Wilderness volunteer opportunity in the San Gabriel Mountains

Volunteers on a visit to California's San Gabriel Mountains. Majestic Condor Peak is pictured in the background.

John Monsen

Looking for a great way to explore and give back to wilderness this summer? Look no further.

Wilderness Volunteers (WV) is offering a unique opportunity to experience the wild lands of Southern California by sponsoring a week-long volunteer vacation to the San Gabriel Mountains Proposed Wilderness from September 29 to October 5, 2013.

What to expect:

Trip participants will camp at a designated site, high in the San Gabriels above Los Angeles, and spend four days giving back to the land. Volunteers will help the forest biology team remove invasive Spanish broom plants. They will also collect native seeds in the proposed wilderness area near Pacoima Canyon and Mount Gleason to be used to promote re-growth of natural ecosystems. A mid-week rest day will allow participants time to explore the area, possibly including a hike up to nearby Mount Gleason for majestic views over the wilderness area.

Hear a story of one Boston professional's 'ultimate vacation' as a Wilderness Volunteer in New Hampshire's Pemigewassett Wilderness:

Where you'll be camping and working:

The Angeles National Forest, which encompasses the San Gabriel Mountains, provides a scenic backdrop for the greater Southern California region and plays an important role in the overall health and well-being of its residents. The 650,000-acre forest gives Los Angeles County more than one-third of its drinking water, provides clean air for the smoggy region and serves as a recreation destination for more than three million annual visitors. The forest and mountains also provide critical habitat for rare and endangered species like the yellow-legged frog, California condor, Nelson bighorn sheep and California spotted owl.

The San Gabriel Mountains are a sanctuary for urbanites seeking solitude and outdoor adventure. Within the forest, extremely rugged and scenic terrain ranges in elevation from about 1,600 to 8,200 feet. Dense thickets of chaparral in the low country give way to mixed pine, fir-covered slopes and ridge tops that rise in turn to majestic peaks, meadows and high desert forest. All of this adds up to stunning vistas and memorable opportunities for urban escape in Southern California’s recreation backyard.

Photo: Rennett Stowe, flickr

Why the San Gabriel Mountains?

Because of the ecological and recreational values of the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, The Wilderness Society is actively engaged in working to protect the area and improve recreation opportunities for millions of annual visitors.

Photo: Condor Peak, John Monsen

The Wilderness Society leads a diverse partnership known as San Gabriel Mountains Forever, whose goals include: building permanent protection and better access to recreation through the designation of a National Recreation Area, and protecting more than 50,000 acres of wilderness through Congressional legislation. The partnership is also working to preserve sections of the San Gabriel River, San Antonio Creek, Middle Fork Lytle Creek and other waterways that are often home to rare and endangered fish and amphibians.

How to register:

Interested volunteers can apply for the 2013 San Gabriel Mountains trip by visiting the Sign-Up page on the Wilderness Volunteers website. Please read the Frequently Asked Questions before submitting your application for answers to questions like: Can I bring my dog? How much do trips cost? What will the food be like? 

Photo: Yellow-legged frog, EOL Learning and Education Group, flickr