Santa Clarita was pounded with rain in recent months, marking the wettest storm season in decades. While the scenery of green hillsides and blooming flowers are breathtaking, the torrential downpour has shaken up the local ecology.
Frank Hoffman has been at the Placerita Nature Center for twenty-eight years, and he has never seen so much change in such little time.
There are many contributing factors towards the closing of trails.
“So you know those three factors, earth, sun, soil, water, precipitation,” Hoffman said. “These are all that contribute to natural growth. We’re gonna see a lot of it. We’re already seeing a lot of it. We’ve seen more blooming flowers this year than we’ve seen in a very very long time.”
The rain’s reshaping of the environment forced some of the trails at Placerita Canyon to be closed for months, out of fear for hiker safety. However, many disregard the park’s warning of dangers they may encounter.
Hoffman talks about the dangers of hiking against caution in trails.
“Potential for a rattlesnake bite. There is the potential for mountain collapse. Again, mass wasting, the debris fall, rock fall.” Hoffman said.
“It’s a soil that expands and contracts you know it’s gravitational pull. They’re gonna come down. It’s part of the natural process.”
Canyons News reporter Chris Kalani says, “With the recent storms, a lot of the trails have been closed due to damage, debris, and obstruction. On the few that have remained open, like the Manzanita Trail behind me, it’s easy to see how the water has left it’s mark. The water has carved runoff creeks – like this one – and turned firm soil into loose, slippery dirt – like this.”
Frank Hoffman and the Placerita Nature Center advise people to take caution and to follow safety guidelines when visiting.