December 26th, 2005
USDA Forest Service
Angeles National Forest
Date: December 23, 2005 701 N. Santa Anita Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91006
FOR RELEASE UPON RECEIPT
Endangered Species Closure to Take Effect
ARCADIA, Calif. – In order to protect critical habitat of the mountain yellow-legged frog, the U.S. Forest Service will temporarily limit access to approximately 1,000 acres in the area north of the Angeles Crest Highway (SR 2) in the vicinity of Cooper Canyon beginning Tuesday, December 27, 2005. This includes Williamson Rock, an area frequented by rock climbers.
At the request of the Angeles National Forest, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will lock the gate at Cedar Springs (near milepost 62 on SR 2), east of the turn-off to Buckhorn Campground and west of the tunnels. Access to Eagles Roost Picnic Area will be walk-in only.
This effort allows the U.S. Forest Service to follow the guidelines for protecting the habitat of the mountain yellow-legged frog, an endangered species. Specifically, a Biological Assessment will be undertaken to analyze the effects of human activities (including recreation) within the area which was designated as critical habitat by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service per the Endangered Species Act.
The Angeles Crest Highway, which is administered by Caltrans, has been closed to through traffic (connecting Wrightwood) since the fall of 2004, due to storm damage. By assisting the Forest Service with restricting use of the highway, an additional mile and a half of the road will be added to the normal seasonal closure.
A portion of the Pacific Crest Trail lies within the impacted area. Hikers can take a detour around the area by departing the trail (northbound) at Eagles Roost and taking the highway to Cloudburst Summit, a distance of 4.5 miles. The U.S. Forest Service has also been meeting with members of the rock climbing community to work on a proposal that may allow climbing to eventually continue at Williamson Rock.
“We look forward to working with these groups,” said Angeles National Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron. “Hopefully, we can arrive at a solution that can allow the recreational activities to continue while conserving the frog habitat. Both are part of our mission.”
The Angeles National Forest is located northeast of Los Angeles. It is approximately 655,000 acres in size and includes the San Gabriel Mountains.
For more information, please contact District Ranger Cid Morgan, at 661-296-9710 or visit the Angeles National Forest Website at www.fs.fed.us/r5/angeles/projects.