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Park slated for June reopening

Deukmejian wilderness has been closed for reseeding of scorched earth.

May 15, 2010|By

LA CRESCENTA — City officials on Thursday announced plans to reopen a portion of the scorched Deukmejian Wilderness Park by mid-June.

Still, most trails will be closed to visitors due to unsafe conditions caused during the Station fire and subsequent winter storms, said Dave Ahern, project management administrator of the Community Services and Parks Department.

“It’s inconvenient, and we know that many of you love that park,” he told people at a public meeting Thursday. “Bear with the park as it recovers.”

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Geologists, who have visited the park several times, expressed concerns about loose rock and erosion on most of the trails, he said.

City officials are evaluating whether to repair the damaged trails or permanently get rid of paths that were washed out, Ahern added.

The intense storms created 10- to 30-feet-deep incisions in the back of the park, he said.

The main Dunsmore Creek trail, which sustained significant erosion, will likely be the only path open to the public, said Jeff Weinstein, the city’s trails and open space specialist.

“A lot of the trails we might just have to reroute and come up with some new alignments,” Weinstein said. “But at least that will be open.”

The park’s picnic area and restrooms will also reopen, he said.

Still, the wilderness park has shown signs of improvement since the storms and fires in spite of initial concerns that it would be closed indefinitely.

“The park is recovering amazingly well,” Ahern said.

While some of the park’s hillsides show a light dusting of vegetation, the city has been working with landscapers who specialize in native plants and reforestation to ensure it continues to flourish, he said.

“There is phenomenal growth that is occurring up there, and that is all part of the evaluation that we did earlier,” Ahern said. “This type of habitat needs to burn from time to time in order for it to reseed and grow properly.”

Volunteers today were scheduled to pull weeds and replant vegetation inside the park, he said.

The city also plans to reseal the parking lot, which was damaged by heavy truck traffic, Ahern said.

“Our goal is to get as much of the park back in service as we can,” he said. “But at the same time, part of the regrowth of the park was keeping people of out of that park for the last several months, as we have to allow the seed that’s airing the ground to germinate and start that regrowth.”


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