Letter from CWC President Terry Grill (from Autumn 2019 newsletter)

As I complete my second year as president of the Claremont Wildlands Conservancy, I am grateful for the vision set out in 2000 by our founders Nancy Wing and Suzanne Thompsonas well as the organizational foundation established by our previous president, Lissa Petersen. We have an exceptional volunteer board dedicated to achieving our purpose of expanding the amount of accessible and protected open space in the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and surrounding area. Our board was strengthened this year by the addition of Alison Martinez and Muriel Poston. You can read more about them in this newsletter.

I am especially appreciative of Ali’s deep knowledge of the CHWP and its Master Plan as well as her passion for educating others about park appreciation and stewardship. I am also grateful that Muriel is willing to contribute her knowledge of botany, her thoughtful perspectives and passion for community and external engagement. Ali, Muriel and John Norvell are launching a new program to educate children about responsibly enjoying nature in their nearby Wilderness Park.

We reported in 2017 that the size of the Wilderness Park expanded by 463 acres thanks to the generous gift of Evey Canyon by Pomona College. During the last year, the property was officially accepted by the City of Claremont and work begun to integrate it into the CHWP. There are challenges. One is security at the parking lot at the entrance to the Evey Canyon trail and the other is the safety for pedestrians parking across Baldy Road. There is no continuity between the fire road at the CHWP and Evey Canyon since a portion of the fire road crosses private land.

Members of the Claremont Hills Conservation Corporation voted this year to dissolve. The organization was established to oversee the City of Claremont’s stewardship of the land originally donated by Pomona College to establish the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. The City’s history of responsible management of the property and use of a well considered master plan for the park indicated that such oversight was no longer necessary. A portion of the remaining funds was donated to build a new kiosk at the Mills Avenue entrance to the CHWP.

The City continues to implement the CHWP Master Plan and to foster a culture of respect for wildlife in and neighbors living next to the park. Most important to the implementation are the 17 rangers who greet and assist visitors. I congratulate the Friends of the Wilderness Park, the grass roots organization working with the City, for the contributions they have made to establishing this culture. They greet visitors and pick up litter on the second Saturday of every month, have mapped invasive species and are working to establish an overall plan for signage. Please read about mapping invasive species and the iNaturalist project in another article in this Newsletter and go to www.friendsofthewildernesspark.org to learn more.

The owner and developer of Clara Oaks, a 103-acre hillside parcel along Webb Canyon Road just north of the Webb School Campus, has recently submitted a draft Specific Plan for the development of luxury homes in the southern cluster area and the contribution of the rest of the property to the CHWP. While we welcome additional land for the CHWP, we continue to advocate for maintaining all available hillside properties adjacent to the CHWP as open space. We will, of course, continue to monitor the progress of this development.

I want to thank former board members Nick Jensen and Beverly Speak for their contributions over the last years. Both have moved to pursue other endeavors but their legacies remain.

I hope that all of you receiving our newsletter feel welcome to join our efforts by serving on one of our committees or joining us at our booth on Earth Day or Independence Day in the coming year. Please take a look at our new web site and let us know if you can find all that you hope to see. We welcome your comments and contributions of stories or photos. If you would like to contribute photos to our gallery, please email them with the photographer’s name and captions to info@claremontwildlands.org.I hope to see you on the trails.

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