August 2019 Update

Well, its August 2019. The concrete on the Ridge Route is at or over its 100 year anniversary. For its age and all its gone through, it is still in pretty good shape in many places. Others, not so much. Those, at least south of Reservoir Summit, have been mostly corrected. I haven’t had an opportunity to traverse the roadway from there to the Tumble Inn, but reports from others and a review of aerial and satellite photography seems to give good news on that front.

We are still working with the Angeles National Forest to solve any right-of-way issues and to work toward getting the road opened. One of those items is via volunteer work. When we reach that point and start to plan work parties on the road, we will need your help and support. More information on that work, as well as how to join us, will be posted here when the time comes.

In April, we received the information we had requested from the Forest Service regarding the 2010 paving at the southern end of the roadway. What we got was quite helpful and explained a few things. The paving was done, for better or worse, in an attempt to help preserve the original paving. A long section of concrete was also poured, using the original specifications, to replace a section of roadway that had been lost to landslides in the recent past. While we applaud the Forest Service for doing this, we can only do so with apprehension. The Ridge Route paving is a large part of the historic aspect of the road. Rarely is the roadway itself the piece of history. A wholesale repaving of the roadway would destroy what is there and leave little for the public to enjoy in the future. Repairing and repaving small sections, when necessary, is acceptable to a point. We plan to work more closely with the Forest Service to make sure such paving is done with the proper care and understanding this road needs.

Below are some photos of the road work from 2010, taken by the Forest Service and the contractor. A link to the contract itself can be found here – 2010 Forest Service Rehabilitation Contract.

Paving at the northern end of county maintenance where the original Warm Springs Road intersects.
At the southern Forest Service gate
Repairing the dike and drainage pipe north of the Forest Service gate
Paving over 1919 concrete

June 2019 Update

On Monday, June 10, Michael Ballard (myself), Harrison Scott, Dave Omieczynski, and Richard Valot had a meeting with representatives from the Angeles National Forest. They included Jerry Perez – Forest Supervisor, Justin Seastrand – Environmental Coordinator, Ricardo Lopez – Road Engineer, and Jamahl Butler – District Ranger. Our meeting, which was held on the Ridge Route near the southern end, was to discuss a range of topics regarding the road. We initially met at the Ridge Route and Templin Highway where we made introductions and briefly went over the meeting details. From there, I led the group with my sportbike up the road to the southern gate. At that point, we discussed the land ownership problems and the 2010 paving, which we believe will help us with our goal of getting the road reopened.

After our discussion, they opened the gate and I led the group on a tour of the Ridge Route from the southern gate to Reservoir Summit. The initial plan, however, was to only go about four miles north to see the recently reconstructed section of road. Each stop, the USFS people decided to go a bit further. We didn’t mind this at all! Along the way, we made stops at some of the sections of the roadway that had been repaired as well as some of the historic sites along the road, such as the National Forest Inn site. At each major stop, Scotty brought out his books and showed photos of the sites.

Section recently reconstructed about 4 miles north of the south gate. Looking northerly.
Looking southerly near the end of the reconstructed section.

Once we got to Reservoir Summit, we had another discussion regarding the state of the roadway. Overall, it was in very good shape with only a few areas needing more immediate attention. Many sections had been resurfaced and we did make it clear that we didn’t want to see a wholesale repaving of the roadway for the sake of preservation. They seemed to understand this. After our discussion and hike to the reservoir, we all headed back to the southern gate to finalize our meeting.

Just south of Reservoir Summit.

The meeting was productive and positive. There is still a lot of work to be done, but they were willing to help and to work with us. Instead of a Memorandum of Understanding, we may be entering into a Volunteer Agreement regarding cleaning drains and such along the roadway. They also stated they would do additional research regarding the land ownership issue at the southern end of the roadway. In regards to opening the roadway, there is still no estimate on when it will reopen. Another concern is roadway maintenance, which we may be able to help defray with volunteer effort. There are still additional issues that need to be addressed but we at least have a better understanding of what the Forest Service sees as the problems. One of them, overall condition of the roadway and ability for vehicles to travel safely, I tried to prove by using my sportbike. If I can go on the roadway using that vehicle, most everyone should be able to pass over it safely as well.

