By Wendy Langhans
Photography by S. Ioerger
There’s an old Yiddish folk-tale about a man who’s house is
too crowded. He longs for a bigger
house, so he consults with a wise old woman.
She advises him to bring in one animal after another, until the noise,
smell and commotion is unbearable. Then
she tells him to remove all the animals.
Suddenly, the house doesn’t seem so crowded after all.
As I’ve followed the story of the continuing saga of Lyon’s
Canyon and D.L. Horton’s proposed development there, I am reminded of that
folk-tale: let’s propose 850 units and then trim it down to 185. And let’s make 93 of those units senior
housing. I mean, really, who’s going to
vote against senior housing?
Well, I may not be as wise as the woman in that folk-tale,
but I do have enough gray hair to almost qualify as “old”. And I have four facts to share that about
that piece of property.
Fact #1. Lyon’s
Canyon contains two Significant Ecological Areas, SEA 20 and 63. In our city’s “One Valley, One Vision”
document, “Significant Ecological Areas are ecologically important fragile land
and water areas that are valuable as plant and animal communities and are often
important to the preservation of threatened or endangered species.”
Fact #2. Lyon’s
Canyon is part of “The Greenbelt”, the open spaces surrounding the Santa
Clarita Valley. The Greenbelt provides
(1) critical wildlife corridors, which connect California’s coastal mountain
ranges, transverse ranges and the eastern Sierra’s (2) supporting habitat for
According to the Biological Constraints Analysis prepared
for Lyon’s Canyon, “The project site presently provides high quality wildlife
habitat that supports numerous travel routes for wildlife movement.” The report goes on to add, “The project site
provides important and contiguous open space habitats that support the quality
of these nearby regionally important wildlife movement corridors.”
I have personally observed large mammals at nearby Towsley
Canyon: deer, bobcats and coyotes. I have seen evidence of others, such as black
bear scat and a partially consumed deer haunch (which I assume was part of a
Mountain lion kill).
Fact #3. Lyon’s Canyon is home to numerous “Species of
Special Concern”: 8 plants are known to
exist there and 7 are likely, while 2 animals are known and 12 are likely. I have personally observed Plummer’s Mariposa
Lily and Cooper’s hawk at nearby Towsley Canyon.