Outdoor activities coming back in time for summer

Matthew Maurisi practices making a play at first base while Logan Dosh works on base running during a practice at the Hart Baseball Pony League fields. PHOTO BY PERRY SMITH / THE SIGNAL
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There’s plenty to do now that you’ve been out of practice for a year in terms of finding spring activities for you and your family.

Even if you’re still dealing with COVID-19 without a vaccine, but curious about what activities are permitted — with safety adjustments, Santa Clarita has a number of options for the whole family. 

Adult & Youth Sports

Last year, the return to spring sports was short-lived, but this year, after months of people being kept inside, officials around the Santa Clarita Valley have announced plans to start-up youth and adult sports once again. 

And the response from the returning athletes, both young and old, has been overwhelming. 

“People in the community are just ready to get back out there, from the social side and the competition side, and it’s the love of sports and activity outdoors,” said Lance O’Keefe, the city’s recreation and community services manager. 

Giving just one example of what he means, within five days of opening up registration for the city’s adult softball leagues that started at the end of March, 120 adult teams had signed up already and, with 10-12 players per team — more than 1,000 people committed to playing. 

A normal spring season will have approximately 160 teams sign up, but given the ongoing concern over COVID-19 and social distancing, O’Keefe said it was exciting to see the spring numbers.

“People are just interested in getting back out and doing something because they’ll have the opportunity to interact with others, socialize and have friendly competition that wasn’t there for a year,” said O’Keefe. “The activities happening at Central Park, and every inch of every other park, is filled up on the evenings, both from people doing something organized or something on their own.”

In addition to adult league softball, the city is offering youth volleyball, tee ball and coach-pitch baseball to families, with city staff functioning as the coaches for the leagues. Adults will also have available to them virtual pickleball, disk golf and ultimate frisbee available to them. 

Additionally, the aquatic facilities in Santa Clarita have announced their plans to reintroduce the competitive stroke class for kids age to 17 to learn different competitive swimming strokes. 

We’ve got a waitlist that we’re forming and we’ll be taking people off the waitlist as we can,” said O’Keefe. “And I’m looking for every possible way to expand our programming that’s being offered on the sports side, because people are looking to get back out into those activities the interest and demand is there.”

For more information about city and/or local sports, visit santa-
clarita.com/city-hall/departments/
recreation-community-services-and-
open-space/recreation.

Arts & Entertainment

Springtime allows for people to experience the sunlight later in the day, a fact that gives families and individuals more time to experience activities they normally wouldn’t have time for during the winter, but also activities they weren’t allowed to participate in this whole past year. 

“I’m really happy that we’re in daylight savings now and it’s lighter longer, so you know going on an evening walk, you know after dinner or a hike or exploring the bike trails,” said Evan Thomason, an economic development associate with the city of Santa Clarita. “We’re transitioning to spring (right now), but there’s definitely been some people days out there (already).” 

Coming this spring to the SCV and probably the most exciting offering this year’s second season has to offer, Magic Mountain is set to open its gates once again to park visitors, Thomason said. 

“I think it’s been a long time coming and (Magic Mountain) has good systems in place,” said Thomason. “It looks like it’s going to be really nice to have that one again.” 

Thomason also suggested fewer restrictions will allow for restaurants to serve more people, host them on their patios and/or offer them an open-air experience. Picnics are also a possibility and Reyes Winery, Agua Dulce Winery and the various wine rooms in the Old Town Newhall area allow for wine tasting.

Castaic Lake and the city’s 20,000-plus acres of open space will allow for outdoor adventures, said Thomason, and information about them, as well as dozens of other options that should be on families/visitors itineraries can be found at https://visitsantaclarita.com/.

“Get out there,” said Thomason, “and enjoy the outdoors.” 

Gardening 

Whether wanting to make your house aesthetically pleasing or to make a garden that can help feed you, Tim Wheeler, a horticulture consultant with Santa Clarita Valley water, said there’s no time like spring to cultivate your own patch of land. 

“It’s the perfect time to put down a Spring application of fertilizer, then people don’t have to worry about that until probably late fall or early fall to do another little one,” said Wheeler. “And that’ll benefit their vegetables, it’ll benefit their flowering plants, it’ll benefit basically everything because right now, we’re in the beginning of the growing season.”

The pandemic allowed people to rethink their interest in certain unexplored hobbies or to return to ones they had previously lost in their busy lives. 

Wheeler said there’s a chance now to pursue your garden growing dreams, and even have a chance to head to a nursery and purchase seeds and/or mature plants. 

Wheeler suggested a knowledgeable place to start, if not consulting with the experts at local nurseries or in the SCV Water gardening classes, is to purchase well-regarded education materials, such as the “Sunset Western Garden” book. 

For more information about gardening courses or free resources being offered to local residents regarding gardening and landscape, visit https://yourscvwater.com. 

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