By Wendy Langhans
I saw reasons for hope at this week's City Council meeting - 243 reasons, to be precise. That's the number of acres of open space that were purchased near Hwy 14 and Agua Dulce Road. (See map  for details).
Looking south along Agua Dulce Canyon
Why is this purchase a hopeful sign? I can think of three reasons:
1. Ecologically, it strengthens the wildlife linkage  between the San Gabriel Mountains and the Castaic ranges. Two weeks ago, I wrote that our about how our valley functions ecologically as "Wildlife Roundabout ". Here's where these 243 acres sits on the "Wildlife Roundabout" icon.
Here's where the new Open Space is located on the "Wildlife Roundabout"
The property is located in Agua Dulce Canyon and includes a portion of riparian (riverside) habitat. Specifically it strengthens the corridor habitat , because it is located adjacent to previously acquired open space.
Looking west towards the new Open Space purchase
Nearby, we find animal tracks
2. It uses the principle of financial leverage. About half the purchase prices is covered by a grant from the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy.
3. It was done in a way that honored our human connections with one other. George Rodda, the man who owned the property, spoke at the the City Council meeting. He thanked the Council and the city staff, specifically Barbara Blankenship, for their help. He mentioned he had received other, more lucreative, offers for the land but had chose to sell it to the City because (my paraphrase), "It was an opportunity to benefit generations yet unborn."
Mr. Rodda spoke truly. "Nothing worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime. Therefore we must be saved by hope." (Reinhold Niebuhr)
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
For Facebook Users: 90 Days of Santa Clarita Valley Wildflowers.
Here's a new way to familiarize yourself with our local wildflowers. Become a fan of the page, "90 Days of Santa Clarita Valley Wildflowers" and from now through April, each day you'll receive a photo of a local wildflower and a link to a website where you can learn more.
Saturday, March 20, 8-10 AM. Early morning bird hike. March is a special time to glimpse unique migratory birds as they travel North. Enjoy another wonderful walk with our in-house birder, Volunteer Naturalist Roger. Beginners are welcome. Bring binoculars. Heavy rains cancel. For map, click here .
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 (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.