An exciting day as we hosted the Grand Re-Opening of the Ken Burton Trail!
Pancakes were great and the turn out was truly epic!
This year’s Pancake Breakfast and Raffle was a very special one. We had Ken Burton’s family join us for a ribbon cutting ceremony and re-opening of the fantastic trail. There was a great energy at Gould Mesa as everyone paid respect for Ken Burton and the amazing community that has grown, congregated, and reunited because of his trail in the Angeles National Forest.
As usual, the raffle was unbelievable with multiple bikes and countless bags of swag donated by many local bike shops, businesses, and individuals.
Photographers Mark Skovorodko and John Watson of The Radavist joined us and both posted great photo essays of the event. Images of the trail riding, people camping, solid breakfast in the forest, raffle items, and abundant smiles really shows the true colors of our local mountain biking community.
Check out Mark’s coverage of the early morning Pasadena Mountain Bike Club ride up Brown and down Ken Burton to the Pancake Breakfast. PMBC is one of the oldest social MTB clubs around, established in 1985 in the shadows of the San Gabriel Mountains. If you are looking for fun rides with great people, get in touch with PMBC.
MWBA was again lucky to have John Watson of The Radavist join us. John’s event photos and focus on many of the great bikes should not be missed.
It was great to see many people embrace the original MWBA tradition of bike camping and simply having a good time in the mountains. Many original MWBA members attended this special Pancake Breakfast and having multiple generations of mountain bikers celebrating together was fantastic.
Ken Burton’s trail brought together our community, generations of his family, and many lovers of the forest. The multi use trail built by MWBA in the 1990s has truly become a centerpiece of the local forest community. Ken Burton’s memory lives on through all of the switchbacks down to the Arroyo Seco and commonly his presence is seen via a Red Tail hawk overhead. Keep your eyes open the next time you are on the trail as Ken may just fly over and say hello.
MWBA is forever grateful to its generous community. Without the countless volunteer hours and the generosity of our local business, MWBA would not be where it is today. THANK YOU!
Ken Burton’s daughter, Heather, gave a wonderful speech before the ribbon cutting. Here’s the text of her speech for those who could not attend. It is important to realize Ken Burton was a real man and this trail that brings our community together represents who he was and what he stood for.
While serving his country in the National Guard, at age 21 my Dad wrote home to his Mom stating… “There is nothing that’s too hard for a Burton.” This quote was the foundation of Ken Burton’s belief system; there was nothing too hard for him to accomplish, or overcome. My name is Heather, You may know him as Ken Burton, Battalion Chief with the U.S. Forest Service, but my sister and I know him not only as our DAD but also as our Hero! He instilled this belief of always giving it your best, into everyone he met and this is what my sister and I live our lives by. Dad and the entire Burton family, are so honored and grateful that Ken Burton is being remembered and honored with this trail.
All of those who knew, met, and worked with Dad admired him for his character, work ethic, and his tenacity for life. He brought out the best in everyone. He inspired his crews to work harder and instilled passion for the preservation of Wildland and for Fire Fighting. The following poem is truly a reflection of the man Ken Burton was:
“If a man is honest with others and with himself, If he receives gratefully and give quietly,
If he is gentle enough to feel and strong enough to show his feelings,
If he is slow to see the faults of others but quick to discover their goodness,
If he is cheerful in difficult times yet modest in success
If he does his BEST to be true to his beliefs, than he is truly an admirable man.“
Dad was an admirable man that many respected. He was thought of by his peers as being an inspiring leader. He initiated certain procedures on the helicopter that are still used today by the Chilao Hot Shots and Helitack Crew. His passion has not been forgotten! When dad was not at work, or fighting a wildland fire, he would be found on his bicycle riding for miles and miles at a time, or he would be found on a baseball diamond. Dad was an exceptional shortstop! He honored the temple that God had given him, and took his health and fitness very seriously. When Dad worked at Chantry Flats, he would take us hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains and instilled in us the love for nature and being outdoors. Mom understood Dad’s passion for being in the Forest Service.
Mom, who has now joined my Dad in heaven, was quoted twenty years ago at the initial trail dedication stating, “It is gorgeous here, and this is where Kenny loved to be, up here working on these trails.” Dad’s nickname was ‘John Wayne’ He was given this name for his gung-ho approach for the dedication he brought to his job. One of the profound statements made at Dad’s memorial service stated, “Ken, may you always watch over us through the eyes of a red tailed hawk.” To this day, when a red tailed hawk soars above, we know that, our Dad, Ken Burton, is watching over us, we are graced with his memory and comforted knowing his presences is still with us. So, the next time you see a red tailed hawk, know that Ken Burton’s spirit is with you.
On behalf of our Dad, Ken Burton and the Burton family including our friends, we would like to give our sincere gratitude to Steve Messer President of the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association, Jenny Johnson President of The Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, Erik Hillard, The U.S. Forest Service, The Arroyo Seco Ranger District, The Los Angeles Conservation Core, and all the men and women who volunteered countless hours to contribute to this special project.