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Santa Clarita CA
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S.C.V. History
June 3
1855 - Ship leaves New York harbor bound for Tunis to acquire animals for the United States Camel Corps [story]
Camel Corps

Take a Hike | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Monday, Jun 1, 2015

DianneErskineHellrigelThis year, National Trails Day will be held June 6. National Trails Day is the American Hiking Society’s trail awareness program. It is the largest trail celebration in the United States. Every year, trail events are held all across the states to promote awareness of all of the benefits that trails provide. The events encourage people to discover their local trails and to participate in improving them. Many people are not aware of trail issues, such as requirements for multi-use or search and rescue.

There is a certain sense of pride once you’ve worked on a trail. You’ll never be able to go back to that trail again without looking at the area where you worked, and feeling that sense of satisfaction again.

National Trails Day encourages people to connect with all things natural: trees, rivers, lakes, mountains, meadows, deserts, wild animals and dirt. All of these things make up our favorite places. There are many events that are held all across the country on National Trails Day. They could be educational programs such as Leave No Trace, dedications, workshops, races, festivals or trail building and maintenance.

chc_trail4This year, our Community Hiking Club will be continuing to rebuild the Dagger Flat Trail in the Angeles National Forest. This trail was originally a Tataviam Indian footpath. It was used for hunting and gathering from the Pacoima Wash up to what is now the Magic Mountain Wilderness where native plants, both medicinal and edible, thrive.

Once the Tataviam moved on, the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s built a forest trail and named it Dagger Flat after the hundreds of yuccas that grew there. Since very few people lived in Newhall at the time, the trail was, for the most part, unused, and it disappeared.

The city of Santa Clarita has a lot of trails within city limits due to the city’s wonderful open-space project, but there are no trails in the forest. Santa Clarita is the second largest city that abuts the forest, but it has not a single viable trail.

The Community Hiking Club in Santa Clarita decided to try to resurrect the Dagger Flat Trail. The club has been working on the trail for more than a year, clearing brush and trying to stabilize landslides. But it has been slow going. We have the trail open to the bottom, but it still needs to be improved for multi-use, and many areas still need to be stabilized.

trail2On June 6, starting at 7 a.m., we will be working on Dagger Flat. We need your help. There are easy jobs and tough jobs. We can put everyone to work. Kids over 10 years old, Scouts, sisters, brothers, moms, dads and grandparents are all welcome. If you have an organization that would like to help, we’d love to have you.

We will have a documentary film crew out that day, so don’t be surprised if you’re interviewed. That’s part of the fun. We will work from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m., and we’ll break for a hot dog barbecue at noon, courtesy of the Community Hiking Club. There will be a variety of hot dogs for everyone.

We will have multiple projects for the day including clearing brush, out-sloping the trail, installing water bars and water slides, building stairs, carrying supplies to work areas, installing a rest spot, cutting chicken wire, collecting rocks, making wire baskets, reinforcing the side of the trail, stabilizing the mountainside and pulling weeds. There is something for everyone. No experience is necessary.

trail1You’ll need to bring 3 or 4 liters of water, snacks, electrolytes (such as Gatorade) and garden gloves. You should wear old clothing because you will get dirty, and dress in layers because it might be chilly in the morning and quite warm in the afternoon. The current prediction for that day is 75 degrees in the afternoon. But that can change. You will need to wear hiking boots or tennis shoes with tread on them, as you will be hiking to your work locations.

If you would be interested in helping us rebuild this trail, please RSVP to the Community Hiking Club at zuliebear@aol.com. We will give you directions to the meeting point in the forest, near Sand Canyon in Canyon Country, and we can answer any questions you might have. Please let us know if you’d like chicken-turkey-soy-regular hot dogs.

Thank you for giving back on this very special day. It’s people like you who make a difference in the world.


Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.





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  1. Nikki Paradis Oerum thought of you !

  2. Nikki Paradis Oerum thought of you !

  3. Greg Brown Greg Brown says:

    Watch for rattlesnakes!!

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