It’s not often that I disagree with the City Council. But I did last night, when they described their vote to aquire Gateway Ranch as a “victory for the entire valley.” I think they underestimated the acquisition of 302 acres of open space - it’s a victory for the entire region, for the entire state, and for Mexico as well!
And here’s why....the purchase strengthens the wildlife corridor between the Santa Susana Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains. Gateway Ranch (formerly known as Las Lomas) is located on pie-shaped piece of land in an area that lies between the 5 and the 14, area known as the “Newhall Wedge”. For a map, click here .
Caption: Looking east from the top of Wiley Canyon, you can see the the Santa Susana Mountains in the foreground and Newhall Wedge and San Gabriel Mountains in the background.
This connection is a key part of a series of habitat linkages stretching throughout California and including Baja California. In the north, this connection helps link the Sierra Nevada’s in the northeast with the Coast Ranges in the north and west. In the south, this connection helps link the Santa Monica Mountains in the southwest with Baja California in the southeast. For a link to a series of older but still usable maps, click here .)
Why are wildlife corridors so critical to the health of ecosystems? Over the years, I’ve written a number of articles about the greenbelt surrounding the Santa Clarita Valley and the wildlife corridors that run through that greenbelt. In an SCV Outdoor Report, dated five years ago , I provided a brief explanation:
“Wildlife corridors are passageways between two larger expanses of open space. They serve several important functions:
• Allow wide-ranging species to roam and find mates
• Allow plants to reproduce
• Foster genetic diversity
• Provide escape routes for natural disasters (like wildfire)
• Assist repopulation after a disaster”
In another SCV Outdoor report, dated six years ago , I wrote about the six parcels of land that were necessary to support the San Gabriel/Santa Susana corridor’s key ecological functions. (For a map, click here .) They were:
Las Lomas (now referred to as Gateway Ranch)
Gates‐King Open Space
Newhall Refining/ Hondo Oil
Smiser Mule Ranch
So here we are, six years later. How are we doing? According to the latest map , a portion of Gate-King area will remain open space. We celebrated the acquisition of Elsmere Canyon in July 2012 And now, with yesterday’s approval by the City Council, we are well on our way to the acquisiton of Las Lomas (Gateway Ranch).
Bite by bite, we’re acquiring that pie-shaped piece of land. And that’s a reason for all of California, including Baja California, to celebrate.
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
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, July 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31.
Saturday mornings, July 6 & 20.
Flying Feathered Friends, Saturday, July 20th, 8:00 - 10:00 AM.
Summer has officially arrived! Come discover how birds adapt to the season in our local mountains. Beginners are welcome on this easy walk. Binoculars optional. Meet at Towsley Canyon’s front parking lot. For directions go to: LAMountains.com 
New trail maps available. If you’d like to explore a bit on your own, the City of Santa Clarita has a website with trail maps  of our local open spaces.
There’s also a new website for bicycle riders .
Ask Dr. Norm . Do you have questions about the flora, fauna, animals, rocks, etc. in our Santa Clarita Valley? Here’s a place for you to ask your questions.
Dr. Norman Herr, Ph.D., is a professor of science and computer education at California State University, Northridge.
Tell Us About Your Hike  Here’s a new website where you can post pictures, provide feedback and make suggestions about the City of Santa Clarita’s trails and open spaces.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The SCV Outdoor Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
Or check out our Facebook page - L.A. Mountains 
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