Mapping Charmlee Wilderness Park
City of Malibu, CA
EiEi (Sally) Lwin (Lakewood
Luz Mendez (Cerritos
Barbara Talalemotu (El Camino
Christine M. Rodrigue (CSULB Geography)
Christopher T. Lee (CSULB Geography)
Chris Carter (LBCC Geography)
Stephen Koletty (El Camino Geography)
Elizabeth Fessler (Lakewood High Science)
Linda Sanders (Lakewood High Science)
Myles Loveall (Lakewood High Science)
Aziz Bakkoury (CSULB Geography)
Brian Sims (CSULB Geography)
Mapping Charmlee Wilderness Park,
City of Malibu, CA
Long Beach, 8 August 2003
A collaboration of the departments of:
Geological Sciences, Geography, and Anthropology
California State University
Long Beach, CA 90840
<|-- From working cattle ranch to wilderness park --|>
This project is the product of discussions between Dr. Rodrigue and the City
of Malibu to conduct field investigations of Charmlee Wilderness Park. This
work took place during the summer of 2003 as part of the Geoscience Diversity
Enhancement Project (GDEP
Wilderness Park is located in the rugged Santa Monica Mountains high above the
Malibu coastline (Fig.
There are virtually no detailed maps for users and managers of the Charmlee
Wilderness Park. Our task, then, was to provide a series of up to date maps of
the park trails, distributions of the vegetation communities, and significant
geologic formations. For this purpose, we employed sophisticated remote
sensing imagery, field work, and archival research.
Existing data were derived from the following:
- a trail map that the Park provides for its visitors (Fig.
- a map of the major vegetation associations that had been done in 1930 for
the U.S. Forest Service by A.E. Wieslander and did not match the vegetation
units seen in the field (Fig.
- a large scale geological map of the Triunfo Pass Quadrangle created by
Thomas Dibblee (Fig.
- a digital ortho quarter quad (DOQQ) or air photo rectified to a mapping
coördinate system (Fig.
- Los Angeles County Assessor's Office parcel maps of Charmlee Ranch and
other properties later fused to it to create Charmlee Wilderness Park, which
yielded information on the park's present boundaries (available at
personal communications from Mr. Glen Howell, history docent at Charmlee
Wilderness Park, who accompanied us on our first field day at the park and
attended the symposium at the end of GDEP, sharing with us his knowledge of
local history and showing us pertinent documents
- In the field, Charmlee Park trails were mapped using hand held Gamin GPS
- Trail intersections, view points, and other features of interest were
- Back at the lab, the collected data were imported into ArcView GIS.
- Updated trail maps were created using the GPS data overlaid on Digital
Ortho Quarter Quad (DOQQ) in ArcView.
- In the field, the GPS units were used to identify locations (training
points) of specific plant communities and other features, such as recently
burned areas, poison oak, and invasive exotic species.
- A vegetation map was derived from IKONOS imagery using the unsupervised
clustering model in ERDAS Imagine program.
- GPS points were overlaid on the vegetation map to check the accuracy of
the classification visually.
- Field investigations were conducted to verify the geology indicated on
the current USGS and historic Dibblee maps.
- In the field, the GPS units were used to record locations of specific
formations, outcrops, and exposures of possible interest to park visitors.
- These results may be viewed in Thrift-Viveros
et al. 2003>
Results include the following products:
- an updated trail map showing all the trails we found and GPSed in the
- an updated map of the main vegetation associations found in the park as
produced in an unsupervised classification of IKONOS imagery in ERDAS Imagine
- a geological report identifying points from which a visitor can view
examples of the various geological features in the park, which was produced by
et al. 2003>
- a timeline of significant events in the evolution of the Charmlee
landscape and its management Fig.
