Dedicated to the Preservation of the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills
A Non-Profit 501(c)(4) Incorporated Nov.30,1971                 Founded Nov.20,1970
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SSMPA Newsletter
Winter 2018 (January)
In this issue
Community Meetings are free to SSMPA Members and the Public.
Monday, Feb. 26, 2017   7:00pm - 8:30pm

Chatsworth Park South Recreation Center
22360 Devonshire St. - West end of Devonshire
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Convenient parking in lighted lot

Acorns, Oaks and the Future of the Simi Hills 

 John (Johnny Acorn) Luker, SSMPA          Wendi Gladstone, SSMPA
  The threat of the southeast Asian Shothole Borer Beetle to Southern California's  trees.

 Local volunteer opportunities.  SSMPA's Oak Reha bilitation Project.

Rim of the Valley legislation and parkland development in the Simi Hills.

See related articles here and here
Monday, March 19, 2017   7:00pm - 8:30pm

at Chatsworth Public Library
21052 Devonshire St. at Variel Ave.

Ancient Peoples of the Channel Islands

Ray Vincent, Research Director at Chatsworth Historical Society
Al Knight, Anthropologist, Archaeologist

Please join us for a program on the Ancient Peoples of the Channel Islands.   Beginning with the discovery of the oldest human remains ever found in North America - 13,000 year old Arlington Springs Man - to the true story of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas - the inspiration for the best selling children's book 

The evidence that people had arrived on Santa Rosa Island 13,000 years ago demonstrates that watercraft were in use along the California coast at that early date, and lends support to a theory that the earliest peoples to enter the Western Hemisphere may have migrated along the Pacific coast from Siberia and Alaska using boats, along the "Kelp Highway".
Albert Knight and Ray Vincent will provide a brief introduction to the program, followed by excerpts from the public television program
Ray Vincent            Albert Knight

C ommunity organizations of the West Valley have called for a
risk-based cleanup  (not "background") at Santa Susana Field Lab
Chatsworth Neighborhood Council

West Hills Neighborhood Council

Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council

Canoga Park Neighborhood Council

Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council (CCCC)

Santa Susana Mountain Park Association (SSMPA)

Lake Manor Citizens Committee Rural Town Council

SSMPA Calls for Cleanup at Rocketdyne
      • A Cleanup that Does More Good than Harm
      • A Cleanup that Protects Our Surrounding Communities
      • A Cleanup that Preserves SSFL's Natural Habit and Wildlife
      • A Cleanup that Is "Doable" and Affordable


Reminder: Rediscover Chatsworth Park South - Open Again
Chatsworth Park South (City of LA), at the far west end of Devonshire Street, was closed February 14, 2008, because of reported lead contamination on a portion of the acreage.  Remediation work (grading, storm water controls, capping the surface soil, trails improvement, refreshing of park equipment, etc.) began in early April 2016.
On August 31, 2017, after 3,485 days of closure, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks along with City Council District 12:
  Officially Re-Opened Chatsworth Park South!
 Patrons are rediscovering  the park. Children's playgrounds are well-used. The Recreation  Center is open and offering programs for kids, adults, and seniors. Basketball courts, tennis courts, walking trails, horse trails. 
See an excellent drone video of the re-opened park by Chatsworth resident Larry Wolff.

Activities at the Recreation Center at Chatsworth Park South:

People Hike New Year's Day  -  Were You One of  Them?
Volunteers from the Foundation for the Preservation of the Santa Susana Mountains (FPSSM) led a "First Day 2018" hike along the Miranda Loop in the Santa Susana State Historic Park on January 1.  A picture perfect day and 147 people in attendance for the hike!

