"Overuse Threatens East Fork of the San Gabriel River"

"Cutbacks leave rangers outnumbered in dealing with car burglaries, drug deals, gold prospectors and rowdy parties along the mountain creek."

"Thousands of picnickers and gold prospectors park every weekend along a two-lane road overlooking the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, then trundle down to the mountain creek with ice chests, boomboxes, shovels, sluice boxes and baby carriers strung with diapers.

They litter, light campfires, defecate in the wild, dig for gold and engage in many other banned activities along the river. U.S. Forest Service rangers try in vain to curtail the abuses but are hopelessly outnumbered.

Last Sunday, no rangers were in sight at a popular swimming hole where the air smelled of campfires and makeshift toilets in nearby bushes. A young man hunted birds with a BB gun. A few yards upstream, half a dozen gold prospectors were digging deep holes and dragging massive boulders across the river with steel cables attached to winches."

Louis Sahagun reports for the Los Angeles Times September 29, 2012.

Source: LA Times, 10/01/2012