By Wendy Langhans
Ok - I’ll admit it - I am not overly fond of large crowds. So I became a bit anxious as we approached the Food Truck festival at Bridgeport last Saturday night. I noticed a few tell-tale crowd clues: the normally dull roar of traffic had ratcheted up a notch, cars were parked along street that were usually empty, and clusters of people were gathered at the crosswalk. If my husband hadn’t promised friends we’d meet them there (and neglected to get their cell phone number), I would have asked him to turn around.
As it was, we managed to thread our way through the crowd and find our friends. But all of us left soon afterwards. We needed a quiet and peaceful place to eat, rest and spend time each other. Even the lure of cupcakes couldn’t keep me there.
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The next day, reports came in about just how crowded it was: 7-8,000 people in a venue and layout configured for 2-3,000. As those numbers sank in, I remember thinking, “Now I know firsthand how a deer must feel, trying to get across the 5 and the 14.” Deer, as well as other wildlife, rely on four key crossings to travel the wildlife corridor between the San Gabriel and the Santa Susana mountains. One of these, the Los Pinetos undercrossing, runs directly under the 14.
One of the keys to designing a successful wildlife corridor is to acquire habitat leading up to the corridor. That’s why last week’s vote by the City Council to purchase 842  acres of open space in Elsmere Canyon was such good news. The acquisition is a combined effort, with monies coming from the City of Santa Clarita’s Open Space District, County of Los Angeles and Santa Monica Mountain’s Conservancy. Those 842 acreas are adjacent and lead to the Los Pinetos undercrossing. They also connect to the Angeles National Forest, Whitney Canyon and 400 acres of previously acquired land in Elsmere Canyon.
This new acquisition in Elsmere Canyon provides wildlife with a place to eat and rest, a welcome haven away from the roar (and headlights) of traffic. The only thing it doesn’t offer are cupcakes, but hey, how many cupcakes can a deer eat anyway?
For more information about Elsmere Canyon and wildlife crossings in general, check out the following websites:
A literature review  of wildlife Corridors
Rim of the Valley Corridor Study newsletter 
Map  of the acquisition area in Elsmere Canyon
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Friday, October 22, 6:30-8:30 PM, Things that go bump in the night at Towsley Canyon. Everything changes when the hunters become the hunted and the blind become the seeing. For directions and trail maps, click here .
Trail Maintenance Schedule. Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails. Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org  for time and place.
Wednesday mornings, October 6, 13, 20, & 27.
Saturday mornings, October 9 & 23.
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.
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