Friday, September 2, 2011

Tribute to an Arroyo Lover

Pasadena's Arroyo Seco lost a dear Arroyo Lover a couple weeks ago when horse patrol 'guardian' Don Zimmerman died at age 99. Don was a long-time volunteer with the Pasadena Mounted Police Unit.

I did not personally know Don, but all of us who walk, hike, or horseback ride along the Arroyo Seco, especially in the Lower Arroyo Nature Park, knew who Don was.

Three days a week, there he was on his trusty steed, reminding walkers to keep their dogs on leash, admonishing park users not to throw trash on the ground, and cheerily giving directions and offering local color for those visitors who were lost or disoriented.

Even though Don and I only knew each other by the friendly wave that all Arroyo Lovers share, we were kindred spirits. In our own way, we each showed our love for the Arroyo by reminding visitors (and their dogs) all the time to respect our special natural area by picking up trash and doggie doo and staying on trails so that native plant life and endangered species would not be damaged.

While I don't know this for a fact because Don and I never shared our tales, I'm willing to bet that we both got 'yelled at' from time to time by people because we politely asked them to leash their dogs or pick up after their four legged friends. I can't recount all the times that snippy know-it-alls told me that their dogs could do 'whatever they want,' even though I had my Arroyo Seco volunteer shirt on and was very polite. Don had the advantage of being an elder statesman of the Arroyo, sitting above the crowd on the back of Maca, but I'm certain he occasionally got some attitude from these whippersnappers, too.

Of course, Don, I and all Arroyo Lovers only ask other users of the trails to be good stewards so that the Arroyo Seco's beautiful riverine parkland will be here in its natural condition for future generations to enjoy. It's too bad that some of our residents and visitors don't share that respect.

A special memorial service open to all will be held at 11 am on September 17th at the First United Methodist Church, 500 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena. If Don Zimmerman ever waved to you on the trails or reminded you to put your dog on a leash, you might want to come by to pay your respects.

Don 'patrolled' the Arroyo Seco on horseback for 25 years. I've only been patrolling for 4 years. I think I still have a long way to go to fill his boots.

Happy Trails, Don.

And if you're out enjoying the Arroyo Seco this holiday weekend, please show some respect for Don by keeping your dog on its leash and bringing trash/doggie doo bags along with you to clean up after yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Don. Did he keep his horse at Arroyo Seco stables? Had no idea this patrol idea went back that far.


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