[KHTS] – Hordes of people descended on the fresh snow in the Cuddy Valley-Mount Pinos area west of Frazier Park over the weekend, forcing California Highway Patrol officers to shut off-ramps and local residents to clean up the mess.
Residents have reported visitors leaving behind large amounts of trash, blocking roads and driveways, creating traffic jams and trespassing on private property. CHP officers had to close all the freeway exits leading into Frazier Park, only allowing residents in before 1 p.m.
“Anytime there’s snow up here, we’re going to get people from L.A. and Bakersfield up here to play in the snow, which is their right,” said Adrian Garcia, public information officer for California Highway Patrol in Fort Tejon. “But it just creates a bad situation where we have so much traffic in such a little area. It just causes a big headache for the local residents.”
Officers wrote numerous tickets throughout the weekend due to people blocking driveways and roads and double parking their cars. Some were even at risk of being towed due to safety hazards.
“That’s something we don’t want to do if we don’t have to,” said Garcia. “A lot of the people that come here and play, they don’t understand the rules. We get people parking on both sides of the road, and it’s harder, or impossible, to get an emergency vehicle through there.”
While CHP officials have no current plan of action other than to continue to implement road closures as needed, Garcia has some advice for Santa Clarita Valley and other L.A. County residents planning to travel to the Frazier Park area in the future for snow-related activities.
Plan to arrive at designated snow play areas by about 8 a.m., as they will fill up quickly.
Come prepared to bring trash back home, as there are no trash receptacles at snow play areas. Be respectful of area residents and don’t litter or leave trash behind.
Pay attention to posted signs stating snow play areas are closed, and turn around (legally) in the case that these signs are posted.
Never block driveways or roads, or double park vehicles. Always park on the downhill.
Don’t trespass onto private property to play in the snow.
Drive cautiously and obey all traffic laws, particularly when making U-turns.
“If you see a long line of cars, you probably want to turn around and try some other time,” said Garcia. “Obviously, we can’t not allow people to play in the snow, and we don’t have enough manpower to have an officer stand checking IDs for hours. We are definitely open for suggestions if somebody knows a better way of doing it.”
Area resident Melanie Bernhardt says she welcomes area visitors who are respectful.
“Just be respectful of the rules,” she said, “and we will continue to be welcoming.”