Laurene Weste | Celebrating a Historic 36th Park

Laurene Weste
Santa Clarita Councilwoman Laurene Weste

Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

As the third-largest city in Los Angeles County, I find it admirable that we, in Santa Clarita, continue to prioritize the importance of open space, nature and parks. These outdoor spaces are amazing for our health as noted in our One Story Once City book, “The Nature Fix.”  

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen our trails and parks bustling with individuals who are thankful for the chance to be outside and active. From winding trails in open space to shaded paseos and picturesque parks, Santa Clarita encourages all forms of outdoor exploration. The city’s recreational opportunities will only continue to expand, which is evident by the most recent addition of Vista Canyon Park. 

What is your favorite Santa Clarita park? Perhaps you love Central Park for the disc golf course, Bridgeport Park for the expansive fields or Plum Canyon Park for the view. There are different kinds of beauty in each of our parks.  

Vista Canyon Park marks the 36th park for our community. It is because of the collaborative efforts of the City Council, city staff and Vista Canyon’s JSB Development team that we were able to offer another outdoor facility for all to enjoy. The 11-acre park is home to an expansive playground with interactive sensory features, three pickleball courts (yes, there are three!), two tennis courts, a full basketball court and an outdoor picnic gazebo. This charming site is nestled within the new Vista Canyon development adjacent to Highway 14 on the beautiful east side of Santa Clarita. In addition to traditional elements, Vista Canyon Park is also home to the historic Mitchell River House. 

The Mitchell River House is a stunning farmhouse-style structure boasting exposed wood beams, natural light and old-time craftsmanship. The Mitchell Family, for whom the home is named, has a long history in our community. The Mitchells settled on the east side of Santa Clarita in the late 1800s, constructing a large adobe that became the site of the Sulphur Springs School. Bricks from that original adobe were salvaged and can be seen today at the Mitchell Adobe at Heritage Junction in William S. Hart Park. The Mitchells also built a two-story wood-frame home, which was the inspiration for the Mitchell River House. I am excited for the history of the Mitchell River House to live on and for new memories to be made there. As a part of Vista Canyon Park, the home will be available for event rentals and will be the most beautiful setting for weddings. Please don’t miss the copper and bronze eagle weathervane perched upon the Mitchell River House roof.   

The Vista Canyon community is designed to be car-optional and is one of Southern California’s most walkable and well-connected developments. As you explore the new park, you will notice how easy it is to hop on the more than 4 miles of pedestrian and bike paths. These trails connect to our extensive city trail system, which weaves throughout and around Vista Canyon — and along the Santa Clara River linking to over 100 miles of existing trails. From the new park you will be able to walk or ride to almost any area of the city.  

Santa Clarita is rich in history and outdoor recreational pursuits. I urge you to make time to visit the newest addition to our community, Vista Canyon Park, and learn more about the rich history of our community. Enjoy a picnic with your family, challenge a friend to a pickleball game, watch your children explore the playground and take a walk around the Mitchell River House — your children will be fascinated.  

Spring is the perfect time to explore these new community amenities and possibly discover a new favorite park in Santa Clarita. 

Laurene Weste is a member of Santa Clarita’s City Council and can be reached at [email protected].  

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