- an interactive web map of Charmlee's trails, boundaries, topography, fire
history, and vegetation age:
(please make sure to use a new browser, such as Internet Explorer 6,
Netscape 6 or 7, Opera 6 or 7, or Mozilla 1.3.1 or 1.4)
Initial analysis found that existing maps of Charmlee Park's trails were
inadequate. Many trails were either overgrown with vegetation, washed out by
storms, graded as a result of property maintenance, or completely non-
existent. Our research led to the discovery of previously unmapped trails and
identification of inaccuracies in existing trail maps. Inaccuracies in
existing vegetation maps (Wieslander 1935) were also identified, including the
following: mislabeled stands of vegetation, outlined areas identified as one
vegetation association which really encompassed multiple associations, and
omissions of existing plant communities. In addition, burn scars with their
early successional and exotic species were identified for inclusion in future
maps. As a result of extensive field verification, updated vegetation
associations were accurately identified and mapped. Geologic points of
interest were identified and mapped by Dr. María-Teresa Ramírez-
Herrera, Mr. Woody Williams, and Ms. Dalina Thrift-Viveros, utilizing many of
the techniques discussed in the paper.
Remaining work includes supervised classification of the IKONOS images
utilizing training points collected in the field. These consist of points
identified on the ground as belonging to a particular vegetation association
and GPSing it, in order to train ERDAS Imagine to differentiate them in the
way a trained field biogeographer would. It is hoped thereby that future maps
can differentiate the visually and floristically distinct soft chaparral and
hard chaparral assemblages. The finalized park maps will be delivered to City
of Malibu officials and Charmlee Park docents, and a public presentation of
our research will be given in Malibu on 26 September 2003.
We would like to give special thanks to the following people: Dr. Christopher
Tom Lee, Dr.Christine M. Rodrigue, Aziz Bakkoury, for going above and beyond
their call of duty to educate and equip us with a better understanding of
geography. We also thank Brian Sims, Dr. Steve Koletty, Dr. Chris Carter,
Elizabeth Fessler, Linda Sanders, and Myles Loveall for their tireless help
and support in completing this project. In addition, appreciation goes to Dr.
Chuck Herzig and Dr. Don Hallinger, for their support and encouragement and
for introducing us to the GDEP program.
We also would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Elizabeth
Ambos, and Crisanne Hazen for their support. Additional thanks to Glen Howell,
docent at Charmlee Park, for his expertise in the local history.
A super special thanks to the National Science Foundation (Grant # GEO-
0119891) for funding GDEP.
- Anonymous. n.d. Introduction to Remote Sensing, Rectification Image
- Dibblee, T.W., and Ehrenspeck, H.E. 1993. "Geologic Map of the Triunfo
Pass Quadrangle, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, California." Dibblee
Geological Foundation Map DF-29, scale 1:24,000. In Dibblee Geological Foundation,
2001, Geology of the Santa Monica Mountains, CD-ROM.
- Earth Resources Data Analysis System (ERDAS). 1999. ERDAS Imagine
- ERDAS. 2002. Field guide (classification).
- Environmental Systems Research Institute. 1999 Feature Analyst
- Haymes, Lois. 2002. "Chumash Life." The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural
History. Santa Barbara.
(accessed 04 August 2003).
- Higgins, Kate. 1997. "Adamson Family." Adamson House.
(accessed 04 August 2003).
- Hudson, Nili. 2000. "The Ultimate Destination for Living the Ultimate
Lifestyle." Los Angeles, California.
history.htm (accessed 06 August 2003).
- Los Angeles County Tax Asessor's Office. 2003.
(accessed July 2003).
- Thrift-Viveros, Dalina; Ramírez, María-Teresa; and
Williams, Woody; with the assistance of Rodrigue, Christine M.; Lee,
Christopher T.; Bakkoury, Aziz; and Sims, Brian. 2003. Discovering the Beauty
of Charmlee Park's Geological Formations. GDEP Research Symposium, Long
- Wieslander, A.E. 1935. "A Vegetation Type Map of California."
- Wine Institute. 1997, 1998. "Wine Industry Pioneers." San
(accessed 04 August 2003).
Maintained by GDEP webmaster
First placed on the web: 09/07/03
Last revised: 09/23/03