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Laurene Weste: Discovery Park opens soon

Live From City Hall

Posted: February 18, 2010 10:02 p.m.
Updated: February 19, 2010 4:55 a.m.
The city of Santa Clarita is well known for its wide array of outdoor activities and opportunities, including about 4,000 acres of beautiful open space, 60 miles of off-street trails and paseos, as well as 20 city parks and numerous top-of-the-line recreation facilities encompassing more than 260 acres.

The character of each of the city’s parks is unique and determined by its location, design and input from the surrounding community.

On Feb. 25, the city will host a special groundbreaking event for a new, very special, recreational site for residents to enjoy — Discovery Park, located in Canyon Country.

Located along the banks of the Santa Clara River, Discovery Park is a “passive” river park designed to encourage barrier-free interaction with the natural environment. The park comprises 25 acres, the majority of which will remain natural and safe from development.

The park’s construction is funded through the 1.8 million Los Angeles Regional Park and Open Space District and its Proposition A grant program, which encourages projects with sustainable landscaping and irrigation practices.

Before construction of Discovery Park began, non-native species, illegal dumping and off-road vehicle use plagued the site, which is recognized as a Significant Ecological Area (SEA). Once completed, the park’s design will help to reverse ecological damages caused by misuse, while encouraging further environmental protection and growth.

Modeled after the area’s natural landscape, Discovery Park will aesthetically enhance existing wetlands while minimizing stormwater runoff and improving wildlife habitat and bio-diversity. The park will also offer opportunities for education about Santa Clarita’s native wildlife, scenery and environment.

Designed with sustainability in mind, Discovery Park will include many environmentally-friendly features, such as drought-resistant plants, native and native-adapted landscaping, low volume irrigation and permeable surfaces meant to improve water retention and decrease water consumption.

A state-of-the-art computerized irrigation management system will adjust the park’s water supply based on its plant needs and local weather information, preventing excessive or wasteful water use.

The city completed Phase I of Discovery Park in 2006, linking the park to the city’s existing trail system through the construction of a Class I bike trail connecting the site to the Camp Plenty Trailhead. |

Phase II will add a paved bike path, bike racks, benches, picnic areas, open play areas complete with fun climbing boulders, a grassy meadow, parking lot and other amenities to the site.

Once completed, Discovery Park will be perfectly suited to numerous forms of passive recreation, including yoga, tai chi, landscape painting, photography and more.

Because its natural design was specifically created to minimally impact the surrounding environment, Discovery Park also will offer excellent opportunities for wildlife observation and education.

Local equestrian enthusiasts also will get a kick out of the new park, which features a hitching post and connection to a nearby equestrian trail and the Lost Canyon Trailhead.

Discovery Park is not only another place for residents to enjoy fantastic outdoor recreation; it is the first of what the city hopes to be many sustainable parks lining the local Santa Clara River.

The innovative design strikes a true balance between recreational opportunities and environmental preservation. I encourage all community members to head out to the Discovery Park Groundbreaking on Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. to celebrate another significant step toward environmental protection that is sure to echo for generations to come.

For more information or to RSVP for the groundbreaking event, please call the city at (661) 255-4939.

Laurene West is the mayor of Santa Clarita. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.As Santa Clarita continues to grow and change, city traffic engineers will continue to monitor our local streets to ensure that traffic congestion is minimal for local residents. Keep an eye out for new updates and changes to our local traffic system as well as the launch of the “TrafficInfo” program later this year.

Residents with issues and concerns about local traffic conditions can contact the city’s Traffic Division at (661) 286-4061 or visit


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