Only time will tell if this meeting was truly successful, but I believe it was. I will give additional updates when we hear back from the USFS in the near future.

January 2019 Ridge Route Update

After a few years of less activity, it would seem the Ridge Route is getting some attention finally. A construction project is underway, approximately four miles north of Templin Highway, on a section of the road that was destroyed by pipeline construction. This section is now being restored by Plains All-American Pipeline under a Consent Decree that was enacted in 2010 by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The decree outlined repairs to a specific section of the road and called for concrete paving, if possible. In addition to the roadway repair, the decree also called for monitoring of the pipeline to ensure it does not break again. This monitoring has an indirect effect of monitoring the roadway, as they share a common right-of-way for many miles along the ridge. We are still trying to make contact with the involved parties to find out more on the project.

I also made a field visit to the Ridge Route to investigate the possibility of landslides at the southern Forest Service gate recently. I found two possible slides during this visit and conducted a brief geological study. My geologic report is available here. Future studies may be conducted along more of the road as time permits. If there are any geologists or geotechnical engineers that would like to donate their time to this project, please contact us.

The gates still remain closed, at least on weekends or when the construction project is on hold. As our rainy season is here, please do not travel the roadway during or after a major rainstorm. Doing so can damage the road and create more problems in the future. If you do traverse the roadway, again let us know what conditions you find.

Road Reports – 1/2/2019

Reports are coming in that the Ridge Route is undergoing construction work. It seems to be taking place about 4 miles north of the southern gate. The construction, thus far, has been patchwork as well as possibly new concrete. The work is being done by Granite Construction Company, which has done work on the road in the past. So far, we don’t know who initiated the work or who is paying for it. Assuming the work is being done to proper standards, set out by the Ridge Route being on the National Register of Historic Places, this is a good sign. As the Federal Government is presently shut down, getting information from them has been a bit difficult. As soon as we find out, we will post the information here.

November 2018 Ridge Route Update

Many people ask us what is going on with the road. Well, to be honest, not a whole lot. At least not by its appearance.

First, due to health issues, Harrison Scott has stepped down as President of the RRPO. He is still very much a part of the organization and will continue to be a great resource for the road for a long time to come. As such, we held an emergency board election where I, Michael Ballard, became the new President. I have been studying the road since I was around 12 when I first got a chance to take the road. I have since done a great deal of research on the road, as well as the later alignments of US 99. I’ve had a website covering US 99 since 1995 and it may well be the first site to do so.

We are presently working with the Angeles National Forest to rectify the right-of-way and land ownership issues at the southern end of the Ridge Route. This process will take a while, but we will see it through. We have a lot of data to back up our claims regarding the land ownership and look forward to a positive response.

While there is no date or venue set yet, I do plan to host a public meeting in the near future, most likely March or April, in either the Bakersfield area or the Santa Clarita area, regarding the roadway. Topics may include updates on our progress, items for sale, history of the road, and more depending on what we are able to arrange. If you are interested in such a meeting, let us know.

We will need funds to further our cause, getting the road open, and to repair or replace the markers along the Ridge Route. So far, we are looking at potentially selling Ridge Route related novelty items and are presently in the design phase. There is no time frame yet, however, as to when this will be done.

As to the road itself, it is still closed. Reports are coming in from travelers that the gates are sometimes open. While you could travel the roadway by motor vehicle during those periods, they are not official. Don’t count on the gate staying open if you do go past it and we do not recommend it either. As winter is fast approaching, and storms are already coming in, travel over the roadway during or after a storm is highly discouraged. Doing so can damage the roadway further, particularly if the vehicle is heavy, such as an SUV or large truck.

What is Civil Code Section 1008?

As stated on the State of California Legislature website:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV&sectionNum=1008

DIVISION 2. PROPERTY [654 – 1422] ( Heading of Division 2 amended by Stats. 1988, Ch. 160, Sec. 13. )
PART 4. ACQUISITION OF PROPERTY [1000 – 1422] ( Part 4 enacted 1872. )
TITLE 2. OCCUPANCY [1006 – 1009] ( Title 2 enacted 1872. )
1008.
No use by any person or persons, no matter how long continued, of any land, shall ever ripen into an easement by prescription, if the owner of such property posts at each entrance to the property or at intervals of not more than 200 feet along the boundary a sign reading substantially as follows: “Right to pass by permission, and subject to control, of owner: Section 1008, Civil Code.”

