The Eagle Rock Canyon Trail: Preserving and Programming a Natural Treasure

This will highlight the history and potential of the Eagle Rock Canyon Trail, a piece of land that is owned by the Collaborative Eagle Rock Beautiful (CERB). We are currently seeking partnerships with land trusts, donors and/or public agencies to permanently protect the site as publicly accessible open space and expand programming to benefit residents from the surrounding community and the region. This document provides a short description of the Eagle Rock Canyon Trail s history, its current program and condition, and CERB s vision for its future. This includes maps and other technical details.

We will refer to the land as a whole, which includes its trail, as the Eagle Rock Canyon Trail.

Visitors can access the land via Figueroa or Eagle Rock View Drive.

 

It is fairly steep on its southern section and follows a gentler sloping bend on the northern side with many switchbacks. From the top of the site, there are good views of the Verdugo Hills and much of the LA basin. The loop joins at the bottom of the hill, which in turn ties into Alatorre Park.

Visuals

1) Aerial Views of Property

2) Aerial View of Different parcels and ownerships

So Cal Edison
State of California Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority

3) Visuals of the Trail and Surrounding Area:

Signpost donated by the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council at the s entrance

The start of the looping trail at the bottom of the hill

History

The Eagle Rock Canyon Trail started as a beautiful vision. CERB, guided by one of its founding members, John Stillion, acquired the land in 2006-2007 to save a pristine and fairly large piece of land next to the iconic Eagle Rock from being developed. The land was purchased from one of the residents living on Eagle Rock View Drive. Once CERB gained possession of the land, the organization started planning to make it into a destination for the community of Eagle Rock and surrounding neighborhoods. Committed members of CERB cleaned up the property. A stunning, looping, one-mile trail was completed over a year by a group of volunteers under the guidance of Master Trail Builder Peter Schaller, and with the help of Boy-scout Troop 188. The trail allows hikers to reach the top of the property.

CERB has maintained the trail over the years with the help of one of the trail builders, Harry Chamberlain. It has secured brush clearance help to ensure the least possible fire hazard. The initial plan to feature succulents to illustrate our need for drought tolerant vegetation was changed in light of the recent sustainability studies on the importance of maintaining native vegetation. Instead of planning to insert new groups of succulents into the mix, CERB decided it wiser to protect the existing vegetation as much as possible, to eradicate invasive species such as wild mustard and to possibly establish more native plants.

Steep embankment on the side of the trail and view of the hills in spring

Clean-Up and Construction of the New Trail

 

Founder John Stilion discussing the clean-up with volunteers upon purchase of the land in 2006 2007

 

Removal of homeless encampments on the property, 2007

Clean-up with LA Conservation Corps volunteers, first vision for the Trail

Peter Schaller, Master Trail Builder

Establishing the course of the Trail and building the Trail under Master Trail Builder Peter Schaller.

The Eagle Rock Canyon Trail took a year to complete with a group of dedicated volunteers.

The Site

The Eagle Rock Trail site owned by CERB is 4-1⁄2 acres located immediately to the North of the Eagle Rock which gives our community its name. The Eagle Rock is a large monolith and consists of a massive granite boulder on which you see the imprint of what looks like an eagle in full flight. A Native American legend is attached to this icon.

The Eagle Rock Canyon Trail is a .8 mile, looping trail that is open to the public and offers impressive views. The trail is situated on a steep hill traversed by a canyon and attached to the rollinghillsof PasadenatotheEast.ItisaccessibleviaEagleRockViewDr.orFigueroaBlvd. and Altorre Park - a small recreational park created in 1999. It is unique in that it is easily accessible from public transportation and a natural resource near Northeast Los Angeles, Pasadena and Glendale.

The Eagle Rock Canyon Trail is a natural setting, a buffer space between the residential community of Eagle Rock and the Verdugo foothills, where the concrete infrastructure of freeways and street grid transitions to hillside open space. The site is an example of California coastalsageandchaparralecoregion.Itoffersstrikingspecimensof belovednativeplantsthat have become favorites in our local nurseries. It is a joy to be able to see them in their natural habitat and be privy to their growth and blooming cycles. Visitors can find several species of oaks, lemonade berry bush, black sage, 3 different California fuchsias and even our native honeysuckle. Hawks fly overhead and a wild cat (probably puma concolor) was sighted a few years ago.

