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SCV Outdoor Report: A Patchwork Quilt of Open Space

By: Wendy Langhans


When our daughter Ellie was born, her Godmother gave her a priceless gift, a handmade quilt.  It was a lovely piece of work, with various delicate calico prints pieced together into log-cabin blocks.  The blocks were then connected to one another by means of a solid-colored border.

Years later when Ellie was a teenager, she wanted a more “mature” looking bedroom.  So I carefully packed away her quilt, hoping she would want it again someday when she was truly mature enough to recognize its value as an heirloom.

I was reminded of that quilt this week when I attended the dedication ceremony at the Golden Valley Ranch Open Space.  Now my analogy may not seem obvious at first, but please stay with me while I explain.

150 years ago, California was one vast expanse of open space, with tiny pockets of development here and there.   But that changed over the years, as more people arrived and settled the land.  In 1892, the federal government established Angeles National Forest (originally called the San Gabriel Forest Reserve.  If you take a look at a map of the Angeles National Forest , you’ll notice how the open space is separated into two separate sections by the City of Santa Clarita.   Each section consists of a delicate patchwork of various habitats:  chaparral, coastal sage scrub, riparian, oak woodland, pine forest, and desert.

The Golden Valley Ranch Open Spaces adds 900+ acres along the north-western edge of the southern section.   This new open space:

1)  Expands the core habitat, much like a quilter adds batting to make the quilt warmer.


2) Connects with Placerita Canyon State Park and the 140 acre open space acquisition now in escrow, like a quilter adds a strip of calico to a log-cabin block.


3)    Strengthens the habitat leading up to Newhall Wedge, the wildlife corridor connecting the San Gabriel and Santa Susana Mountains, much like a quilter adds a strip of cloth to connect the log-cabin blocks.

Last fall, when Hugh and I visited our daughter Ellie in Philadelphia, I noticed her Godmother’s quilt was carefully folded at the foot of the bed.  And in the 20+ years the City of Santa Clarita has existed, it has preserved 3,500 acres of open space.  It’s a good thing when people recognize a valuable heirloom, whether it be a quilt or open space.

Upcoming Outdoor Events:  (Remember, heavy rain cancels MRCA-sponsored events)

Late winter is a good time to visit Vasquez Rocks, which is owned and operated by the County of Los Angeles.  
Directions:  heading east on Hwy 14, take the exit at Agua Dulce Canyon Road and turn left at the off ramp. The road makes an abrupt right turn and later an abrupt left turn, but the park entrance is straight ahead at 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road.  For more information call (661) 268-0840.

Saturday, March 15, 8:00 am.  Bird Hike at Towsley Canyon.
For directions and a trail map, click here .
Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

Saturdays, March 8 and 22, and every Wednesday, 8:00 am.  Trail Maintenance Volunteers at Towsley Canyon.
Come join our trail maintenance volunteers for camaraderie and a heart-thumping workout.  For more information call Steve Ioerger at 661-291-1565 or
Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS AM 1220 and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to

SCV Outdoor Report: A Patchwork Quilt of Open Space

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