SAN GABRIEL RIVER CONFLUENCE WITH CATTLE CANYON IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT
THE RIVER FUTURE
To better manage recreation use and balance the needs for resource protection along an approximate 2.5-mile reach of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, the Watershed Conservation Authority has partnered with the Angeles National Forest [ANF] San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to conduct the San Gabriel River Confluence with Cattle Canyon Improvements Project. Recreational use is highly concentrated within areas of the project site. This heavy use combined with the lack of facilities has resulted in degraded environmental conditions. As a response, this project represents an opportunity for all stakeholders to envision "a river future" that supports multiple uses including sustainable recreation.
Above: Project location within WCA Territory
Proposed improvements will provide recreation infrastructure that is high quality, well-maintained, safe, accessible and consistent with visitors’ expectations. These facilities will be developed to shift and concentrate recreational use to certain areas in order to minimize adverse effects over a broader area. It is anticipated that the improvements, together with better management of the recreation resources will promote stewardship of public land by providing quality and sustainable recreation opportunities that result in increased visitor satisfaction. The project also intents to improve habitat conditions in certain areas while making progress toward enhancing stream habitat conditions by restoring vegetation, minimizing invasive plants and noxious weed presence, and developing management strategies to regulate access.
Above: Typical river-focused recreation use
Components of this project includes a comprehensive site assessment, planning, design and implementation process, as well as development and implementation of an interpretive outreach program. The outreach program was developed and launched in May 2013, and has since evolved into the stand alone the San Gabriel Canyon Watershed Ranger Program.
Summary of the Proposed Action
The action proposed by this project include the following components:
River Access - To provide better public access to the river while protecting natural resources, a total of six locations for river access points are proposed throughout the project site. Each river access point would implement the Sustainable Site Access Model and include: parking, infrastructure to provide for potential development of future shuttle services, litter disposal, restrooms, picnic tables and seating, East Fork Scenic Trail with interpretive elements, safe river access trails, and elimination of user-created trails and parking.
Riparian and Upland Habitat Restoration - Restoration would occur throughout the project site to reduce impacts from user generated trails, protect seeps/springs on east side of the road, preserve stream habitat in tributary behind oaks picnic area, and mitigate losses from trail construction. Restoration would include non-native vegetation removal and/or riparian plantings.
Parking - The project proposes a total of 270 new parking spaces designated for standard vehicles and three spaces for bus parking within the vicinity of the Oaks Picnic Area and Coyote Flat. Of the 270 parking spaces, 14 spaces would be designed and designated as accessible spaces. These spaces include angled and perpendicular bays with curbs, formal [marked] paved roadside parking, and a paved parking lot at the former fire station within the East Fork Scenic Overlook and Trailhead area. Parking would be available during day-use hours. Undesignated parking areas would be blocked by boulders and parking signage installed.
Right of Way Improvements - Improvements along the two-mile reach of the public right of way would include designated roadside parking, the addition of three loading area/shuttle stops, low barrier walls, signage, and a vehicle turnaround at the end of Camp Bonita Road.
Recreational Trails - Recreational trail improvements would include the following: the 2.5 mile East Fork Scenic Trail [comprising two miles of newly constructed road-adjacent scenic trail and .5 miles of improvements to existing trail/access road that runs between the East Fork Overlook area and Heaton Flat], Botanical Interpretive Trail [approximately 1.5 miles of existing non designated trail], Trail steps to Coyote Flat [approximately 350 feet], five trailheads, and a trailhead parking lot.
Interpretive Areas - An interpretive area with site-specific signage and informational displays would be located at the Oaks, Confluence, Coyote Flat, and Heaton Flat Areas.
Scenic Overlooks - The existing scenic overlook of the EFSGR in the Overlook Area would be improved with planters, Geology Hut, low masonry barrier walls, litter receptacles, and interpretive signs. A new scenic overlook in the Confluence Area would include an interpretive element of Eldoradoville, and an East Fork Scenic Trail interpretive sign.
Above: Geology Hut Design Concept
Picnic Areas - Six designated picnic areas would be located throughout the project area. Improvements are planned for the existing picnic areas at Oaks, Coyote Flat, and Heaton Flat.
Pedestrian Bridge - A prefabricated pedestrian steel bridge may be constructed across the Cattle Canyon Creek, parallel to the existing L.A. County Camp Bonita Road Bridge [also known as Cattle Canyon Bridge].
USFS Visitor Kiosk - Three USFS Visitor Kiosks would be strategically placed throughout the project site.
Restrooms and Refuse Disposal - Nine restroom facilities are planned with three 2-toilet units and six 4-unit toilet facilities located near river access points, picnic areas and other popular destination sites. Small bear-proof trash receptacles would be located at all river access points, loading areas/shuttle stops, parking areas, along the East Fork Scenic trail, and all designated picnic sites.
Site Type Management - The project area is being proposed to be managed as a Day Use only area. Currently recreation sites located within the project area [Oaks Picnic Site and East Fork Trailhead Day Use Parking] are managed as Standard Amenity Recreation Fee Sites [SARF]. With the development of the project new recreation sites will be eligible to be included into the SARF program. These new sites may be designated for fee collection after the project is constructed, in accordance with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, including necessary approvals of the Recreation Advisory Committee established by that law.
Click on the Final Concept Site Plan to see a full-sized PDF version