2015 Trails & Open Space Program Evaluation

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1 CITY OF GLENDALE CALIFORNIA INTERDEPARTMENTAL COMMUNICATION Community Services and Parks Department DATE: March 21, 2016 TO: FROM: BY: RE: Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commission Jess Duran, Director of Community Services & Parks Marc Stirdivant, Senior Administrative Analyst Jeff Weinstein, City Resource Specialist 2015 Trails & Open Space Program Evaluation BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS Few cities enjoy the benefits, or bear the responsibilities, of having three mountain ranges within their borders. Glendale, however, with its Verdugo Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, and San Rafael Hills, is one of those cities. Today, the City owns and manages 5,034 acres of natural open space. Over 30 miles of fire roads and 7.5 miles of single track trails are utilized by dozens, sometimes hundreds, of hikers, joggers, dog-walkers, and mountain bikers each day- particularly in Brand Park and Deukmejian Wilderness Park. After budget cuts resulted in the elimination of the City's Park Ranger and Park Naturalist programs, Community Services & Parks Department staff set about building a new Trails and Open Space Program which operates largely through the dedication of community volunteers. Current efforts are funded by the Glendale Parks & Open Space Foundation which provides equipment and supplies for our Third Saturday Wilderness Workdays in Deukmejian Wilderness Park and our Riverwalk Workdays along the L.A. River. The Foundation also sponsors our Interpretive Programs, the Trail Maintenance Crew, the Trail Safety Patrol, the Iris Gardeners, and the GO! Program (Glendale Outdoors!) - a nature education program which seeks to connect children from the southern part of the City with nature and Glendale's Great Outdoors. 1

2 Restoration Program The Restoration Program was the first program to be implemented and had its origins after the Station Fire which burned more than 700 acres in Deukmejian Wilderness Park. Over one hundred Big Cone Spruce, Coast Live Oaks, and Western Sycamores have been planted since 2010 in the lower reaches of the park. The Department established the ''Third Saturday Wilderness Workday" - held every third Saturday of the month - and invited members of the community to plant trees, water trees, and remove invasive species from the park. The response was tremendous. This program has become enormously popular with families, church groups, community organizations, Boy and Girl Scouts, and students from Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley High Schools. A similar program was implemented at the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk in This program, which is typically held on the second Saturday of the month, focuses largely on the removal of invasive species from the landscaped areas of Riverwalk. In 2015, we offered 1 O Wilderness Workdays and 9 Riverwalk Workdays. 248 volunteers provided the City with 868 hours of volunteer service in Deukmejian Wilderness Park, while 161 volunteers offered hours of their time to help keep Riverwalk beautiful. In addition, we offered a workday at the Experimental Forest at the top of the Verdugo Mountains to water trees planted after the 2005 Harvard Fire. 2

3 Interpretive Program Our Interpretive Programs are led by certified interpretive guide, Jeff Weinstein, who recently returned to the Community Services & Parks Department after three years planning and conducting our interpretive programs on behalf of the Glendale Parks & Open Space Foundation. Each year, we reach out to local experts in the community who have a desire to conduct programs or lead hikes. In 2015 we offered the following programs: Trail Building 101 Geology Hike Medicinal Plant Hike "Something in the Air Tonighr (campfire program) Perseid Meteor Shower Program with the Sidewalk Astronomers "California Dreamin"' (campfire program) Birdwalk on the Riverwalk Wine Making in the Crescenta Valley (celebrating the 1 OO'h Anniversary of the Le Mesnager Barn) Holiday Hike 298 members of the community participated in our interpretive programs during 2015 with participants coming from every zip code in Glendale, from surrounding communities including Sunland, Burbank, La Canada Flintridge, and Pasadena, and from as far away as Highland Park, Baldwin Park, and Monrovia. 3

4 Other Programs In addition to our regularly scheduled programs, we occasionally receive requests from businesses or organizations for special or mid-week events. We had four such programs in 2015 including the Great L.A. River Clean-up at Riverwalk with the Friends of the Los Angeles River, and Avery-Dennison Day, Legal Zoom Day at Deukmejian Wilderness Park. We had 65 participants provide 195 hours of service at Riverwalk, and 68 employees from Avery Dennison and Legal Zoom provide 204 hours of service at Deukmejian. This year, nine Cubs Scouts and parents also did a staff-led two hour hike in the Park. Trail Maintenance Crew Our Trail Maintenance Crew is a hearty band of local residents, several of whom have been building trails in Deukmejian Park for years. After the Station Fire and the rains that followed, the trails in Deukmejian were virtually destroyed and many sections were in dangerous condition. This group has diligently restored all of the Rim of the Valley and Crescenta View Trails, realigning dangerous trail areas, widening the trails in some spots, and making them safe and enjoyable for all users. Last year they completed work on the new "Vineyard Trail" which leads hikers across Dunsmore Creek and up the east side of the canyon to the area where the Le Mesnager family had their vineyards during the early 20 1 h century. While the trails in Deukmejian are in very good shape, we are counting on the Trail Maintenance Crew in 2016 to repair any damage that might be caused by the "El Nino" rains. 4

5 Trail Safety Patrol The Trail Safety Patrol was launched in February 2013 with sixteen community volunteers operating in Hike and Mountain Bike units. Since then, two additional recruitments have taken place. Today the TSP, as it is known, has 28 volunteers whose job is to assist Community Services & Parks staff and other City professionals in protecting and maintaining the safety of park and open space visitors and resources; to educate park and open space visitors about resources, programs, and regulations; and to observe and report damage, unsafe conditions, and police, fire and medical emergencies. The program is a collaboration with the Glendale Police and Fire Departments. In 2015, there were 68 patrols which provided hours of service working to protect trails and open space resources and ensure the safety of trails and open space visitors. s

6 Iris Gardeners We also have a small group of dedicated women we refer to as the Iris Gardeners. These women, working on their hands and knees, pull weeds and tend to the beds that are planted with native iris plants in the landscaped areas of Deukmejian Wilderness Park. We don't know why they enjoy this back-breaking work. We're just glad they do. Glendale Outdoors! (GO!) Program Glendale Outdoors! (otherwise known as the GO! Program) is a nature education program for children between the ages of eight and twelve which is planned and conducted by Jeff Weinstein. Working with our community centers at Pacific and Maple Parks, the GO! Program takes kids from those neighborhoods to Deukmejian Park for a morning of outdoor games, nature crafts, interpretive hikes, and environmental education. For 2015, the program was folded into the "One Glendale" afterschool youth sports program as part of a Dignity Health grant awarded to the Glendale Parks & Open Space Foundation. Three GO! Programs were held in 2015 offering 87 children and parents from Glendale's urban areas to get up close and personal with Glendale's Great Outdoors. 6

7 The Department and the Foundation are actively seeking volunteers to help out with the Restoration Program, Interpretive Program, Trail Maintenance Crew, Trail Safety Patrol, and the Iris Gardeners. For further information call (818) has been submitted for your information. Dl~- Je uran, Community Services and Parks 7

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