October 2002

 

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October 13, 2002

Hi All!
 
Carol and I went to the Cabin Owner's (that's what the BSACPA stands for) BBQ on Sunday up at Chantry Flats. The big draw for us was the chance to get permits to enter the forest. (The Angeles National Forest is currently closed to entry due to extreme fire danger.) We arrived at the locked lower gate at the same time that several others were going through, one being the Sierra Madre Search & Rescue, so we didn't have to unlock the gate by ourselves.
 
We arrived shortly before 2pm and there was already a good-sized gathering. Annitta Keck was already set up, assigning permits, which were numbered serially, involving one for the car and one for the person. They required a signature that you'd read the instructions (no chain saws, no weed-eaters, no outdoor fires .... if you start a fire you have to pay to put it out!). The permit only allows you access to your property - no trips to the Falls, general hikes, etc. The frustration for Carol and I was that they would only give us one permit, because only one name is on the lease. This is a catch-22, of course, because they will only allow one name on the lease unless you are someone like the San Antonio Hiking Club, which is a recognized club. Since we knew we'd need more than one, we asked how we would get our work parties up to clean the lot and maintain fire clearance. Annitta said we could get extra permits for specific dates, identifying the other people as "contractors", rather insulting to Carol of course. We might be one of the few cabins that is owned by a group and has takes several cars up each time.
 
We enjoyed our BBQ chicken, beans, baked potato and salad at tables set up in the shade. Several cabin owners had spent the week-end in the canyon. Those cabins near Fern Lodge reported a bear cub, perhaps orphaned, was peeking in their windows and climbing on their roofs .... just imagine a bear on our roof! Two cabins have been vandalized by bears previously, so perhaps this cub has learned from his mama, although there was no sign of an adult bear. Chris Kasten had spent the weekend at Sturdevant's and said that our place looked great.
 
After our meal Carol and I read the Search & Rescue display and talked with one of the trackers .... very interesting. He showed making an imprint of your child's shoe on tinfoil so that the trackers know the size and pattern of the child they are trying to find. This is in addition to the whistle that should be carried. Also said that the international air symbol of needing help was a long panel, which a person could be by stretching out on the ground. The Search & Rescue gives talks to local schools, as well as providing the necessary support in the mountains.
 
When everyone had finished eating, George Geer gave a brief talk about the necessity of maintaining fire clearance and spoke about grants that are available from the USFS for groups that need to work on fuel reduction. This is something that our board will be following up on, although some of the solutions are not feasible in our canyon. He also gave out thank-you gifts (very cute Smokey the Bear pottery) for those that have gone above-and-beyond: Tina, who does the volunteer work at the top of the trail on week-ends, Kris Kasten who has been maintaining Spruce Grove and putting out the fires there, and Mike Pauro, who made certain that each cabin met the fire clearance requirements this year. He talked about the devastation in San Gabriel and San Dimas canyons. There is question about whether or not the USFS will allow the cabin owners there to rebuild. Some cabin owners talked about available fire insurance from Fair Plan, which is mandated to give insurance to those who can't get coverage any other way.
 
After that it was raffle time. There were a number of interesting prizes on the table (we had contributed several paint brushes and a wire brush) but Carol and I didn't win a thing. We left around 4:30pm, following the Search & Rescue truck down the hill .... man, did they fly down the hill! Carol and I headed back to Lake Balboa (new name for Van Nuys) and then I headed back to Fresno, arriving in good time by 9:15pm.
 
Love, Linda Lue
 

 

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