Another Fire near the Ridge Route

It appears yet another fire has begun near the Ridge Route. This time, closer to Reservoir Summit along I-5 at the Vista Del Lago exit. It is moving east and is, at this time, still out-of-control. The #EmigrantFire has the potential to burn the area along the Ridge Route between Reservoir Summit and Kelly’s Halfway Inn. We are hoping this fire doesn’t do any of that for many reasons. A “worst case” scenario for this fire would bring it into Liebre Gulch, which the Ridge Route runs alongside from Reservoir Summit to Sandberg.

Our Twitter account, @ridgeroute99, and our website will again be kept updated as this fire progresses.

#RouteFire Update – 9/13/2021

Things have calmed down quite a bit on the Ridge Route, thanks to the efforts of the fire crews working the #RouteFire. The old Ridge Route was unharmed and was well away from the fire. Per USFS, it appears the reports of trucks once again traveling the Ridge Route were likely people spotting fire crews taking the roadway. They did not get any reports of heavy traffic over the roadway either during the I-5 closure. This is good news. While we do not know if the gates were open before the fire, it looks like efforts by the USFS, County of Los Angeles, and Caltrans to block the roadway through other means during the forest closure were fruitful.

I do wish to reiterate that the Ridge Route, regardless of closure, is not an alternative to I-5. Heavy vehicles should not be traversing the roadway at any time as they can and do damage the historic roadway.

If you see vehicles that should not be on the roadway, such as big rigs and similar commercial traffic, please let us know and we will inform the proper authorities. Make sure to give us where you saw them, what direction, and any description of the vehicle so we can give the best information possible.

Thank you all again for your support f0r the roadway and our organization. We look forward to seeing many of you out there on October 23, 2021 for our next CUTRR event, contingent on the forest closure or other conditions. Should be a lot of fun!

Fire on the Ridge Route – Updated

Finally some good news, mostly. The #RouteFire is mostly out and does not appear to have affected the old Ridge Route. I-5 is open and traffic seems to be flowing smoothly through the area.

There were reports of trucks once again trying to travel the old Ridge Route, which once again likely damaged the roadway. Traveling the roadway during these periods, especially with heavy trucks, can also result in injury or death due to being trapped between stuck trucks and a wildfire. Trucks can easily fall off the roadway, increasing problems for emergency crews trying to fight the fire.

We will be speaking with the Forest Service, California Highway Patrol, and the County of Los Angeles to see what can be done about this continuing problem. We have already made requests to the County for additional signage to discourage such traffic. Every report on social media touting the roadway as open, because someone saw the gates open, only makes the problem worse. The Ridge Route is not an alternate to I-5. It is not built for such traffic, which can cause irreparable damage to the historic roadway. Please, do your part to help stop this problem, however you can. We are indeed working toward having the roadway open on a more regular, seasonal basis. We’d like to have a roadway left to have open.

The Ridge Route, as it was before, is CLOSED from Templin Highway to the Tumble Inn site on a regular basis. The Angeles National Forest, including the Ridge Route, is closed due to increased fire danger until September 17, 2021. This date may be extended, and if it does we will post that information on this site.

September – October 2021 Newsletter

August CUTRR Event

On Saturday, August 28, we held our first 2021 CUTRR event. Each event has a section of roadway to focus on and this one was to remove a large rockslide that occurred in January 2021 below Swede’s Cut. The event was advertised on our website and on our social media accounts. It was a huge success! We had a much larger group than I had expected and we completed our task. The rockslide has been removed and the roadway is clear!

The slide, as it was in February 2021 and what we had to clear.

The big boulder visible took a lot of work to deal with. At first, we worked to break up the boulder, which slowly chipped away at its bulk. We had hoped to break it down yet further but reached a point it was too difficult given our tools and the heat. We decided the best course of action was to move it across the roadway and off the pavement. Between a truck and a jeep with tow straps, we were able to finally drag it off the roadway with minimal damage to the historic pavement below. Eventually, we hope to completely remove the large boulder either by further breaking it up or removing it in its entirety to another location.

Crew at work clearing the slide. Moving the big boulder took some time.
Fossil leaves from the upper Miocene Ridge Route Formation. Found in the slide material.
Almost done clearing the debris. The big boulder is now moved across the road and out of the way.
Roadway cleared and swept.

I want to thank ALL the volunteers that were able to attend. It was really a great and enthusiastic group. We could not have done this without all of you!

A video of the event was also posted on YouTube by one of the participants, Sydney Croasmun.

An additional video with aerial footage was posted by Huck Outdoors.

October CUTRR

We are planning another CUTRR event in October when temperatures will hopefully be cooler, however at this time we do not have a date set. We will be developing a better list for tools similar to a “potluck” for signups. Look for updates coming in the near future. If you would like additional information, have tools or equipment you’d like to offer for use, please let us know!

Roadway Update

The roadway is overall in decent condition but many problematic sections still exist. The northern end from the Liebre Maintenance Camp site to Sandberg has a few larger dirt-covered sections and areas where the culverts are partially clogged. Some sections of 1924-1927 asphalt are also failing. We intend to get work parties up there to rehabilitate the failing asphalt and remove the material on the roadway in the near future.

The roadway does remain closed between the Tumble Inn and just north of Templin Highway. While the gates have been left open, usually by the utility companies working along the road, anyone traveling up there should expect the gates to be locked. If one is unlocked, don’t expect the other to be as well. Please exercise caution along the roadway. We all want to keep the roadway around for the future and everyone can help do their part in ensuring that.

Forest Closure

All National Forests are closed from August 31, 2021 to September 17, 2021 per a recent USFS press release. This includes access to the Ridge Route from Templin Highway to State 138. For detailed information, please see the link below.

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Featured Photo

Curbing just north of Martins

Concrete curbing used to be much more common along the Ridge Route. It was used in places where wooden railing was more difficult to install. As the roadway was realigned, the curbing was removed. Today, very little remains of what once was miles of it. Only four short sections remain today. Those are located at the Callahan Line Change, just north of Martins, Serpentine Drive, and Grapevine.

August 28 CUTRR Event

After many delays and other issues, we will finally be hosting our first Clean Up The Ridge Route (CUTRR) event on Saturday, August 28, 2021. We will be meeting in Castaic in the parking lot of Mike’s Original Diner (31537 Castaic Rd, Castaic, CA 91384) at 8 am and leaving by 8:30 am to the work site. It may be hot, so bring plenty of water and food. Please make sure to carpool as we want to reduce the number of vehicles on the roadway. This CUTRR will concentrate on the large rockslide south of Swede’s Cut and, if there is enough time, Swede’s Cut itself. We will need tools such as picks, shovels, rakes, pruning saw, pole pruner, mattocks, clippers, wheelbarrows, brooms, and a vehicle to haul away materials to our designated disposal site at Reservoir Summit.

Contact us for additional details or if you’d like to RSVP for the event. We look forward to seeing you out there! Let’s get the road cleared!