I love this time of year. We turned the clocks forward last week. The days are getting progressively longer and will continue to do so until the summer solstice, one of the best days of the year. The temperatures are starting to rise, especially in the early morning hours and nature is coming alive around.
It was only last month that I was out on my early morning walk when it was thirty-six degrees with frost on the ground. Just a few days ago, the temperature was sixty-three just before dawn and it was the first morning I didn’t have to wear a coat on my jaunt around the West Ranch neighborhoods.
One of the loveliest sights though this time of year is seeing the Heritage Oak trees in the area budding with new growth. During the winter, some of those bare trees look craggy and dead dotted around the dry hillsides. But now most of them have a halo of fresh green buds popping against the dark branches and trunks of those oaks.
There are twenty varieties of oak trees in California and certainly no shortage of them in the Santa Clarita Valley. One of the most beautiful roads to drive down in the Santa Clarita Valley is The Old Road between Stevenson Ranch Parkway and Valencia Blvd. At the south end, the road is bordered on either side by a 150-acre oak preserve. The rest of the road has the TPC Valencia golf course on both sides until the north end, which has some development. But nonetheless, it is a great stretch of roadway to view the oaks, especially at sunrise or sunset.
But, I think one of the stateliest trees in the area is the grand Heritage Oak that stands guard at the entrance to the Pico Canyon. It’s in the passive park on the south side of Pico Canyon Road just past Stevenson Ranch Parkway. That’s the tree that was dubbed “Old Glory” years ago when a carpetbagger took up residence in the tree for a few weeks and turned our community into a carnival of news outlets complete with reporters, cameras, vans, and satellite dishes.
When that tree became a habitat for that apparently deranged individual who chose to sit in it, which he was paid to do, some pseudo-environmentalists decided to name the tree. It was a masterful stroke of marketing genius. I mean who wants to cut anything down that has a name.
Yes, that tree was going to be removed because the local environmentalists refused to talk with the builders about re-routing the road slight to the south to avoid the tree. Essentially, the no-growthers used the tree as a kind of hostage. But they didn’t anticipate that the tree would be moved, to its present location, at the cost of more than a million dollars. Boy, that fried their beans. Although, I wondered then, as I do now, just how much land that million bucks would have purchased for open space had they not moved the tree, but left it in place. We’ll never know.
I’m glad that L.A. County saved that tree and transplanted it in a location that residents can enjoy either on a walk or zooming by at sixty-miles-per-hour. Many may take that tree for granted, but I don’t. I love to visit it, especially this time of year when the days are getting longer and warmer and the rebirth of nature is all around us.
Dave Bossert- Commentary
Dave Bossert is a community volunteer who serves on several boards and councils. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.