Economic Recovery Grant Won

By Patric Hedlund

A “sizeable” American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant has been won by the Mt. Pinos Ranger District.

The funds will replace the entire Chuchupate administrative complex, building a new energy efficient office facility, community meeting hall and heliport. The current building was constructed in the 1930s according to project engineer, Bruce Emmens, “and has reached the end of its useful life.” A warren of modular buildings houses district operations currently.

“This means jobs for the area,” Emmens said in an interview Tuesday, Oct. 13.

“This is the largest capital investment building program to ever be undertaken in the Mt. Pinos District of the Los Padres National Forest,” observed Michael Berg, Executive Director of the National Forest Association–Los Padres who lives in Pinon Pines.

Design and construction bids will begin by June 2010, Emmens said, with contracts completed and money allocated by September 2010.

Recently retired District Ranger Tom Kuekes worked to develop the grant proposal package for the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF). The proposal was in competition with 18 other National Forest areas throughout California, and “is among a small handful to receive funding,” according to Bruce Emmens, who will oversee the project for LPNF

Berg is excited about the project. “This complements our efforts to put in the Mike Foster Native Plant Garden on the grounds adjacent to Chuchupate,” he said.

The clock is ticking on the 30-days the public has to comment on the scope of the project and its impacts. Comments are due by November 4, See more about the project at

This is part of the October 16, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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