10 Degrees Cooler
Fence What You Need, And Leave the Rest Free
By Joann R. Deutch
Sep 29, 2011 - 11:44:38 PM

LAUREL CANYON—Los Angeles is among the biggest cities in the U.S. with the least amount of “green space” (open parkland) of any other major metropolitan area. Do you stop to think about the diversity of parks we have access to? Who owns what parkland determines how the public gets to use it. We’ve taken our kids to a local park in the flatlands. We’ve all signed up for sports activities or art classes at one of our city parks. As parents you sweat or freeze cheering your kids on; driving up and down the hill; lining up at 6 a.m. to sign up for summer camp. These parks are operated by the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. They have a website that will give you the skinny on what’s going on. You can also find out about youth and adult programs and classes. Did you know that our city parks are major childcare providers? Check out their website at www.LAParks.org/eregistration.htm.

Skunk Courtesy: Joann R. Deutch

Then there are parks like Wilacre and TreePeople. TreePeople is a non-profit group dedicated to urban forestry. Their mission is to involve people, one at a time, to plant and maintain trees throughout the City of Los Angeles. They will gladly train anyone over the age of16 in leadership and in service to their mission. They call them Citizen Foresters. Think about what a great gift it is to have your kids get free leadership training, while learning respect and stewardship for the environment. TreePeople also hosts a number of fun, affordable summer evening events as fund raisers. Their website is filled with great information at www.treepeople.org.

Wilacre Park is the third type of park/open space in our area. It covers 128 acres of unimproved parkland, open for hiking, and exploring. It’s owned by the State of California, and operated by The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC). http://www.lamountains.com/Lots of locals have a beef with this park because they ask us to pay for parking. What most people don’t realize is that one of the principle missions of SMMC is to purchase undeveloped land to connect open space throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. The Rangers refer to this vision as “developing a wildlife corridor.” The three bucks you’ve saved may be at the expense of the acquisition of six acres to preserve a wildlife corridor that the SMMC is trying to acquire at the intersections of Laurel Canyon and Mulholland Drive.

Each of these types of parks provide a different outdoor experience. For a city which is park poor, what a luxury at our doorstep. When the state budget threatens to close down our parks, it’s a big deal. With reduced staff and funding we all need to take responsibility as stewards for our parks. What can you do?

My contribution is to spread the word about a campaign directed to those of us who live in the hills. Fence What You Need and Leave the Rest Free. If you’re lucky enough to live in the hills of LA, there’s lot of green in our backyards. Don’t build a fence just because you own it. Share your land with the local wildlife. Give animals a safe passage to travel between parks. Animals can travel along the steep slopes of your property that you can’t use. Why fence them out?

We each have the Power of One.





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