Laurene Weste | Safe Trails in the New Year

Laurene Weste
Santa Clarita Councilwoman Laurene Weste
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As we step into the new year, I find myself eagerly anticipating the adventures that lie ahead. As a long-time resident and former parks commissioner of the city of Santa Clarita, I have always been captivated by the simple joy of hiking and embracing the great outdoors. Our beloved city is a treasure trove of natural beauty with over 13,000 acres of rolling hills in our open spaces and an extensive network of over 100 miles of trails that is just waiting to be explored.  

This year, I want to extend a warm invitation to each of you to join me in the simple pleasure of hiking or biking through the scenic wonders that surround Santa Clarita. It’s an excellent way to connect with nature, promote well-being and explore some of the undiscovered gems right here in our own community. As we embark on these outdoor endeavors, let’s not forget the importance of trail etiquette and a shared commitment to ensure that every resident can enjoy our trails safely.  

Whether you’re strolling down one of our city’s scenic paseos or zipping along one of our numerous bike paths, it’s crucial to take a “Heads Up!” approach and be mindful of others sharing the space. Always follow designated trails and paths, respecting the natural beauty around you and preventing harm to the environment.  

When encountering fellow trail enthusiasts — walkers, hikers, cyclists and especially horseback riders — a friendly greeting or signaling your presence ensures a smooth and courteous passage. For those of you moving a little faster than others — cyclists and runners — announcing “on your left” when approaching from behind will help you pass more safely. If you hear those words, please stay to the right so that others can easily get around you.  

When hiking or cycling in a large group, it is important to do so in a single-file manner so the group does not take up more than half of the trail.  

If you get tired and need to take a break, move to the side of the trail to let others pass with ease. For those fast-moving mountain bikers, maintain awareness of your speed, adhere to park speed limits and announce yourself loudly when preparing to pass others.  

And finally, respect nature! Litter has no business being out on our beautiful trails — if you pack it in, please pack it out.   

For more information on hiking in the city’s open spaces, including maps, activities and more, please visit HikeSantaClarita.com. To learn more about cycling throughout our city, including suggested routes, new trails and more safety tips, check out BikeSantaClarita.com 

Let’s lace up those hiking boots, dust off our bicycles, brush off the horse and make 2024 a year filled with exploration, fresh air and the freedom of the outdoors — all while prioritizing safety. “Heads Up!” and happy trails, Santa Clarita! 

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

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