The Eagle Rock Canyon Trail is open for the community to enjoy from sunrise to sunset.

California honeysuckle (lonicera sp.) before it sets bloom in late spring

Flora and Vistas on the Trail:

Lemonade berry (native rhus integrifolia) blooming in late spring

California gooseberry (ribes speciosum), in spring bloom before the summer heat defoliates it.

Climbing up the steep side of the looping trail

Trail embankment covered in

fragrant trailing native sage (salvia

mellifera)

View towards the West from one of the top vista points on the Trail

Occidental College student enjoying the view

The Eagle Rock that gives our community its name

Hawk flying over the hill as seen from the Trail

Sunset, looking West from the vista point on top theTrail

Yearly maintenance and brush clearance for native planting (2010)

CERB s Vision for the Trail

CERB is a non-profit, all volunteer organization dedicated to beautifying Eagle Rock and preserving the trail as open space and a wildlife corridor . Our values are deeply rooted in sustainable landscaping, the preservation of natural places and accessibility for everyone. One of the tenets of our mission is to guide our efforts towards collaborating with and involving as many local residents, businesses and organizations as possible.

John Stillion and the members of CERB s board envisioned the Eagle Rock Canyon Trail land to be a gift to the community and a public symbol for Eagle Rock. CERB intended to protect four and half acres of untouched nature adjacent to the Rock as a site for teaching the community about the beauty and sustainability of a drought tolerant landscape that is compatible with our Southern California climate. The trail wasmeantto becomeafriendlydestinationforpeopleseekingtoexperiencethe environmentand connectwiththeirneighbors.

Building the trail ensured visitors could be immersed in nature and enjoy the unique vistas. It was meant to offer an opportunity to be close to nature as well as an open space to encourage the community to engage in healthful physical activity. It s free of charge and open to the general public. CERB has regularly involved local organizations and volunteers in the upkeep and improvement of the site.

CERB goals for the site include:

o A Botanical Garden at the top of the trail, which could showcase native species not endemic to this particular area. Species would showcase the magnificent diversity of California s plant community and could include, white sage, Cleveland sage and other salvias, ceanothus sp., our Western Redbud, woolly blue curls, penstemon sp., encelias, manzanitas, etc.

o Better and more educational signage, including nametags for plants, on the trail and in the Botanical Garden.

o Including our landmark, the Eagle Rock in all programming in an effort to make the Rock a more well-known destination, as it gets tied into the Trail.

o The study of our Native American heritage in the area, to be included into the program

o Educational programming with local schools and Occidental College o Guided tours of native flora

 

o Community events focused on the Eagle Rock, native landscaping, open space, sustainability and health

o Partnerships with local and other organizations for funding, for the creation of program and the creation of stronger bonds within the community at large.

Seeking Partnership for Preservation and Programming

The Eagle Rock Trail has the potential to be a major contribution to the neighborhood s identity by providing a space for nature appreciation, education and recreation. Permanently protecting the site can add to the region s network of wild spaces, natural habitat, and open space.

CERB has improved and maintained the trail and welcomed visitors for almost ten years. Over this period, CERB has faithfully paid the mortgage on the site. As a small volunteer organization, CERB does not currently have the resources to permanently commit to investing in other costs that arise in connection with the land, such as brush clearance and trail maintenance. The organization has also not been able to pay for the expanded educational programming envisioned for the Eagle Rock Trail. For this reason, CERB is seeking partners to permanently protect the site as open space accessible by the public, and to increase programming to feature the land as a natural asset and community gathering spot.

CERB is interested in partnering with:

  1. Donors who value nature conservation and programming to allow LA s diverse community to experience open space and learn about the region s plant communities and natural landscaping. Grants or gifts to CERB would allow the organization to implement its vision for the Eagle Rock Trail.

  2. Land Trusts with experience in acquiring and programming open space in Southern California. CERB stands ready to collaborate with a land trust to ensure permanent preservation and community access to the land, as well as expanded educational activities.

  3. Local governments interested in expanding and protecting park and open space in Northeast Los Angeles and surrounding communities.

CERB is open to a range of funding, land transfers and/or partnership opportunities to permanently preserve and improve the Eagle Rock trail. We view the Trail as a hidden gem and look forward to helping make it more visible, accessible to the region s diverse populations, and a hub for learning about nature and sustainable landscaping. Contact us at to arrange to visit the site and to discuss potential collaborations! 

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