer younger than 18 must have written consent from his or her parent or guardian.

Logic suggests that the work will be hard and dirty, but there is a sense of accomplishing something important that many in the community can enjoy. Also, one learns to build rock walls, steps, what to do about tree stumps, and how to grade a trail so that it is less likely to erode. Where else could you learn those things?

If this volunteer opportunity seems like something you would like to learn more about and perhaps join, please call 626-303-1078. For this column, I spoke with Ben White and visited the website.

Send information about your organization to or call 626-962-8811, ext. 2252, or fax to 626-856-2758.

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