With a red ribbon in place and large scissors in hand, the city of Santa Clarita celebrated Wednesday the addition of 176 acres to its nearly 10,000 acres of ensured open space.
“This is a major accomplishment,” said Mayor Laurene Weste at the event to recognize the new San Francisquito Open Space, located on the west side of San Francisquito Canyon Road and Lady Linda Lane.
The area was once planned for a major development, north of the Tesoro del Valle community, which would have included 37 one-acre residential lots.
The subdivision process was not able to continue since residential water supply was not available for the area, according to an agenda report in January, when the City Council approved the purchase of the land using $1.55 million from its Open Space Preservation District Fund.
“That development would have impacted the San Francisquito Creek,” said Weste. “It’s home to many native plants and California wildlife is abundant. This area is also a critical piece of land for Santa Clarita and California history.”
The mayor referred to the St. Francis Dam disaster. The dam once stood in San Francisquito Canyon, and in 1928 the dam collapsed, claiming the lives of more than 400 people.
The San Francisquito Open Space is now protected from development indefinitely.
“For generations to come, San Francisquito open space will be a place where our community members can explore the trails, enjoy the outdoors and remember the natural history of our city,” said Weste.
With a gate and parking lot in place, the new trailhead adds five more miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding and also connects with trails in unincorporated Los Angeles County territory. Soon the space should have benches, tables and information kiosks.
Resident Wendy Langhans said that after suffering from a knee injury, she’s been walking the local trails as her form of physical therapy. The new addition is exciting, she said, as her options locally are expanding.