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Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Amir's Garden access trail renovation complete

As part of the 40th anniversary celebration for Amir's Garden, the oldest access trail to the iconic garden has been completely renovated.

Amir's Garden is one of three iconic gardens in Griffith Park. The five acre all-volunteer ornamental garden serves as a shady rest stop for hikers and equestrians. It is also a memorial garden and the plant pallet there has been chosen so that it plays the role of a fire break, something that last happened in 2004 when 1/4 of the garden was destroyed by a brush fire. The fire was successfully stopped by firefighters in the garden.

The garden access trail on the north east slope was the first access trail built to connect Amir's Garden to the Mineral Wells fire road. It was constructed by Amir and his friend, Henry Shamma, 35 years ago on what is the steepest side of the garden. Shamma was a close friend of Amir's, and is another historic figure in Griffith Park. There is a plaque for Henry located on Glendale Peak in the park today.

It took most weekends from mid-November 2009 to May 17th, 2010 to complete. The passage of time and erosion caused by rain and short-cutting had done major damage to the historic trail. In some places, only 3 of every 10 stairs still remained. In other areas, entire sections of the trail needed to be moved due to erosion or for safety reasons.


Renovation work consisted of brush clearance, slope stabilization, reconstructing terracing, installing new stairs, and adding proper drainage. Almost 200 stairs, 20 railroad ties, and more than an estimated 1500' of pipe and rebar were used in the project. All new wood was used with a few exceptions. Pressure-treated wood was used for longevity.

As you enjoy the new hiking surface, for safety reasons hikers are highly encouraged to stay on the main trail itself and not go off trail. Some sections of the reconstruction completed last (at the bottom of the trail) have not been rained on yet and the dirt on the sides is loose.

Given that summer seems to be here, make sure you stay in the middle of the trail until some real water falls from the sky.


Who did the reconstruction work? Thirty of the stairs in the longest section were replaced by Oscar Ayala and his scout troop in March as part of his Eagle Scout project. The rest? By this author as my gift to the park for the 40th anniversary of Amir's Garden.

Enjoy the workout!

Read more about Amir's Garden and the garden's founder and caretaker, Amir Dialameh, at the Amir's Garden web site.