By Erna TAYLOR-STARK
No – this is not a science fiction forest – it is a natural experimental area which began in the late 1940s by the L.A. County Fire Department. High in the Verdugo Mountains, it is an area that is the destination point of many hikers and bikers, who, upon arriving at the top, get a wonderful view to the north and south of the mountains. During the ‘40s the area was bare when the fire department decided to plant a stand of trees, watering minimally to see if they would survive. Actually two stands were planted and survived very well until the Harvard Fire of 2005 when one stand was completely destroyed.
The city of Glendale planted some coulters, and pines and now are coaxing the seedlings along with volunteer water bearers twice a month. “We get three or four people who are constants and depending upon circumstance, other volunteers as well,” said Dave Moreno of the City of Glendale Nature Services (Community & Parks Department). “We have several trucks which can transport people up the four to five mile dirt road along with the water needed. People are encouraged to bring their own vehicles with water too, if they wish.”
This area was not touched during the Station Fire which was in the San Gabriel Mountains, rather than the Verdugo Mountains. Hikers, walkers, or and/or bikers can still enjoy the magnificent view at the shady stop before they make the trek back down again.
Anyone who wants to take part and keep the area alive can put on long pants, sturdy shoes, sunscreen and a hat and meet at the fire gate where La Tuna Canyon Road meets the 210 Freeway at 8:30 a.m. this Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sept. 26. The time involved is from 9:00 a.m. to noon. For information, contact Dave Moreno (818) 548-3795.