Monday, March 28, 2011

Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy Celebrates Rubio Canyon Acquisition

The sky may have been overcast, but the mood was anything but gloomy as more than 200 nature lovers gathered on Sunday afternoon, March 27th, to help celebrate the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy's acquisition of the final parcels in historic Rubio Canyon which now brings 41 acres under land conservation 'forever,' as AFC President Nancy Steele put it.

The festivities took place on the property of long-time AFC supporter Heinz Ellersieck on Camp Huntington Drive, directly adjacent to the eastside of Rubio Canyon.

AFC Executive Director John Howell served as ceremony emcee and spoke both about his personal passion for land conservation and how attendees could support AFC as docents and members of the Foothills Society, a multi-year financial support community dedicated to preserving the open space projects of the Conservancy.

The effort to purchase the final acreage to keep Rubio Canyon intact brought together AFC donors, the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, and the Mountains and Recreation Conservation Authority (MRCA).
Final major support from the California Wildlife Conservation Fund, championed by State Assemblymember Carol Liu (seen here with John Howell) and State Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, who was represented at the event by his environmental deputy, Bill Hackett, sealed the deal.

Also attending and addressing the crowd was Congressman Adam Schiff, whose district covers most of the Altadena area, including Rubio Canyon.

Congressman Schiff spoke of the importance of this conservation effort within the context of the current National Park Service's Rim of the Valley Study to assess and potentially expand recreational opportunties on federal lands adjacent to the San Gabriel Valley, which he described as 'our collective backyard.'

Why is the conservation of Rubio Canyon so important? Development encroachment in the Altadena Foothills remains a threat to
the area's unique biodiversity. In addition, these Rubio Canyon parcels contain historic trails and remnants of the Mount Lowe Railway Resort Area, including the very popular hiking trail to the Rubio Canyon waterfalls. Now, everyone will be able to enjoy this natural, pristine canyon, whose sounds of rushing water from Rubio Creek could be heard in the background during the afternoon event.

Before the festivities began, guests enjoyed a variety of refreshments, including micro-crafted ales and lagers from Mark Jilg's Pasadena-based Craftsman Brewing Company. Seen in the crowd were AFC board members Tim Wendler, Laura Garrett, Michelle Markman, Marc Stirdivant, and Lawren Markle. Altadenans attending included long-time hiker and AFC patron Ninarose Mayer, area historian and AFC docent Michele Zack, Mark Goldschmidt, Sue Dodd, James Griffith, and Debbie Heap.  Other native lovers in attendance included Teresa Lamb Simpson, Tom Seifert, Dianne Philabosian, John Ronnette, Laurie Barlow, and Emily Stork.

For more information on the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy, including how you can support their vital land conservation efforts, please visit


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