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Dante Acosta: Explore SCV’s open spaces

Posted: June 20, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 20, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

There is something special about getting out and enjoying the open-space areas of Santa Clarita.

For many, Santa Clarita’s natural, protected areas are a great opportunity to appreciate the unique place we all call home while clearing the mind and renewing the spirit.

Conservationist, naturalist and author John Muir once said, “It is impossible to overestimate the value of wild mountains and mountain temples as places for people to grow in, recreation grounds for soul and body.”

The Santa Clarita City Council has always been on the same page as Muir. We recognize the value of protecting natural spaces where people can roam and where nature remains untouched and protected.

Our natural spaces are a big part of why people love living in Santa Clarita and visiting our community.

The city of Santa Clarita has participated in the preservation of more than 8,000 acres of open space throughout the Santa Clarita Valley as part of the Open Space Preservation District.

These lands have become increasingly popular over the years, and in 2013 alone an estimated 630,000 people visited city open space.

We believe that number will continue to increase as we acquire new property and create new pathways to explore.

If you are looking for a few no-cost activities to add to your summer to-do list, I encourage you to get out and enjoy a morning or afternoon on the trail.

The city offers several tools to help explorers of all ages find the perfect path.

HikeSantaClarita.com features an interactive trail map with details about hiking trails, the city’s trail system, trailheads and the Los Angele County trail system.

The site also features a question-and-answer forum with local outdoor expert columnist “Ask Dr. Norm,” as well as an opportunity to share you hike with others, details about trail etiquette, and things to be aware of like snakes and other wild animals you may encounter.

The Hike Santa Clarita app is also available for iPhone and Android phones if you are looking to find your trail while on the go.

The free, popular app has already been downloaded more than 3,100 times, making it one of the city’s most successful to date.

There are so many great trails in Santa Clarita to explore. A few of the more popular include Quigley Canyon and Wildwood Canyon, both of which recently enjoyed a few upgrades.

The 168-acre Quigley Canyon space, located in the heart of Placerita Canyon, is now accessible from a new trailhead on Placerita Canyon Road about half a mile west of Sierra Highway.

Quigley Canyon is one of the city’s most popular open spaces for horseback riders, cyclists as well as hikers, featuring more than five miles of connecting trails and tree-covered picnic tables.

Clean Energy Systems generously granted the property for the new trailhead and trail, which now connects to the canyon.

The new trailhead into Quigley Canyon is also large enough to accommodate horse trailers during organized equestrian group rides.

Access to Wildwood Canyon, which the city purchased just a few years ago, is tucked away in a residential neighborhood in Newhall.

The city has worked with a trail contractor to grade a short access trail that now connects with existing loop trails within the canyon.

Dotted with beautiful oak trees, this popular hiking spot features more than a mile and a half of cleared trail and offers access for equestrians, hikers and cyclists.

The city is committed to making Santa Clarita’s open spaces inviting and easy to navigate, but we don’t do it alone.

A team of volunteers, city maintenance staff and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority help keep Santa Clarita’s open space clean, connected and safe.

We are always looking for volunteers who are willing to come out and help with everything from routine trail maintenance to constructing more complex trail improvements.

For more information about volunteering to protect and preserve Santa Clarita’s natural open spaces, please register as a volunteer at SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.

I hope to see you on the trail soon as a guest or volunteer trail preserver, and best wishes for a great start to summer!

Dante Acosta is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at dacosta@santa-clarita.com.

 

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