Our community has been blessed with many excellent natural resources and recreational facilities. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 crackdown, access to some of the facilities has been limited.
Many people have questions regarding availability and future plans of the Conejo Recreation and Park District (CRPD) and the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) facilities. Some of the answers are addressed below.
- Why has access to Paradise Falls been closed? During the Memorial Day weekend, the Paradise Falls area of Wildwood Park was inundated with record crowds that compromised the sensitive habitat around the falls. The crowd behavior was a stark contrast to that of past park visitors. Therefore the 10-acre Paradise Falls area will be closed indefinitely to allow the resources to recover.
- How will the SCE Woolsey Fire Recovery Funds be allocated? Recently, both agencies considered how best to utilize the settlement funds, which amounted to $8.5 mil and $4.2 mil, respectively. COSCA defined seven Project Areas where the money could be used—Weed Management/Restoration; Land Acquisition; Land Management; Vegetation Management; Community Fire Prevention; Equipment and Services; and a Reserve fund. For CRPD there were two defined Project Areas: Park and Facility Infrastructure for fire prevention, and Community-Wide Enhancement Projects.
- What is appropriate trail etiquette? With so many additional hikers, bikers and runners heading to the trails this spring and summer, this question is frequently asked. Very simply, bikers must yield to both hikers and equestrians, and hikers must yield to equestrians. When yielding, step to the side of the trail to let your fellow trail user pass by.
- Are there any online open space teaching materials available for children? The Conejo Open Space Foundation has a very informative video designed for Fourth Graders on its website (cosf.org). The Trails Education Days Video Summary by “Tracker Rob” and Ian Robertson is an excellent resource highlighting the wildlife and plants of Wildwood Park.
- How are the COVID-19 compliant summer camp and recreation programs doing? While the class sizes may be reduced, the enthusiasm is not! Park staff and campers alike have been excited to participate in the various camps and activities offered. You can view the “Connecting the Community During Unprecedented Times” video on the CRPD YouTube channel to see firsthand the many programs currently underway. [Be sure to subscribe for video updates.]
- Why was the annual Independence Day Fireworks program cancelled? The City of Thousand Oaks and CRPD jointly sponsor the annual fireworks show for our community. After waiting as long as possible to make a decision, it was determined that the show could not proceed for two primary reasons: 1) the County Public Health Officer order precludes the gathering of large crowds, and 2) since all neighboring communities had cancelled their events, the larger-than-normal expected crowds could not be accommodated.
- Why are the park playgrounds still closed? The CRPD has been carefully navigating the roles of both recreation provider and public health monitor. There has been much discussion regarding the potential impacts of COVID-19 on children, and whether the virus can spread on surfaces, and for those reasons, the State has yet to permit playgrounds from opening, The potential for crowds was another consideration.
- See the “What’s Open” flyer on the CRPD website for current updates. https://www.crpd.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/WhatsOpen_CRPD_FacillityClosures.pdf
Doug Nickles is a director and board member for the Conejo Recreation and Park District and the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency. The views expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of the District, Agency, or the Boards.