19 June 2008

Now for Something Completely More Positive!

One of the best features in the Carbon Canyon area, bar none, is accessibility to Chino Hills State Park, a true wonder of diverse open space and natural resources in the midst of suburban sprawl. The western portion of the park is directly accessible from the canyon in two locations: next to Carbon Canyon Regional Park on the south side of Carbon Canyon Road (State Highway 142) and from the residential tract of Olinda Village to the north of the highway.

The hiker and mountain biker will find many great trails with panoramic views of the surrounding area, excursions into such canyons as Telegraph and Aliso, and a host of surprises including seasonal streams, the occasional sighting of wildlife (such as deer, coyotes, and, once in a great while, mountain lions), and other notable features.

I've hiked about a dozen times in the park since I moved to Chino Hills in 1997 (I lived near the eastern entrance to the park off Sapphire Road near Soquel Canyon Parkway) and have always found something new to appreciate about this special place.

Still, it is sad to have to look south from Aliso Canyon and, in some portions, have to gaze at tract homes built on a prominent ridge line, courtesy of the City of Yorba Linda. It is also going to be highly unfortunate if the Canyon Crest development (see the blog of 18 June and links to the City of Brea and Hills for Everyone for more) of 166 luxury homes is built to the east of the portion of the park that is now adjacent to Olinda Village.
There is also some controversy about a proposal by the Metropolitan Water District to build a second access road to their treatment plant in the hills abutting the park's southwestern side. This road, proposed in exchange for help in building a visitor center off Carbon Canyon Road, next to Carbon Canyon Regional Park, is vehemently opposed by Hills for Everyone (again, see their link for more) and other environmental groups.
Finally, the latest budgetary woes in California due to the worsening economy (remember, though, it is not a recession) have led to the threat of the closure of many state parks. So far, it appears as though Chino Hills State Park will not be closed yet, but the question of raising revenue (yes, that obscenity called the tax) for all public services, including our state parks, really needs to be seriously addressed.
I should add that the state did complete some important improvements, including an expanded campground in the northeastern section of the park, that make for a good local weekend trip. Occasionally, park rangers have held talks about wildlife and other park features that are great for kids.
All in all, the park is an incredibly important resource in a metropolitan area that has as little open and recreational space as the greater Los Angeles Region. Anyone who appreciates the outdoors can only benefit greatly from a day-long or weekend visit to the park.
Check out the links in this blog for more!

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