By Michelle Werts

For many Americans, spending time in a forest is a time-honored getaway:

  • 42.5 million Americans or 15 percent of the U.S. population older than age six went camping in 2011.
  • 67 percent of those campers camped in public campgrounds, like those of local, state and national parks and forests.
    Courtesy of the 2012 American Camper Report.
Volunteers doing restoration work in Angeles National Forest
During phase one of this effort to restore Angeles National Forest, volunteers from the Alcoa Carson Fastening Plant, John Marshall High School and San Fernando High School helped with the restoration work on a Friends of the Forest Day. Credit: National Forest Foundation

Sometimes, though, our favorite getaway sites get caught in the path of forces bigger than themselves, which is what happened to popular picnic sites in Angeles National Forest in 2009. A wildfire known as the Station Fire consumed 25 percent of the national forest, damaging many of the picnic areas. These areas are a popular site for relaxation, as they are less than hour away from a majority of the L.A. Basin’s 17 million residents.

To help restore the Wildwood Picnic Site, Stoneyvale Picnic Site, Hidden Springs Picnic Site and Delta Flats Day Use Area in Angeles National Forest, American Forests is partnering with Alcoa Foundation to plant a combination of coast live oak, canyon live oak, Douglas-fir, arroyo willows and cottonwoods.

Working alongside Alcoa employees and the National Forest Foundation, this project is strengthening more than just recreation areas. It’s also restoring riparian areas to help maintain a healthy local watershed and is fostering forest stewardship through four volunteer tree planting days. This project, like so many of our Global ReLeaf projects, illustrates how much can be achieved when we join together to help the environment.