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
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.
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.
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.
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.