May 2019 Update

There has been some positive movement regarding progress on the Ridge Route lately. We are presently working with the USFS to update and renegotiate our Memorandum of Understanding, so that we can go back up on the road to clear the drains and remove rocks from the road. We also have a meeting coming up with USFS Forest Supervisor with the Angeles National Forest in early June. I am looking forward to this meeting, which I think will be productive and good learning experience for all.

We also recently received the documents requested regarding the 2010 roadway paving, which has been quite enlightening. I plan to post that information in the near future.

The roadway remains closed at this time. As stated in the past, if you find either gate open, you pass at your own risk. The gate may be locked behind you. Always use caution along any portion of the road, as there may be rocks, animals, other people, reinforcing bar, and other hazards.

I will post another update after the meeting with the Forest Supervisor.

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.

Right of Way issues along the road

All roadways, regardless of their designation, have some sort of right-of-way. Before things got to be a bit more standard and better documented, these could change at the whim of, well, most anyone. Modern roads have designated paths, carved through other properties. Depending on circumstances, these paths can be either an easement, owned lands, or some other method.

Roads such as the Ridge Route were granted an easement through existing public, in this case federal, lands. Such easements were quite common during the period. Even today, not all the land along a roadway is owned by the agency that maintains the road. An example of this is State 39 – San Gabriel Canyon Road – in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Azusa. Caltrans maintains the right-of-way through the forest, but does not own the right-of-way. The highway was granted an easement through the forest, with the provision that, should the roadway be abandoned, the road would be returned to its “natural state”. This particular issue has been a problem for Caltrans as they have wanted to abandon a section of 39 that has been closed since 1978. To return it to a natural state would well exceed any costs to rehabilitate the roadway and open it.

The Ridge Route, however, is a different animal. While, at present, the County of Los Angeles has vacated the roadway (a nice way to say abandoned), the Angeles National Forest does wish to keep the roadway available for their use. Where our issue lies is with the easement itself. As the easement was granted before the landowner on the south end obtained their land, their land has this easement. As the roadway was illegally vacated and the easements not properly maintained, they are using that as an opportunity to claim the road as their own.

Illegal signage declaring a portion of the Ridge Route as a “private” roadway.

Previously, we posted that the Angeles National Forest is actively maintaining the roadway, at least by 2009, by performing an AC (Asphaltic Concrete) overlay on the southern end of the Ridge Route. This overlay shows unquestionably that the Forest Service is maintaining the roadway. No monies for this maintenance came from the landowner.

We need your help to fight this. We are demanding the County of Los Angeles rescind their road vacation and quitclaim the road to the Forest Service. This would properly transfer any and all easements for the road and allow the PUBLIC to enjoy this historic treasure.

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.