Since 2016 REI has generously supported the National Forest Foundation’s work on the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument through the REI ReWilding initiative, which promotes access to our public lands for people in large urban and suburban areas like Los Angeles.
Together with our local partners, here are 10 things that our partnership with REI has helped us to accomplish on the Monument.
Mt. Baldy Trail Enhancement and Access Improvement
We worked with the San Gabriel Mt. Trail Builders to purchase and install universal way-finding signage on the 11-mile Mt. Baldy Loop to help guide the diverse users this trail. We also promoted access at the trailhead by constructing a sign kiosk to house a trail map and informational signs and by building a new ADA path to the restrooms.
San Gabriel Mountains Community Collaborative
With guidance from the NFF, this group of diverse community representatives is working to identify, prioritize and advocate for investments, effective management and more efficient and broad implementation of priority projects to sustainably benefit the adjacent communities. Read more about these efforts here.
With REI’s help, we organized and conducted four stewardship opportunities on the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, engaging more than 500 youth and adult volunteers in activities to help care for our public lands.
Oaks Picnic Area Enhancement and Access Improvements
Here we worked with the Watershed Conservation Authority to improve access and reduce impacts to this heavily used area of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River by building safe, pedestrian paths to the river. We installed interpretive signs, new picnic tables, BBQ grills, hot coal bins, trash receptacles, improved the restrooms, and conducted landscaping and vegetation restoration on approximately two acres.
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Blog Contest
This annual contest encourages local writers to tell the world why the San Gabriel Mountains are important to them, with winners taking home great prizes. Check out the past winning entries:
- 1st Annual San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Blog Contest Winner: "Car Window Mountains" by Amy J. Wong.
- 2nd Annual San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Blog Contest Winner: "Slowing Down: My First Sunset in the San Gabriel Mountains" by Michelle Chan
- 3rd Annual San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Blog Contest Winner: "Mountain Bloodline: The San Gabriels" by Bryn Barabas Potter
Crystal Lake Campground and Trails
With the assistance of volunteers, we maintained nearly 10 miles of area trails. We began work to install new universal signage and way-finding maps, and will complete this project in 2018.
We recognize the importance of exposing youth to nature and their public lands and work to get them involved in our projects to improve our National Forests. Through this partnership, REI has supported our work with youth groups including the Conservation Corps of Long Beach and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps.
Bear Canyon Trail Improvements
With the help of the Conservation Corps of Long Beach, we improved the trailhead and three miles of trail. At the trailhead we installed new picnic tables, performed restroom repairs and maintenance, built and installed a sign kiosk and purchased and installed two new interpretive signs.
Increased Public Awareness
REI has amplified our messaging about National Forests, including promoting our It’s All Yours videos made on the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, through sharing on social channels; we have partnered with REI at numerous public events and co-hosted an evening with author Char Miller, where he shared his stories and photographs from his new book America's Great National Forests, Wildernesses, and Grasslands.
Mt. Wilson Observatory Trail Maintenance
With the assistance of volunteers, we conducted five miles of trail maintenance.
In Summer 2018 we will be wrapping up our ReWilding partnership work with more trail improvements and more trailhead enhancements on the Pacific Crest Trail, the Gabrielino National Recreation trail, Cobb Estate Trailhead, Mt. Baden Powell trail, Mine Gulch trail and Mt. Wilson trails.
We will continue facilitating the Collaborative, engaging youth and providing volunteer activities, including a stewardship opportunity on National Public Lands Day - check back here soon to register.
We are grateful to REI for helping us achieve this important work in the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. With REI’s support we are helping visitors to access and enjoy their amazing public lands.