Saturday, May 26, 2012

Photo Essay: Millard Canyon



Millard Canyon is an area of the San Gabriel Mountains foothills that has been carved up by several different entities for years.



Part of the canyon, through which a creek runs, spawning a vast biodiversity in the creatures, flora and fauna that populate it, is controlled by the Angeles National Forest...



...while part of the public trail is controlled by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy...



...and yet another part is privately owned, and hopefully soon to be purchased by the Arroyo Foothills Conservancy, whose work in Rubio Canyon will greatly contribute to the foothills' open spaces, and who conducted some guided tours of the area a couple weekends ago.



A vast area of Millard Canyon has been greatly impacted by human presence - mostly vis à vis the recreational and residential cabins that pepper the trail, where people have lived and planted landscaping that has dramatically altered the botanical constitution of the canyon, mostly because of the introduction of invasive species (e.g. vines).



But despite a relatively well-marked trail...



...and some relatively easy creek crossings...





... it is possible to feel wild out there, far from vehicular and foot traffic. In fact, we never saw another hiker...



...and we never saw anyone coming out of those cabins.



Nature has taken control of the area, with several downed trees...



...plenty of plants (including thriving poison oak)...



...tiny, camouflaged flogs living in the creek...



...and abundant wildflowers.







By the boundary of the currently privately-owned land, indications of infrastructure start to manifest...








...before emptying out into a residential neighborhood.



Millard Canyon isn't hard to navigate through - you just follow the creek - but it's a biologically sensitive area, and the trailhead isn't easy to get to.



Hopefully when the AFC completes its land purchase, they'll be able to both protect the native species and make the area more accessible for public use.

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