1 | Big Tujunga Canyon Restoration on the Angeles National Forest

Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences

Photo by Daniel Martin

Big Tujunga Canyon Restoration on the Angeles National Forest

Following the destruction of the Station Fire of 2009, the National Forest Foundation partnered with the Forest Service and engaged the local community to restore the Angeles National Forest.

In late August 2009, an arson-caused fire ignited in the Angeles National Forest, just north of the city of Los Angeles. In a few days, the Station Fire grew to become the largest fire in L.A. County’s history, burning more than 161,000 acres or 25 percent of the Angeles National Forest.

The Fire affected four watersheds, decimated forests, and severely damaged both public and private infrastructure. It also severely impacted recreation opportunities for the millions who visit the Angeles National Forest, one of the most urban forests in the country. The Station Fire also damaged riparian areas, burned more than 40,000 acres of tree-covered landscapes, allowed invasive species to take hold, and destroyed recreation infrastructure. The effects of the Fire also brought to light other areas that may be susceptible to additional natural disasters due to climate change.

We are restoring the Big Tujunga watershed by replanting native species and removing invasive plants, such as Arundo that uses five times more water than native vegetation. We have planted native trees across 2,300 acres in the Charlton-Chilao area. We are also working to protect endangered species, such as the Santa Ana sucker and arroyo toad through stream restoration, rerouting trails, and removing small dams. To support the chaparral ecosystem, we will identify and eliminate invasive weeds and restore habitat in areas that have been affected by disturbance.

Because the Angeles National Forest is Los Angeles’ backyard forest, our work is ensuring that millions of L.A. residents have places to play. We are working to restore multiple trails in the forest, such as the Strawberry Peak trail, eliminating user-created trails, and repairing day use facilities—all so that the Forest can continue to provide countless recreational opportunities.

Through our public and private partners, the goals envisioned for the return of healthy watersheds, forests, and habitat for endangered and threatened species along with providing a natural respite for human visitors and wild residents alike, are becoming realities.

In October of 2014, President Obama established the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument on the Angeles National Forest. Given our existing relationship and scope of work on the Forest, we are supporting a range of efforts to support the Monument and engage the city with this special place. Click here to learn more about our efforts.


Dania Gutierrez, Southern California Program Manager, at [email protected]