  Coastal Live Oak Seedlings Project

SSMPA Board Members John Luker and Wendi Gladstone are spearheading a Coastal Live Oak Seedlings Project for 2018.  They began gathering acorns in August of 2017 with volunteer helpers, working in Dayton Canyon, Orcutt Ranch, at Sky Valley (SSFL) and Sage Ranch.
All of the acorns gathered come from the Simi Hills, and are genetically adapted for the microclimates of that area.   Volunteers began with 25 pounds of acorns, estimated to produce about 4800 individual trees! Generating oak trees involves a process called "stratification". Stratification is using cool, wet soil medium and a refrigerator to fool the acorn into thinking it's spring and time to germinate. The whole process takes 4-6 weeks from germination to putting the plant in the ground.
The acorns John and Wendi have collected have resulted in about 2000 viable seedlings, which they have nurtured and now plan to plant.  Areas targeted for planting are Dayton Canyon, Sage Ranch, and the Southern Buffer Zone in Sky Valley.
This project was born out of the awareness that many species of our native trees in California are suffering, due to the long-term drought, and the pests that subsequently attack the affected trees.  Reforestation projects such as these are critical!
Planting will begin the second weekend in February.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact John Luker at , or Wendi Gladstone at .
Save the Date
Chatsworth Nature Preserve Earth Day Open House
Saturday, April 7th, 2018
The City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association will host this year's Annual Chatsworth Nature Preserve Earth Day Open House on Saturday, April 7, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
This year's opportunity to see the only Nature Preserve in Los Angeles (open to the public only one day a year in celebration of Earth Day) promises to be even more of a crowd pleaser than last year, with interactive exhibits, guided hikes to and around the Ecology Pond, and much more. 
There will be training classes for hike leaders on Saturday, March 31, 2018, and also at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 7, 2018, according to Sharon Shingai, Event Organizer and Director-At-Large with the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association.
Last year's event drew approximately 1,500 guests, and this year will be even bigger and better.

Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act 2017
On October 18, 2017, Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat, Burbank, re-introduced legislation that would more than double the size of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by adding 191,000 acres of wild lands, parks and historical sites.  Currently the existing SMMRNA stands at about 154,000 acres.
The Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act was first introduced in 2016 with co-author former Senator Barbara Boxer, but was never considered by committee.  Schiff believes that the new bill can find more support in the U.S. Senate this time, with co-author Dianne Feinstein, who introduced a companion bill.  One notable change made in the hopes of getting the bill passed is that Schiff removed the former Santa Susana Field Lab property from the designated area, as there was concern its inclusion might spark a debate as to whether the National Park Service would be responsible for paying for cleanup.  Despite moves by the Trump administration to trim recreation areas, specifically national monuments, and open up some of these areas to oil and gas exploration, Schiff said he felt optimistic about his bill's chances this time around.  Both Republicans and Democrats have supported further protections for open space in Southern California in the past.
The proposed expansion would include Griffith Park, the Santa Clarita Valley, and the Santa Susana Mountains, as well as much of the Los Angeles River. The area contains a mixture of publicly and privately held land. The bill would not allow for land acquisitions through eminent domain but would allow for addition through an exchange, donation, or purchase from willing sellers.
Click map to enlarge
If passed, the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act would authorize the National Park Service to build or improve existing trails and roads, to carry out ecosystem monitoring, and to take part in conservation and recreation planning. It would also allow the NPS to fund natural resource protection efforts in the area.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, a long-time supporter of protecting wildlife corridors and watersheds said:  "Adding the Rim of the Valley to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area would greatly expand vital recreation spaces and wildlife habitats, and make certain that more areas of natural resources are protected."
"We want the National Parks to tell the whole story, and the Rim of the Valley brings those things together," said Dennis Arguelles, Los Angeles program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.
Mr. Arguelles is slated to speak at the upcoming PLAN conference on March 17, 2018.  Please see the article on PLAN in this issue for more information.
For the ROTV Fact Sheet, click here.

Snakes on the Beach

The recent landslides, debris flows, and floods in Montecito in the aftermath of the Thomas fire have displaced a variety of snake species, including gopher snakes, California king snakes, and western rattlesnakes onto local beaches.  Snakes at this time in Southern California will be in brumation (hibernation), and will be unable to protect themselves in this unfamiliar habitat.

If you find a snake on the beach, please call the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network at (805) 681-1080.  Their trained volunteers will collect any misplaced wildlife, assess them for injuries, and treat and release them back into their natural habitat.
Visit the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network at for more information, and you can also find them on Facebook at  

NOTE: This article is re-published from SSMPA's Fall 2017 Newsletter. The topic is still distressingly relevant and will continue to be. What has changed? Shot hole borers  have been found in Chatsworth and other areas in the West San Fernando Valley.

