Update 12/22/13. New Williamson Rock/PCT scoping letter, dated 12/18/13, from Angeles National Forest to "consider resuming recreation opportunities in the currently closed area, in and around Williamson Rock." The following information regarding comments is excerpted from the letter WITH THE EMAIL ADDRESS CORRECTED per Justin Seastrand (FS):
To Submit Comments
Two opportunities will be provided for you to submit written comments specific to this proposed project, prior to a final decision. The first opportunity is the scoping period, which is currently underway and will continue through January 24, 2014. Issues identified during scoping will help determine the range of issues to be considered in the environmental analysis and will help determine whether alternatives to the proposed action should be developed and analyzed. A project website - http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/angeles/landmanagement/projects - has been established and will be used to post documents and periodic updates on the process.
In order to receive full consideration your comments should be postmarked or received by January 24, 2014. Comments may be mailed to the following address:
Jose Henriquez, Williamson Rock/PCT ID Team
Angeles National Forest
701 N. Santa Anita Ave
Arcadia, CA 91006-2725
Comments may also be e-mailed to the following:
To help us identify your e-mails faster, please use "Williamson Rock" as part of the subject heading/e-mail title.
To be most useful, your comments should focus on specific issues, and identify which aspect of the proposed action your comments are addressing. Please include concerns you believe should be considered before a decision on the proposed action is reached. Your comments must also contain the following:
Name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address (if available);
Title of the project (Williamson Rock); and
Comments, along with supporting reasons, that you believe the Forest Service
should consider in evaluating the proposal.
Upon completion of the environmental analysis and prior to the signing of a decision document, a second designated opportunity to comment will be provided to the public. A copy of the draft environmental document and draft Decision Notice will be posted to the project website for review and comment. You will be notified at that time, by letter, web notification, and publication of a legal notice.
All comments received become a part of the project record and are available for public review.
The following was posted 10/5/12.
It's been nearly seven years since the Forest Service “temporarily” closed approximately 1,000 acres in the upper Little Rock Creek drainage in the San Gabriel Mountains in order to protect critical habitat of the mountain yellow-legged frog (MYLF). The closed area includes Williamson Rock, a once-popular rock climbing area, and a key 3.5 mile segment of the Pacific Crest Trail between Eagle's Roost and the Burkhart Trail.
As might be expected when an issue is complex and involves several concerned parties, resolution has been painfully slow. Williamson Rock is a large formation encompassing many smaller climbing sub-areas. The majority of these areas are outside of MYLF habitat. The Recreational Development Alternative protects MYLF habitat while allowing recreational access to other areas of the formation. (See the Friends of Williamson Rock web site for more information.)
Last year United States District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel (Northern District of California) ordered Angeles National Forest to "halt all construction and close access to the Williamson Rock Area of the Angeles National Forest until the Amended Biological Opinion and accompanying ITS is filed and the matter is reviewed by the parties and the court." It is unclear how much time will be required to complete these filings and subsequent reviews.
In the meantime, a recent article in the Los Angeles Times suggests there might be some reason for optimism concerning the fate of the MYLF, with "the fist-sized amphibians breeding in numbers not seen in decades."
The title photograph is from last Sunday's Pleasant View Ridge run.