Keeping the Adams Pack Station alive

A community of friends and family who share a love of Big Santa Anita Canyon have come together to start a fundraiser to ensure the continued existence of Adams Pack Station. Since 1936, the Pack Station has been at the heart of Chantry Flat above Big Santa Anita Canyon, in the foothills above Sierra Madre and Arcadia, California.
After over a yearlong transition, Maggie Moran became the most recent owner of the Adams Pack Station in December 2019. It is her dream to preserve the Pack Station, as well as to make sure it thrives as it approaches its second century.  Despite the challenges of the two-month COVID-19 shut-down of Chantry in early 2020, and two closures during the summer (the Chantry Fire on July 13 that burned up to the edge of the parking lot, and the Ranch2 Fire in nearby Azusa in mid-August), business was rebounding.Then came the Bobcat Fire which ignited on September 6. The canyon was evacuated that evening. After a heart-wrenching week watching the fire grow with zero containment, on September 12, the Bobcat Fire breached containment lines and made its way into Big Santa Anita Canyon. By the next day the fire entered the heart of the canyon, threatening the historic Pack Station, Sturtevant Camp, and 80 privately owned cabins. Due to the heroic efforts of a group of brave firefighters, the Pack Station was saved.  Given the extent of the fire’s devastation, however, the Pack Station may not be able to reopen as a business for one to two years, until the surrounding burn areas become safe for the public to return.While many visitors to the canyon think of Adams Pack Station as just a place to purchase food, drinks, hiking maps and Forest Service passes, it is also the last remaining pack station in Southern California, and the only year-round pack station still operating in the Western United States. Before the Bobcat Fire ravaged the canyon, Maggie’s nine donkeys were housed in a stable at the Pack Station.  She led them on packing trips twice a week to transport supplies and materials to community of historic cabins and Sturtevant Camp, which can only be accessed through narrow trails on foot. Sturtevant Camp first opened to the public in 1893, during the Great Hiking Era. In the following decades, dozens of cabins were built throughout the canyon until the Forest Service issued the last cabin permit in 1938.  The Pack Station is not just a historic business and Maggie’s livelihood, it is also the permanent residence of Maggie and her family. They were evacuated on the day the fire began.  Currently they await word of when, and if, they will be allowed to return home due to the surrounding devastation.

Maggie’s nine donkeys were safely evacuated before the fire swept through the canyon. They are being housed in a stable in Pasadena, where they will remain until it is safe to return. The Pack Station has been at the heart of the Big Santa Anita Canyon since the early days, under the care of its namesake owners Bill and Lila Adams. They made the Adams Pack Station a home away from home for many in this community through their kind character and welcoming spirit. Maggie is committed to continuing this legacy for years to come. As Maggie explains: “My plan was, and is, to grow old here with my ever-growing canyon family. I can only hope to bring a little of what Bill and Lila did to the community. I know those are high aspirations, but I have been inspired by them through the many stories of admiration and love from their friends and family, so much so that I feel they have been with me during my short time here. They will continue to be in my heart throughout this tragic time to help me stay inspired to assist in restoring our canyon to what it once was, and as close to what it was when they were present.”  It will be a long road to recovery for Maggie and Adams Pack Station. Until then, they need our help to ensure they are ready to reopen and help the entire canyon community recover from the devastating impact of the Bobcat Fire.  Our goals are to raise funds to assist with boarding, food and care for the nine donkeys ($60,000), to help Maggie sustain her newly acquired business loan on the Pack Station while business is unable to continue ($100,000), to help with the costs for repairing and restoring the Pack Station surroundings due to fire, smoke and water damage sustained during the Bobcat Fire ($20,000), and to assist in preparing for possible mud and rock slides during this upcoming winter ($20,000).  (These amounts are projections for not being able to conduct business for about 2 years, which is a real possibility based on the extreme damage in the canyon. )

Maggie is dedicated to being prepared for the day when she can use the Pack Station as a home base to support the Big Santa Anita Canyon community as they rebuild and restore what has long been a treasured place in the San Gabriel Mountains. Also, to be prepared for when the gate at the base of the Chantry Flat Road reopens, and the general public can enjoy the Big Santa Anita Canyon once again. 

The Adams Pack Station will make it through, with your help and support.Thank you so much from the Adams Pack Station and all the kids (Donkeys)

  • Alison Dickey 
    • $750 
    • 15 d
  • Mary Simmons 
    • $100 
    • 23 d
  • Ken Jamieson 
    • $100 
    • 25 d
  • Paula Ash 
    • $38 
    • 27 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
See all

Organizer

Magdalena Moran 
Organizer
Sierra Madre, CA
Friends of the San Gabriels 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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