2021 has been a good year for the Ridge Route and the RRPO. We have accomplished a fair amount this year starting with two CUTRR events resulting in a clearer roadway and a better appreciation for the work we have before us. We intend to have more events in 2022 and, using the knowledge gained from the last two events, we will accomplish even more using better tools. We have also worked to survey the roadway about once a month since we gained access to the closed section. These trips not only offer the opportunity to experience the roadway and take photos, but to review what we need to do to help preserve it. Each time we go up there, we seem to find something new. Sections of original striping, wooden railing, and even some concrete curbing have been found that was thought to have been lost. Each trip is an adventure. It is something we look forward to many more being able to enjoy in the future.
The RRPO continues to have a good working relationship with the USFS, something I intend to use to help the roadway as much as possible. I know things have seemed slow and unchanging, but that isn’t the case. We are currently working with the USFS to develop a plan to reopen the roadway, keep it maintained, and restore the monuments along the roadway. It is frustrating at times but we are persistent and we will prevail. It will be reopened, it will just take time.
Reopening the roadway isn’t as easy as just leaving the gates open. The road surfacing is now over 100 years old and we want to do what we can to ensure it lasts for a long time to come. Reopening the roadway now would not be beneficial to that goal. There are steps that must be taken prior to that point. The concrete has sections where the reinforcing bar is exposed. Asphalt sections are failing. Portions of the roadway are in danger of being washed out. We need to stabilize these sections first before we would feel comfortable in having the roadway open. We are the Ridge Route Preservation Organization and without the Preservation, we’d have no Ridge Route left to protect. Our intention is still to get the roadway reopened as soon as possible, but with some restrictions to help keep the roadway safe. The main restrictions would include having the roadway open only during the dry season to reduce damage to the pavement during the winter months and ensuring overweight vehicles are not allowed on the roadway through the use of additional signage as well as working with mapping companies to reduce the problem. A study is already underway by the County of Los Angeles to potentially restrict trucks along their section of the roadway, initiated by us. Once the roadway is scheduled to reopen, we intend to work on the monuments that have long since faded away along the roadway.
All these things take time, money, and effort. We wish to thank all those that have donated their time, their money, and effort to the Ridge Route and the Ridge Route Preservation Organization. We couldn’t have accomplished what we have so far without your support. We will continue to need that support even after the roadway is open again. Special thanks goes out to Harrison Scott without whom we wouldn’t even be this far. We would also like to thank Ray Kidd with the Angeles National Forest for helping us and guiding us as USFS volunteers.
If you’d like to help with the reopening plan or any other part of the Ridge Route efforts, let us know!