LOS ANGELES, June 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In observation of National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day), Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) volunteers on Saturday joined employees from Southern California Edison (SCE) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to help restore hiking trails in the Angeles National Forest that were damaged by fire in 2009.
"SoCalGas is committed to supporting the communities we serve," said Lisa Alexander, vice president of SoCalGas' customer solutions and communications. "Last year alone, our dedicated employees spent more than 15,000 hours volunteering their time in communities across Southern California. We're excited to partner with Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to restore safe access to hiking trails in one of the country's most beautiful national forests and monuments."
Since the 2009 Station Fire burned more than 160,500 acres of land in the Angeles National Forest, brush has overgrown the hiking trails making many of the pathways unsafe for hikers. Volunteers from the three utilities worked to clear hiking trails of poodle-dog brush, which grows quickly after fires and can cause severe skin irritations when touched. The Angeles National Forest, of the U.S. Forest Service, is located in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
"I want to thank all the volunteers and partners who provide tremendous support throughout the year. These partners inspired their workforce to actively participate in National Get Outdoors Day by encouraging their employees to volunteer to help cleanup trails," said Jeff Vail, forest supervisor for the U.S. Forest Service. "This truly embodied the intent of the day, which is to get people outdoors to use their public lands, while making a meaningful contribution to their community."
Employees from SoCalGas, SCE and LADWP organized the outing to promote a culture of environmental responsibility at the utilities. The volunteers worked to restore hiking trails near the upper Big Tujunga watershed, off Angeles Crest Highway 2 in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
"We consider the hiking trails and the surrounding habitat in the Angeles National Forest to be precious local treasures," said Nancy Sutley, chief sustainability & economic development officer for LADWP. "We are proud to support efforts to preserve them."
In its ninth year, GO Day is an outgrowth of the Get Outdoors USA! campaign, which encourages Americans - especially youth - to lead healthy, active outdoor lives and to embrace parks, forests, refuges and other public lands.
"Helping protect and improve the environment is one of Southern California Edison's priorities, and we continue to support Angeles National Forest to ensure that future generations have access to open spaces at our nation's public parks," said Janet Clayton, senior vice president, corporate communications, Southern California Edison and Edison International.
More than 15 million people live within 90 minutes of the San Gabriel Mountains and the range provides open space and recreational opportunities for many Southern California residents. The National Forest Foundation, the nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service, helped organize the event. Chartered by the U.S. Congress, the foundation brings people together to enhance the country's 193-million-acre national forest system.
"It's critical to receive support from corporations and their employees to accomplish our important work," said Edward Belden, the foundation's Southern California program associate. "Thanks to our partners, families from throughout Southern California can visit the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and enjoy these trails."
About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.
About Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal water and power utility in the nation, was established more than 100 years ago to deliver reliable, safe water and electricity to 3.8 million residents and businesses in Los Angeles. LADWP provides its 666,000 water customers and 1.4 million electric customers with quality service at competitive prices.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.
About the National Forest Foundation
Founded by Congress in 1991, the National Forest Foundation works to conserve, restore and enhance America's 193-million-acre National Forest System. Through community-based strategies and public-private partnerships, the NFF works with the Forest Service to enhance wildlife habitat, revitalize wildfire-damaged landscapes, restore watersheds, enrich outdoor experiences, and engage communities in forest stewardship for the benefit of all Americans.
About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.
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SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.