Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

As children play, piles of trash, including plastic plates, food containers, diapers and plastic grocery bags accumulate across the ground, trashing the East Fork of the San Gabriel Valley River in the Angeles National Forest.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

A man named Steve pans for gold as other miners use poles and cables to move rocks in the East Fork of the San Gabriel Valley River.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

Bernie McGrath known locally as the mayor of East Fork, hugs Paula Halfacre, holding a gold pan, before a friend takes their picture at a gold mining camp on the East Fork of the San Gabriel Valley River.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

Paula Halfacre holds a pan with gold from the East Fork of the San Gabriel Valley River.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

Visitors splash in the East Fork of the San Gabriel Valley River.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

Pastor Juan Morales leads prayer with Jesus Fuente De Vida Eterna church on the banks of the East Fork of the San Gabriel Valley River.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

Pastor Juan Morales, left, prays on the forehead of Brian Morales after his baptism.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

Pastor Juan Morales, left, baptizes Brian Morales, center, with Julio Fuentes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

A man carries a BB gun as he walks past a campsite.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

U.S. Forest Service Police Officer Ishmill Lett, left, tries to calm an aggravated man who was cited for starting an illegal campfire.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

U.S. Forest Service Police Officer Ishmill Lett investigates a smash and grab robbery in which a cell phone and purse were stolen.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

U.S. Forest Service Police Officer Ishmill Lett a theft from a vehicle.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

Devin Lopez packs belongings into his truck after camping gear was thrown to the side of the highway when the SUV overturned while taking a turn on California 39 near the San Gabriel Valley River. Yvonne Lopez lost control of the vehicle, damaging the truck and spilling their belongings on the road. There were no serious injuries and they were able to turn the SUV upright with a passerby's truck, but caused a massive blockage of the highway.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

The sun sets as tourists and firefighters drive down California 39.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times

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Trashing the East Fork of the San Gabriel River

Every weekend of summer, thousands of picnickers and gold prospectors unload vehicles haphazardly parked along a two-lane road overlooking the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, then trundle down to the mountain creek with ice chests, boom boxes, shovels and baby carriers strung with diapers.

Although littering, campfires and gold prospecting are banned, vastly outnumbered U.S. Forest Service rangers try in vain to curtail abuses of regulations and common sense in the overrun river three miles above the San Gabriel Valley.

San Gabriel Mountains Forever, a coalition of environmental and community groups including the Sierra Club, is backing a plan that seeks to balance the crush of tourists with conservation in the river and throughout the range.

Essentially, it would transform San Gabriels into a national recreational area co-managed by the National Park Service. The designation would make it eligible for additional federal resources, including law enforcement personnel, interpretative signs and trash collection.

The National Park Service is completing a study of the proposal to be submitted to Congress for authorization sometime next year.

Read the full story “Overuse threatens East Fork of the San Gabriel River.”

9 Comments

  1. September 30, 2012, 11:41 am

    Mining in the Angeles National Forest is illegal, and the right wing extremists that are in there get increasingly violent and insane as they think they are "staking claims" on public lands.

    By: indiacrap@gmail.com
  2. September 30, 2012, 2:04 pm

    Very interesting piece! Great photos.

    By: hillaryjb@gmail.com
  3. February 14, 2013, 12:11 pm

    This is not true..Though there are prospectors on the East Fork …They are not violent most of the people I have meet up there are very nice.The trash is not from the prospectors its from the weekend visitors from all over .The prospectors regularly pick up trash left by people on the east fork.If you look at the photos you will see these are not prospectors.I agree there is way to much trash and people during the summer and sometimes in the winter but its not the prospectors since the dredge ban has been in effect there are not a many prospectors on the east fork.

    By: uncl
  4. March 15, 2013, 7:27 am

    My goodness! I hope you realize that any enforcement plan you devise would have a "disparate impact" on Mexicans. And since there will be a "disparate impact" you will have to produce sound, scientific evidence (supported by expert witnesses and studies) as to why there is no lesser alternative that is not as racist. The only reason they are wetting themselves in these little canyons and pools is because you deny them the money to go someplace nice. Perhaps you could give free vacation travel vouchers to any Mexican you find along the rive to incent them not to come litter. Or offer to build free swimming pools in their LA neighborhoods.

    By: Big Bill
  5. March 17, 2013, 4:48 pm

    These "little canyons and pools" ARE someplace nice. Don't litter. It's pretty simple. Use a trash can. It's easy. All you do is collect all your diapers and cans and plastic and put them in a small bag you might get from the grocery store. Then, when the bag is full or you are ready to leave, place that in a trash can or take it home and throw it away. Does anyone need more detailed directions?

    By: Medium Mark
  6. May 7, 2013, 10:03 pm

    this article is bs. there's no gold prospectors leaving trash up there.

    By: socal54423@yahoo.com
  7. March 30, 2014, 7:40 pm

    Mexicans are 'right wing extremists?

    By: tomtomtres@gmail.com
  8. April 21, 2014, 2:24 pm

    The Mexicans are coming back to claim the part of Mexico that was stolen by the U S after themexican – American war. It was the same as what Russia is doing to the Ukraine Crimea

    By: Jaji3566@gmzil..com
  9. April 21, 2014, 8:51 pm

    well im mexican and im no extremist. only a ignorant person like yourself would post that comment .

    By: anthony

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