If you’re the type of person who likes to celebrate Easter and you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re also the type of person who’d rather celebrate in the wilderness than by tightening up a tie and sitting inside a building or fighting family members for the last slice of ham. Well, you might have another option this year.
The Progressive Christians Uniting and San Gabriel Mountains Forever are organizing a meet-up with several San Gabriel Valley churches tomorrow – the day before actual Easter. They’ll not only be celebrating the holiday, but also organizing ways to gain greater protection for the San Gabriel Mountains.
Starting at 9:30AM on April 3rd, an early Easter service will be held at Heaton Flat at the East Fork of the San Gabriel River. The service will be followed by a hike to some of the nearby proposed wilderness areas, a light lunch, and a letter-writing campaign to Representative David Dreier, whose congressional district includes the mountain range. According to the press release:
Easter worshippers are asking for two federal protections to further protect our public lands: Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations. They seek to add 30,000 acres to three existing federal Wilderness areas: Sheep Mountain, Cucamonga and San Gabriel. In addition, they would like to see 46 miles of the San Gabriel River, San Antonio Creek and Middle Fork Lytle Creek preserved with Wild and Scenic River protection. Currently, no rivers in the Angeles forest have this protection.
“The mountains bring incredible peace to people of faith, providing quiet and solitude that allows them to experience the closeness of God, pray, meditate, and find renewal,” said Casey Crosbie of Progressive Christians Uniting. “The San Gabriels are a precious spiritual resource that we must protect.”
Beyond its rich spiritual value, the Angeles National Forest is an irreplaceable natural resource that gives Los Angeles County 70% of its open space and more than one-third of the county’s drinking water. The forest also serves as critical habitat for many endangered and sensitive plant and animal species including the mountain yellow-legged frog, Nelson’s Bighorn sheep, California condor, mountain lion and the spotted owl. Without further protection, the mountains and rivers may face future damaging development including roads and power lines.
If you’re interested in carpooling, you can meet at 9AM at the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy in Azusa, or you can just drive to the East Fork trailhead (just make sure you leave early enough to grab a parking spot!). The press release said the group will be providing Adventure Passes for everyone who attends, but if you’ve got one you might want to bring it along just in case.