Shot Hole Borer Threatens SoCal Trees

SSMPA Board Members Wendi Gladstone and John Luker have spent the past few months coordinating with Rosi Dagit, Senior Conservation Biologist, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, to monitor the health of oak trees at the Santa Susana Field Lab, and Chatsworth, looking for signs of the shot hole borer. They have set up monitoring stations to determine the existence of this beetle, and the program will run through September.   The good news is, so far, no shot hole borers have been found.
As background, the shot hole borer is an invasive boring beetle, originating from Southeast Asia, that drills into tree trunks and branches, bringing with it a pathogenic fungus along with other fungi that are conducive to establishing and nurturing shot hole borer colonies. It is dark brown or black and very small - measuring 0.05 and 0.1 inches. The holes the insects bore measure approximately 0.85 mm inches in diameter (about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen). Pregnant females bore into the tree bark and create galleries in which they can lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the fungus - gaining the nutrients they need to enter adulthood in about a month. Mature siblings mate with each other inside these galleries and then leave their host tree to affect others in the area. This activity attacks the tree's vascular tissue and disrupts water and nutrient flow. The fungus that is produced is also harmful to the tree.
Shot hole borers have attacked more than 300 species of native, exotic and agricultural trees in Southern California and have been found in a number of environments - from urban landscapes to commercial groves, and now native riparian habitats. Thirsty trees are especially vulnerable to attack, so the long drought in Southern California has allowed this invasive species to thrive. This insect has eclectic taste and may infect many plant species, including Coast Live Oak and Sycamores. At this time there is no predator locally that eats this invasive insect. Scientists have been to South East Asia to study the beetle and search out a remedy.

~Wendi Gladstone and Vanessa Watters

   Hear more : Come to SSMPA's Community Meeting February 26, 2018

PLAN (Public Land Alliance Network) Offers Spring Conference March 17, 2018

  PLAN (Public Land Alliance Network) announces a new spring all-day conference to be held on Saturday, March 17, 2018. The location will be at the North American Land Trust (former SSFL), 5800 Woolsey Canyon Road, Canoga Park, CA 91304.

The day begins with a hike through the North American Land Trust (former SSFL Southern Buffer Zone) at 8:00 a.m., followed by refreshments and panel discussions through the afternoon. Discussions will include the conservation efforts to replant oaks in the Southern Buffer Zone Oak Tree Woodlands, the Simi Hills wildlife habitat, and the Rim of the Valley Corridor.

Guest panelists and hike leaders will include Dennis Arguelles from the National Park Conservation Association, Jim Hines, Conservation Chair of the Sierra Club, Los Padres Chapter, Mark Osokow, Alec Uzemeck, and John Luker. Please click here to access the full meeting agenda.

Click to see full schedule

PLAN is dedicated to building public and political support for wildlife-habitat corridors, open space and parkland and the preservation of cultural-historical sites in Southern California.

To attend, please RSVP to Carla Bollinger, Conference Organizer, at  RSVP is required. Or call (818) 307-6418.

Speaking of the North American Land Trust (former SSFL)...

  See who lives there?


  Deerlake Ranch Development
Deerlake Ranch continues their project grading, and that will go until at least summer 2018. Construction also continues on the Canoga and Poema bridges, and Twin Lakes residents, hikers and equestrians might expect completion of those bridges by summer. Please note the equestrian underpass under the Canoga bridge, which will be accessible to horseback riders once the Canoga bridge is completed and the trails are opened.

In other news, Vice President and Project Manager Keltie Cole has left the Deerlake project, moving on to a new opportunity, and Peter Vanek will replace her as the new Vice President of Land Development for Foremost Companies.

Keltie will be sorely missed in the Twin Lakes community, as she has been a true champion for their needs. Her willingness to work with the residents and her caring will be difficult to match.
~Warren Stone and Vanessa Watters

Abused Land in Chatsworth 

It's not a park. It's private property. But still, is there any excuse for this abuse of the land? And it's immediately adjacent to, and encroaching upon, a public park, Chatsworth Park North.

The City Department of Building and Safety charged the owner with the following violations in April 2016:
Grading was performed without first obtaining a permit.
Open storage of inoperable vehicles.
Rubbish, garbage, trash and debris on the premises.
Open storage within the required yards.
Orders to comply have been issued and our local Building and Safety inspector is monitoring. But it will be a long process to try to repair all the damage to the land.


