fbpx 11 Acres of Pristine Woodland Bulldozed By County - Despite Huge Protests: 4 People Sit in Trees hoping to save Some of the 100 Year Old Oaks and Sycamore - Hey SoCal. Change is our intention.
The Votes Are In!
2023 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
View Winners →
Nominate your favorite business!
2024 Readers' Choice is back, bigger and better than ever!
Nominate →
Subscribeto our newsletter to stay informed
  • Enter your phone number to be notified if you win
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Arcadia Weekly / 11 Acres of Pristine Woodland Bulldozed By County – Despite Huge Protests: 4 People Sit in Trees hoping to save Some of the 100 Year Old Oaks and Sycamore

11 Acres of Pristine Woodland Bulldozed By County – Despite Huge Protests: 4 People Sit in Trees hoping to save Some of the 100 Year Old Oaks and Sycamore

by Terry Miller
share with

11 Acres of Pristine Woodland Bulldozed By County – Despite Huge Protests
4 People Sit in Trees in Hope of Saving Some of the 100 Year Old Oaks and Sycamore

By Terry Miller

About 2 dozen Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies approached the entrance below the Santa Anita Dam on Elkins after they discovered four people had climbed trees at about 4am in an effort to prevent the county from cutting down an 11-acre oak woodland north of Arcadia.
Additionally, 5 protestors held paintings of trees and signs of disconcontent with the county’s plans which are to remove 11 acres of oaks and sycamores.

One of those tree sitters Wednesday was John Quigley who was perched in a grove of oaks and sycamores being torn down by county Public Works in Arcadia on Wednesday morning. According to sources Quigley and one other male along with two females were staged in different trees as of Wednesday noon .

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Joe Fennell said deputies have located the four tree “sitters” and are trying to talk them down with the help of negotiators. He said they will charge the two men and two women with trespassing.

The activists entered the pristine 11 acre property early Wednesday morning, after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead to cut down the 100 year old trees, activist Cameron Stone said.
County officials say they are clearing the trees to make room for sediment to protect the homes in Arcadia

Dozers started knocking down trees and continued to work in areas where there aren’t tree sitters, Los Angeles County of Public Works spokesman Bob Spencer said.

There was an unconfirmed report that actress Daryl Hannah was at the site Tuesday night
“We are prepared to be here for the long haul,” Sheriff’s Captain Fennell said. “One of our big concerns is that there are wild animals in this region, particularly bears. So, we will have sheriff’s personnel here through the night to protect the protesters.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works is removing 179 coastal oaks and 70 sycamores in the wash in the San Gabriel Mountains just below Santa Anita dam.
Last dredged in 1993, the reservoir currently operates at reduced capacity because it could not otherwise meet state seismic standards, county authorities said.
A 30-day moratorium imposed in December by County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, to study alternative to razing the trees, expired last week. Public-works officials deemed their main plan the only resort respite huge community outcry.
The city of Arcadia penned a letter to Antonovitch’s office sharing its concern’s that there still might be other options but it fell on deaf ears apparently.
The work is scheduled to continue through Thursday and the century old trees will be reduced to mulch, according to Bob Spencer of LA County Public Works.

One protestor who owns a home in the area wanted to join the handful of protestors at the gate at Elkins but wasn’t allowed to cross the yellow Sherriff’s Tape. Another protestor had taped a message to her back -Michael Antonovich which read ”Antonovich approves desecration of woodland habitat. Antonovich and your bureaucracy = DEAD WOOD.”
Glen Owens who is a planning commissioner in Monrovia and the Big Santa Anita Historical Society said: “They’ve destroyed the oaks but left behind an acorn that will give rise to the greatest environmental coalition in Los Angeles County History. If Flood control thinks they won, only in the future will it become apparent how much they have lost.”
Owens and scores of others who have been trying to save the trees for months believe that the deception was a major factor on the part of the county of Los Angeles about the whole process. Owens admits it is a complex issue but feels there was no communication between county and local district/populous. Owens added “ If you don’t like what you saw today, hug your local councilmember.”
“The City of Arcadia eventually got it…Don Penman sent a letter but it didn’t help _ I think the local council had its hands tied” Owens said he felt the county had no intention of listening to residents or the city. Referring to the County Public works, Owens and many other environmentalists said that calls were never returned and that they feel they were deliberately decieved by Los Angeles county government – in particular by public works.
When asked about the removal of the oak trees, Tony Bell, Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s spokesman, said “Thirty days ago, it was Supervisor Antonovich who demanded that the Department of Public Works exhaust every option and re-examine every part of the Environmental Impact Report to look for another option.”

He said that the last thing the Supervisor wanted to do was to remove the Oak trees. “The Supervisor wrote the Old Tree Preservation Ordinance for the County; the removal of the trees is the last things he wants. It pains us to do that.”

Bell said that the state of California gave the County no option. The county was ordered by the state to move forward with the relocation of the debris or face decertification of the damn. The removal of the debris means the clearing of the property.
“This ( decertification of the Dam) would force both Sierra Madre and Arcadia to import its drinking water at incredible cost.”

The property was purchased in the 1950 for exactly this purpose. The damn was built in the 1920s and has never been seismically retrofitted. With the current budget constraints, retrofitting the damn is cost prohibitive. Keeping active is the only alternative.

“It pains us to do this,” said Bell, “but the State has given L.A. County Public Works no option.”
“The only positive side is that the area will be replanted,” Bell explained. “We want to link it to the trail system… At least it is something.”
Sighing with regret, Bell said, “It is not nearly enough.”
With more vehemence and a bit of anger he added, “It’s a shame, a damn shame!.”

More from Arcadia Weekly

Skip to content