Cherry Canyon’s Preservation Turns 30

Via LA Times

By Sara Cardine

One Saturday morning last fall, La Cañadans laced up their hiking shoes and headed out on a trek with Mayor Jon Curtis to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the acquisition of Cherry Canyon, a hard-fought battle to preserve local open space. The walk — which culminated at Ultimate Destination Point with healthy refreshments, brief talks about the surrounding native habitat and a native poppy “seed bomb” — was organized mainly by the La Cañada Flintridge Trails Council, city staff and officials and members of the Youth Council.

“The Trails Council was looking for a way to celebrate 30 years of open space at Cherry Canyon,” Council President Caroline Craven said of the day’s inception. “Everybody stepped in, it was really a group effort.” Curtis said he was happy to get involved in the event, which coincided perfectly with a healthy communities initiative he’s established as one of several mayoral goals. “It was a real nice event,” the mayor said in an interview Tuesday, highlighting the importance of the area. “[Cherry Canyon] forms a key and critical part of our trails system.”

The first 55-acre Cherry Canyon parcel was purchased in 1986 with a $1.3-million grant from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and $500,000 from La Cañada’s general fund, according to a May 1986 Los Angeles Times article. After that, the city sought an additional $450,000 in state funds to buy a natural preserve between that parcel and Descanso Gardens, also acquired through the conservancy. Today the canyon stretches across 131 acres south of the Foothill (210) Freeway and accommodates a 12-mile Loop Trail that circumnavigates the city.

“It’s a big area that otherwise would have been subject to development,” Curtis said of the space. “We’re so fortunate that both past and current leaders, community groups and citizens have put so much time, energy and dedication into making our community so great with so many resources, including this open space.”

Cherry Canyon

La Cañada Flintridge Trails Council president Caroline Craven, left, and mayor Jonathan Curtis, right, lead a large group on a hike from the Hampstead Road Trail Head to Ultimate Destination Point to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the open space at Cherry Canyon.

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