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Frank Ferry: Discovery Park — keeping environment in mind

Live From City Hall

Posted: July 9, 2010 10:11 p.m.
Updated: July 10, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

The city of Santa Clarita is well known for its wide array of outdoor activities and opportunities, including thousands of acres of beautiful, open space, as well as 20 city parks and numerous top-of-the-line recreational facilities together encompassing more than 260 acres.

The character of each of the city’s parks is unique and determined by its location, design and input from the surrounding community. Earlier this year, the city hosted a groundbreaking event for a very special new recreational site for residents to enjoy — Discovery Park, located in Canyon Country. 

I am very pleased to let you know this new park has been completed and the grand opening will be held on Monday at 10 a.m.

Located along the banks of the Santa Clara River, Discovery Park is a “passive” river park designed to encourage barrier-free interaction with the natural environment.

The park is 25 acres, the majority of which will remain natural and safe from development. The park’s construction is funded through $1.8 million from Los Angeles Regional Park and Open Space District and its Proposition A grant program, which encourages projects with sustainable landscaping and irrigation practices.

Before construction for Discovery Park began, non-native species, illegal dumping and off-road vehicle use plagued the site, which is recognized as a Significant Ecological Area (SEA). The park’s design will help to reverse ecological damages caused by misuse, while encouraging further environmental protection and growth.

Modeled after the area’s natural landscape, Discovery Park dramatically enhances existing wetlands while minimizing stormwater runoff and improving wildlife habitat and biodiversity. The park also offers opportunities for education about Santa Clarita’s native wildlife, scenery and environment.

Designed with sustainability in mind, Discovery Park includes many environmentally friendly features, such as drought-resistant plants, native and native-adapted landscaping, low-volume irrigation and permeable surfaces meant to improve water retention and decrease water consumption.

A state-of-the-art computerized irrigation management system will adjust the park’s water supply based on its plant needs and local weather information, preventing excessive or wasteful water use.

The city completed Phase I of the Discovery Park in 2006, linking the park to the city’s existing trail system through the construction of a class I bike trail connecting the site to the Camp Plenty trailhead.

Phase II of the park added a paved bike path, bike racks, benches, picnic areas, open play areas complete with fun climbing boulders, a grassy meadow, a parking lot and other amenities to the site.

Discovery Park is perfectly suited to numerous forms of passive recreation, including yoga, tai chi, landscape painting, photography and more.

Because its natural design was specifically created to minimally impact the surrounding environment, Discovery Park will also offer excellent opportunities for wildlife observation and education.

Local equestrian enthusiasts will also get a kick out of the new park, which features a hitching post and connection to a nearby equestrian trail and the Lost Canyon trailhead.

Discovery Park is not only another place for residents to enjoy fantastic outdoor recreation; it is the first of what the city hopes to be many sustainable parks lining the local Santa Clara River.

The innovative design strikes a true balance between recreational opportunities and environmental preservation.

I encourage all community members to head out to the Discovery Park grand opening on Monday at 10 a.m. to celebrate another significant step toward melding environmental protection and recreation that is sure to echo for generations to come.

For more information or to RSVP for the grand opening event, please call the City at (661) 255-4939.

Frank Ferry is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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