In the war for doing it for the 'gram, there's no better battlefield than the trails to the iconic Hollywood sign. But after one of the most direct hiking routes to the sign was closed on April 18th, three local groups are crying foul over what they say was a 'backroom deal.'
The Beachwood Drive gate was the most direct hiking route for outdoor enthusiasts if they were using their weekend to trek up to the Hollywood sign, but after it was closed on April 18th, a group of homeowners and Griffith Park preservationists filed a lawsuit claiming the city is denying Angelenos access to a portion of Griffith Park by closing the gate - which is located on public land.
“A basic right of Angelenos is access to its public parks,” Clare Darden, a trustee for the Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust, said in a statement.
“Any access threatened by special-interest groups to Griffith Park land is a violation of Colonel Griffith’s declaration that the park be free and open to all.”
The gate was closed after Sunset Ranch Hollywood Stables (a private horse-riding business) filed a lawsuit against the city claiming that tourists and hikers were interfering with the ranch's business. The owners of the ranch say the city directed hikers onto its 'exclusive easement road' by telling people they could access the hiking trail by using a new gate.
A Los Angeles County Superior Judge ruled in February that hikers could not be barred from using the road, but said that the city needed to provide access to the Hollyridge Trail as close as possible to the gate at Beachwood Drive.
The lawsuit filed by the group says that by closing the Beachwood Drive gate (except for those driving to and from the ranch), blocked entry to public parkland and was essentially an illegal 'gift' of government property to a private owner and that other access points would be overburdened by the increase in cars and foot traffic.
In the meantime, if you're still looking to get up to the Hollywood Sign for your new profile photo (or maybe you're looking for the exercise - no judgments), the Public Trust responsible for maintaining and operating the sign offer you some other suggestions on how to get up there.