A Little Canyon Worth Saving

I live near a wonderful little canyon. The canyon is probably only around 9 to 11 acres, but harbors many native wildlife and plants. The land was purchased at least 30 years ago and a road was paved into the canyon. For years the canyon was left untouched and closed off by a gate where it was left to the wild native plants and animals to call home. Although there is paved road through it, the walls of the canyon remain thick with native flora and wonderful limestone outcrops.

Earlier this Fall I wrote an article called “A Little Canyon The Birds Call Home” about my connection to this little canyon in which I described it’s liveliness. I remained hopeful that the canyon would appear too costly to build and that no one would purchase and develop it. And a few years ago I was made aware by somebody that if plans were made to develop it, there would be little I could do to save it. But now, the prospects of development are far too clear as neon pink flags are now scattered about the canyon walls. I shutter to think how many native plants and creatures will be killed or displaced by any construction. Another neighboring destruction to a nearby arroyo has already caused a decline in the scaled quail within the area and ongoing destruction to a large Arroyo Preserve Park in the neighborhood is also currently taking place.

I tend to see things as if there are no houses around, much like it would have been before the neighborhood was built and see it as part of a greater whole. And from my own observations I have noted that the canyon is a major channel that connects from the mountains (Palisades area) that channels naturally into a nearby Arroyo Preserve Park. I know this is ecologically important since I often hear coyotes barking from within the canyon and behind my house. I’ve even seen Gray Foxes at the opening of the canyon.

This morning, while walking my dogs within the canyon, I listened to the sound of birds chirping from the mesquite trees and also saw a Red-tailed hawk flying at the high end of the canyon wall, which caused a flock of smaller birds to fly away. Sure, the wildlife that will survive the destruction will move elsewhere. Hopefully further away from other threatened wild spaces within the city’s limits and mountains. To most, this small place will be seen as ecologically insignificant. But more than anything it is our actions that determine the future of our lives here on this land. Will we keep our disregard for wild things? Or will we come to understand and embrace our relationship with the non-human nature.

Recently, I have made some very helpful connections with like-minded people in the community. Through that network, I have learned of some actions that I can take. So, to the best of my ability I will be making efforts to prevent this canyon’s destruction. As you may have already gathered, I care deeply about all wild places; big or small, and feel a great need to protect them.

My ultimate wish for the canyon is that the paved road be removed and re-placed with native plants. Though that may be a bit far-fetched, I would settle for it simply being spared from destruction. I do not think we can continue on our paths of unsustainable living and growth at the expense of that which ultimately sustains us: our wild lands.  I do not know what will become of my efforts; but what I do know is that I cannot do nothing.

If you would like to help and are local to the area, you can print this letter, sign and mail this Letter; or email me at thewanderingnaturalist@yahoo.com

Canyon Side, Covered in Desert Bahia Flowers (2014)

Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea sp.) 2014


5 thoughts on “A Little Canyon Worth Saving

    • Thank you so much for your sincerely support and interest, Susan. I am weighing my options at the moment to see what needs to be done. But will hopefully be able to give an update sometime soon (whether here or on my twitter account). Thank you again 🙂


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