March 2021 Newsletter

Lost section of roadway near the south end. All of the visible roadway from the middle car and below was destroyed in the early 2000’s.

THE 17 MILE DRIVE

Not the famous 17 Mile Drive in Monterey California, I’m referring to the historic 17.6 miles of the original 1915 Ridge Route that provided a direct north/south route over the barrier of the San Gabriel and Techachapi mountains.  This route provided a commercial conduit to connect northern and southern California.  Seventeen point six miles of the original highway lie entirely within the Angeles National Forest and are recorded on the National Register.

The sad thing is it is currently closed to any motorized vehicle. The only legal permitted entry currently is to hike, bicycle or horseback in, but I can assure you the adventure is worth it.   The focus of the Ridge Route Preservation Organization is to preserve this historical landmark and work with Angles National Forest to explore avenues to possibly acquire at least limited vehicle access for public enjoyment, especially for the disabled that depend on others to provide transportation.  For those worthy of the task, take ample water and a cell phone.  Cell service is spotty.  Be watchful of snakes during summer months.  Your reward will be spectacular views and how turn-of-the-century highways were built.

– Harrison Scott

Road Updates

Nothing much to report this month on the roadway. Things have quieted down a bit since the issues in January. We are still following up with CHP to find out what happened up there with the vehicles. It also seems the utility companies are the main culprits for the gates being open. Keep in mind, we are working toward having the gates open much more frequently, but only after we get a better handle on maintenance of the roadway. At present, the roadway is still considered closed and, should you pass the gates, you may well find yourself locked in. The plan we are working on with the USFS will likely be a winter closure of the roadway to reduce the possibility of damage to the paving by cars during storms.

Membership

We recently made some changes to our website to allow online membership applications. If you were a member in the past and would like to renew, or you’d like to become a new member, it is a whole lot quicker and easier now. If you’d like to join or renew, please use our online membership form. We still have our mail-in method as well. Keep in mind your donation may be tax-deductible as we are a 501(c)3 organization.

Events

In-person events, such as a CUTRR or tours, are still on hold due to the pandemic. As things are improving, albeit slowly, we anticipate being able to hold some sort of event much later this year. An exact time is still uncertain. It doesn’t mean we can’t hold other events, such as online meetings. Our first online meeting, using Zoom, will be held on Wednesday, March 3 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. This meeting is open to the public and registration is required. We plan to hold more meetings like this in the future to help inform the public about what is going on with the roadway and the RRPO. Come join us! Use the link below to register.

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYqcuitqT8pHNP2d5qYGw3OmKdFfxy6h5p3

Fundraising

Our online fundraising has been going rather well. We recently changed our PayPal account and validated our non-profit status with them. As a result, they have reduced the fees they charge us and have an option to cover those fees during a donation. While it is a small change, every bit helps. We do wish to thank all those that have donated. We will need those funds in the near future for a few possible projects on the roadway, such as pothole repair and modifying the gate at the Tumble Inn (Fisher Springs gate). Your donations help ensure the roadway will continue on into the future.

RRPO Open Meeting 3/3/2021

We are trying something new and will be holding an open meeting on Zoom for the RRPO. The intent of this meeting is to help inform the public about what is going on with the roadway, its current status, our plans for the road, and what you can do to help or get involved. It will not be a formal board meeting but this is a good chance to meet the RRPO. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 3 at 5:30 pm. Registration is required for the meeting. Use the link below to register. We look forward to seeing you there!

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYqcuitqT8pHNP2d5qYGw3OmKdFfxy6h5p3

CUTRR and How to Keep Informed

While we don’t have an event date set yet, we are hoping we will be able to hold a work party (Clean Up The Ridge Route or CUTRR) late August or September. I’d like earlier, but summer heat makes it tougher and it is a lot of work in the exposed sunshine.

If you’d like to help or stay informed, not just regarding events like CUTRR but any updates on the Ridge Route, please use the “Subscribe” option on the right-hand side of the site. You’ll be informed any time there is a new post to this site. At this time, we don’t have a separate e-mail list set up, so subscribing is by far the best way to keep in the loop.

March Update – Part 2

Due to the ongoing crisis, our events are on hold. We will resume our Clean Up The Ridge Route (CUTRR) events once things settle down. Hopefully, we can have one before the summer heat arrives. Our Ridge Route inspections will still continue unless there are further developments.

The Ridge Route itself is another issue. While the gates can be open on occasion for various reasons, the roadway is still officially closed. Once the roadway is officially open, we will make an announcement here, in addition to whatever the USFS does. As this is still the rainy season, please keep off the roadway during and after a rain storm. The roadway is fragile in places and driving it when the soils are wet can damage the roadway.

Thank you all for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you out there when we are able to hold an event again.

March 2020 Update

Things have been busy with the RRPO lately. Last month, I posted a request for a new RRPO Secretary. It didn’t take long to get a candidate. On Thursday, March 4, the board met to vote on this new secretary as well as a few other administrative issues.

So, we’d like to welcome our new RRPO Secretary – Richard Schwartz – to our board. We look forward to his help in keeping the Ridge Route in good repair and getting it fully open again.

We have also finally settled on a date for the next CUTRR. It will be held on April 25th, starting at 10 am. The meeting location is TBD as well as additional details regarding any requirements will be announced soon. If you’re interested in joining us, please let us know beforehand.

An event, which is also a fundraiser for the RRPO, is coming up this month. A trail race run, called the Ridge Route Ultra, will be held on Saturday, March 14. The event will go nearly the entire length of the roadway, from near Martin’s to near Neenach.

On Saturday, April 4 at 7 pm, I will be giving a presentation at the Ridge Route Communities Museum regarding the status of the Ridge Route and how others can help. For more information regarding the museum, click here!

As to the roadway itself, the gates are still closed, though the northern gate has been compromised. The USFS is aware of the problem and it will hopefully be fixed somewhat soon. The southern gate remains closed, so through travel is still not possible. A section of roadway, at the south end of the Reservoir Hill grade, has been undermined by pipeline work. Unfortunately, it is also a section which has nearly pristine concrete. We are working with the USFS to get this corrected as soon as possible. The northern end of the roadway, from the Liebre Maintenance Station to Sandbergs has sections of asphalt that are degrading. Hopefully, we will be able to get some patches repaired, which will go a long way to protecting the remaining sections.