(Added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 926.)

This code can be used when someone owns a property but does not limit access, per se. In the case of the Ridge Route, the person posting these signs does not own the roadway and cannot legally post nor enforce these signs.

One of the projects we are presently working on, and an important one at that, is to have this situation corrected. The Ridge Route is a public highway on public land. Once this problem is resolved, it will be a lot easier to convince the proper authorities to reopen the roadway.

What makes the Ridge Route so unique?

Really, what is so special about this road? What makes it worthy of such preservation efforts? The Ridge Route is more than just a scenic path through the northern Angeles National Forest. It is more than a roadway that helped bring together, and keep together, the state of California. The roadway is a time capsule, from really no later than 1930, showing how roads were first built in the modern age. This roadway was the first of its kind, still using manual labor and some steam shovels, to build a brand new roadway across open terrain. No other roadway in California, and possibly even the US, has such a long section of paving intact from such an early period. No other roadway retains the methods of construction as the Ridge Route does. Other roads were upgraded, with curves or short sections bypassed. Other roads may have even been obliterated with the advent of freeways.

The Ridge Route represents so much to so many. It is that which makes it more than worthy for the efforts to preserve it. We have the ability to save it. We need your support to do it. Without that support, this roadway could well be lost to time and development, depriving those in the future of an opportunity to see where things came from.

Ridge Route Online Petition

Hello all,

The Ridge Route in Southern California needs your help. The Ridge Route Preservation Organization has put together an online petition to help get the roadway back open and in working order. It has not been fully open to traffic since 2005 and is in need of your support. Please sign this petition to get the legislators and the Angeles National Forest to fix what they did wrong. More details are on the site for the petition. The petition was posted a while ago, but has not yet been posted on this site.

Thank you for your time and efforts!

https://www.change.org/p/help-save-the-old-ridge-route-road?recruiter=558871232

Why is the road closed?

Many ask why the Ridge Route is closed. The reasons are many, however, the roadway being traversable is not among those. Prior to January 2005, the roadway had three gates. One near the Tumble Inn, another near Reservoir Summit, and a gate about 3/4 mile north of Templin Highway. These gates would usually get closed during periods of inclement weather to protect the roadway. The January 2005 storm changed that and we are still dealing with those effects.

Resulting from the immense amount of rainfall, unstable geology, and lack of maintenance, a few sections of roadway gave way, making the road impassable for a time. Other landslides in the area also caused problems for the oil and gas pipelines that cross the mountains on a similar path to the Ridge Route. One such pipeline broke near Pyramid Lake, which came close to spilling oil into the lake, which is a major source of drinking water for Los Angeles. The US Forest Service closed the roadway at that point for an indefinite period of time. Initially, the roadway between the north (Tumble Inn) and south (Templin Highway) gates was under a “forest closure order”, which meant that the public was not only not allowed into that area, but could be heavily fined as well. This was done to allow the pipeline companies the ability to repair their lines without interference. The roadway was at least partly protected during this period, where the pipeline companies were limited as to how large a truck could traverse the road, how long they could stand in one spot, loads were limited, and portions of roadway were also temporarily covered to reduce damage.

In addition to the pipeline repairs, the roadway itself got some needed work done. Using funds and support from the US Department of Transportation, the sections of the Ridge Route that had slid were repaired and repaved using the original methods and specifications. New concrete was poured, which was 4 1/2″ thick, 20′ wide, and reinforced with steel. These repairs, in addition to other work along the road, made the road passable again by a standard automobile. Still, with this work done, the roadway was not opened to the public.

It took a few years, but the pipeline crews finished their work. The forest closure order was lifted, allowing people to traverse the roadway again. The gates, however, were still not opened. The gates remain closed, despite the roadway being repaired. The road is still closed because of land ownership issues resulting from the County of Los Angeles vacating the roadway in 2005. Once these issues are cleared, mostly regarding a land owner on the south end of the road that is claiming the road as their own, the roadway should be opened again.

So, for those that wish to travel on the Ridge Route between the gates, it is open, but not for motor vehicles. Bicycles, horses, and pedestrians are the only ones allowed, for now.