Ex­plore Our Open Space

The Signal - - COMMUNITY - By Coun­cilmem­ber Lau­rene Weste Mayor Lau­rene Weste is a mem­ber of the Santa Clarita City Coun­cil and can be reached at lweste@santa-clarita.com.

“Climb the moun­tains and get their good tid­ings. Na­ture’s peace will flow into you as sun­shine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own fresh­ness into you, and the storms their en­ergy, while cares will drop off like au­tumn leaves.”

– John Muir

It took decades of hard work to pre­serve the thou­sands of acres of open space that sur­round our City. Work that is well worth it. Now our res­i­dents, neigh­bors and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will be able to ex­plore and en­joy the nat­u­ral beauty of Santa Clarita for­ever. Cur­rently, our pre­served open space is 9,314.9 acres with 85 miles of trails. Those num­bers rise yearly as we ac­quire more land and our amaz­ing trail vol­un­teers com­plete more trails.

I en­cour­age all of you to plan your own hik­ing ad­ven­ture. Our trail sys­tem of­fers hikes for ev­ery ath­letic abil­ity, from flat, pic­turesque walks to chal­leng­ing climbs that will re­ward you with mag­nif­i­cent, sweep­ing views. Be­fore you go, please visit hike­san­taclarita.com for a com­plete list of in­ter­ac­tive trail maps, park­ing in­for­ma­tion, trail eti­quette tips, a photo gallery show­cas­ing the beau­ti­ful, nat­u­ral spa­ces and what you need to take with you for your visit.

Here are some safety tips to en­sure a suc­cess­ful ad­ven­ture:

• Al­ways hike with a buddy (this is crit­i­cal)

• Take plenty of drink­ing wa­ter (es­pe­cially on hot, sum­mer days)

• Bring a charged cell phone

• Please stay on marked trails

• Share your hik­ing plans with some­one back home be­fore you leave

• Keep dogs on a leash at all times for their safety

• Bring a steel whis­tle An­other im­por­tant tip is to make some noise. It is im­por­tant to let snakes and other crit­ters know you’re com­ing, but also your fel­low trail users. Moun­tain bik­ers should have a bell on their bike so they can alert horses/rid­ers and hik­ers that they will soon be rid­ing past. Horses and hik­ers could be in­jured if not warned in time.

Also keep in mind that our moun­tains and canyons are home to an abun­dance of wildlife. Please re­spect th­ese an­i­mals dur­ing your visit and re­mem­ber that you are a guest in their home. Visi­tors can ex­pect to see lizards, birds, rab­bits, deer and squir­rels. Oc­ca­sion­ally, you may also see snakes (in­clud­ing rat­tlesnakes), deer, bobcats, coy­otes and in very rare oc­ca­sion, moun­tain lions and bears. If you see wildlife, keep your dis­tance and re­main calm. Please re­mem­ber when hik­ing our trails do not lit­ter and do re­spect the park prop­erty, veg­e­ta­tion and wildlife.

If you would like to check out the wildlife safely - the best way to do it is on our wildlife cam­era. You can do this by vis­it­ing hike­san­taclarita.com and click­ing on the “Wildlife Caught on Cam­era” un­der the FAQ tab. There you will see amaz­ing pho­tos from our open space cam­eras that are trig­gered when skunks, deer, bob cats, foxes, coy­otes, moun­tain lions, and even bears walk by!

I urge you to get out­doors and take some time to reconnect with the beau­ti­ful abun­dance of na­ture that sur­rounds us. Happy trails!

Mayor Lau­rene Weste

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