Click on photos below to see a gallery of photos of the property.


photo: T.Nachtrab

Land Abuse in City Park
Chatsworth Park North damaged by illegal digging and grading by the same private property owner.
The abused property at 22255  Chatsworth Street has a long list of open complaints for illegal dumping and grading and storage of unused vehicles, but there continues to be little effective response from or action by the City of Los Angeles.
In the summer of 2017 the grading  encroached upon Chatsworth Park North, which is a public park. The private party cut and filled for dozens of yards into the park and removed vegetation.

The grading in the park has apparently stopped, but the damage had not been repaired.

This photo shows the city park land that was graded. The private property (background beyond the fence) now contains more junk than it did when they city reported violations back in 2015.

This photo from January 2018 is concerning. This old driveway into the north end of Chatsworth Park North  was fenced off and blockaded by boulders by the City. Now the boulders have been moved aside (heavy equipment need), and the fencing has been cut and rolled back, allowing vehicles into the park. Who did this? The private party? The City? Others?

If you are disturbed by this overreach, you may call Council District 12 at (818) 882-1212.
Information on local hikes is available via the following links:
Welcome Walks:  Interpretive hikes in the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park (SSPSHP):  Facebook: Friends of the Santa Susana Mountains   &

SSPSHP Volunteer Hikes: Contact: Jennifer Dandurand, park interpretive specialist, Los Encinos SHP: 818.784.4849;
Rancho Simi Trail Blazers:
Sierra Club:  Meetings, hikes
SFV Audubon:  Meetings and Bird Walks for families
Hiking and Event Updates:
SSMPA logo
SSMPA Mission 


SSMPA's mission is to preserve and protect the Simi Hills, Santa Susana Mountains, and regional open space.


Join Our Board of Directors?
We have eleven Directors on our board. Our by-laws allow for up to fifteen Directors.
SSMPA logo

Do you support conservation?
Open space? Parks and parkland?

If you want to learn more about the possibility of joining our board, please drop a message at No obligation. Confidential.

membershipOne Cat's Advice

We gratefully accept your new membership, renewals, donations all year round!
If a mountain lion can cross the 101 and the 118,
the least we all can do is become members of SSMPA.

Please click HERE  to start or renew your membership by  credit card
or fill in the membership form below and mail it to us. 

Your membership (new and renewal) and donations help SSMPA efforts and continued success in providing free community meetings; advocacy for open space/nature preserves; keeping or reopening local parks; acquiring easement land parcels to protect native plants and habitat, wildlife corridors and park space; environmental educational opportunities; preservation of Chatsworth's and the surrounding area's historical, cultural, and archaeological sites. 

  If you do want to not receive your newsletter via e-mail and must receive it by snail mail, please send an additional $10.00. If you have moved, please be sure to let us know your new address. 
THANK YOU for your recent New Lifetime Memberships:
Valarie & David Barsky; Brian Sujata 

THANK YOU for your recent New Annual Memberships:
Dennis Arguelles, Jacqueline Fickel, Michael Horton, Kathleen Mahanes, Linda Nelson, Bonnie Norwood,  Simi V alley Historical Society, Robert Southworth

And THANK ALL OF YOU loyal members who have recently renewed your SSMPA Membership 

Sign up for a LIFE MEMBERSHIP and/or a DONATION OF $50.00 and receive a FREE 
"Cotton Blend Cool" T-shirt with a Chumash-inspired design
Let us know your size when you mail in your check,
or send an email to if you pay online.
Membership dues:
( ) $20.00 for individuals
( ) $25.00 for a family
( ) $30.00 for a business or organization
( ) $150.00 for Individual Life Membership
( ) $200.00 for a Family Life Membership
Make your check payable to SSMPA and mail to:
SSMPA, P.O. Box 4831, Chatsworth, CA 91313-4831   
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Thank you!
BODLIST2017 / 2018 SSMPA Board of Directors 
President: Tom Nachtrab 
Vice President: Wendi Gladstone
Treasurer: Teena Takata
Recording Secretary: Donna Nachtrab
Director-at-Large: Vanessa Watters
Director-at-Large: Robert "Bob" Dager
Director-at-Large: Warren Stone
Director-at-Large: John Luker
Director-at-Large: Sharon Shingai
Director-at-Large: Darlene Brothers-Wageman
Director-at-Large: Dean Wageman