A popular hiking path that leads to the Hollywood sign will close tomorrow, following a lawsuit made against the city of Los Angeles by a local ranch.
As the LA Times reported, in past years Sunset Ranch in Griffith Park allowed for tourists and hikers to cut through a 20-foot patch of land up to the sign, allowing for easy access to the famed landmark. That route, situated at the end of Beachwood Drive, has attracted many hikers by being one of the most convenient trails available. However, due to concerns over high-tourist traffic and overcrowding, disputes have arose over whether the path found at the end of a residential drive should be permitted.
In response, Sunset Ranch filed legal charges against Los Angeles in 2015, claiming that the city advertised for hikers to use the passage — a move that has led to an encroachment on private space that has since hurt the ranch overall, according to the Times. This past February, a judge from the LA County Superior Court determined that while hikers cannot be prevented from accessing the route, the city did in fact damage the ranch's business by encouraging hikers to use the passage. As a result, the route is set to be shut down tomorrow, conjuring mixed reactions from locals and other hikers.
A representative from Sunset Ranch declined to comment for this story.
Local resident Jed Bhuta said he believes that another resolution could have been found to the case, claiming that "This is one of the better hikes…I think that the city should find an alternative way of getting up to see the sign."
Indeed, reaching the Hollywood sign is a staple of Los Angeles tourism for many, and the Beachwood Drive path has acted as one of the most accessible and popular routes available.
"We just used the path listed when you Google 'Hollywood sign hike,'" USC student Megan Tebbenhoff said. "I know that there are other hikes that show the sign, but I feel like that path gives the best view of the whole sign."
Despite the rising concerns of Sunset Ranch and other Griffith Park residents, however, other paths to the Hollywood sign will still exist following tomorrow's closure. To USC student Kennedy Bingham, this means the whole debacle is really just overblown.
"[This particular] trail was constantly down for maintenance," Bingham said. "I think it was a pretty easy hike, but I don't think any of the [other] trails are terribly difficult."
Tomorrow's closure provides its equal share of solutions and issues for Los Angeles residents. Longtime homeowner in the Griffith Park area Jim Vandusen, for example, said wandering hikers are a big presence on Beachwood Drive: "They don't even go on the sidewalks. They go to the bathroom on our yards, they cut through the yards, they destroy property."
Vandusen attributes this chaos to the city's failure to properly react to years of overcrowding that will only get worse with tomorrow's closure.
"They had to restrict access somehow and merge it, and they didn't," Vandusen said. "They just put in some Band-Aids in place and the crowds kept increasing."
A possible solution Vandusen suggests has the city shutting down the public area periodically, mitigating the flow of hikers during certain times of the day.