After recent events and things that were said, I’d like to clarify a few things. Here is the post that went up by a representative of the Ridge Route Preservation Organization (RRPO), calling me out by name. Their name has been removed to protect their identity.
The road is closed between the Tumble Inn and a bit north of Templin Highway. I stated that the gates were open once and after was contacted by the RRPO, to make it known the road was closed. This was in March of 2020. I have respected their wishes and made it clear that the road is closed. This remains on my website and is refereed back to when people ask if it’s open. The only other time I have stated the gates were open is in response to how a few semi-trucks got stuck on the Old Ridge Route in the recent snow storm. Not to encourage, but to state a fact of how they got there. I am in no way advertising the road is open to through travel. I did, however, create a post about landmarks to see on the north (open) end of the road once the fire closure was lifted by the Forestry Service.
PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE RIDGE ROUTE
I am an artist and though I do have the photos listed for sale, I have made only 2 sales of Ridge Route photos. It is not about the money. It has never been about the money. This road is my happy place and a source of inspiration and fascination. I have dedicated 5 years to documenting the road and doing endless research, since the night I accidentally stumbled upon it chasing a fire. I am not associated with any organization and I am not paid to do what I do. I have donated more value in prints than I have made back on sales. This site, 8N04, is a completely free site that is aimed at sharing the more educational photos, resources I have found and sharing information about the Ridge Route. I am open and honest about the condition of the road and do not alter the photos with the exception of color correction, (or black & white), contrast, sharpness and cropping adjustments. No piece of the road is “photoshopped” – removed or added – to make it look better.
INVOLVEMENT WITH RIDGE ROUTE ORGANIZATIONS
I have never, ever, claimed I was associated with any organization. It is my understanding that there are 2 organizations that have something to do with the Ridge Route. First, I reached out to the RRPO about donating photos, photographing any events they may have and promoting a “donate link” so people may donate to the organization with each photo I share online. When they opted to not use the photos, photography services and promotional services offered, I stepped back. This is all documented in emails.
When the Ridge Route Communities Museum (RRCM) was hosting a garage sale to benefit the museum, I donated a metal photo print for them to sell. They are a lovely group of history enthusiasts! Through Facebook groups, I have heard of their tours of the Ridge Route and had asked when they would be hosting them again. I received a call from the RRCM about potentially opening up for tours again in April. I was given permission to share the news. A post went up on Facebook about the potential for upcoming tours. Not stating how much of the Ridge Route would be covered or exactly when – just that it might happen. Permits can not be given if there are no dates chosen yet. I very clearly stated “I do not work for the museum, just passing on the info for anyone who may be interested. Please contact them with any questions”. The photo attached to the post was of Liebre State Maintenance Camp, a spot that is actually open – not behind closed gates.
PUBLIC LAND, PUBLIC HISTORY
The Ridge Route is a part of the Angeles National Forest. Meaning no one person owns it. Yes, the Forestry Service can open and close it as they decide. The RRPO has to consult with the Forestry Service to have the gate open or closed also. I am in no way saying drive the road. You can hike it, ride a bike on it… I mean… if you can get a horse trailer back there, you can ride your horse down it!
I document the road to show it’s true and honest condition. Because if there’s any way to freeze time, it’s with a photograph. This is a part of the history of the road.
History is meant to be shared, not hidden. When the history belongs to so many people – who have driven the road, built the road, lived on the road, heard stories from their grandparents of the road – it is no longer one person’s job to regulate it. To decide who can and can’t talk about it or experience it. After all, history is just a series of experiences that have been documented and passed down. Someone else can not take your previous experience away and claim it as their own.
While it may not be old now, one day I fear the photos may be all that’s left of the road. So I take as many as I can and I share them for all to see. The thing that really warms my heart about this is what a photograph of dirt and old concrete can really mean to someone. These photos bring back memories for many. These photos encourage people to share their own experiences and history of the road. That in itself is enough to keep me going. Encouraging history.
Featured photo: This was taken on my first trip up the the Tumble Inn after the Lake Fire closure. January 1st, 2021. I like to think someone was happy to see me as a nice rainbow presented itself in the photos of the Tumble Inn!