2017-06-01 / Community

Guided hike series part of open space agency’s anniversary

COSCA turns 40 this year
By Dawn Megli-Thuna


BREATHTAKING—View of the Simi Hills looking north from Sandstone Hills trail in the Lang Ranch open space preserve. The Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency is hosting monthly hikes in the Thousand Oaks area to celebrate the agency’s 40th anniversary. 
DAWN MEGLI-THUNA/Acorn Newspapers BREATHTAKING—View of the Simi Hills looking north from Sandstone Hills trail in the Lang Ranch open space preserve. The Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency is hosting monthly hikes in the Thousand Oaks area to celebrate the agency’s 40th anniversary. DAWN MEGLI-THUNA/Acorn Newspapers Thousand Oaks is a city known for open spaces. And it’s not by accident.

Established in 1977, the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency was formed by an agreement between the City of Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Recreation and Park District. Its mission: to save natural lands and protect them from development.

Since then, COSCA has grown to manage 15,194 acres and more than 150 miles of trails.

In conjunction with its 40th anniversary this year, the agency is hosting a series of monthly hikes to acquaint residents with the many trails in the Thousand Oaks area. They will take place the second Saturday of each month.

Avery Akers, CRPD’s outdoor recreation coordinator, said the hike series is the perfect way for residents to discover a new favorite local trail.

“It’s a great program because it’s free and it gets a lot of people hiking who normally wouldn’t be outdoors,” he said.

It’s also a great way to discover trails that are less wellknown— and less congested— than the city’s most-traveled routes.

The 2.8-mile loop to Paradise Falls in Wildwood Regional Park and back is inarguably the town’s most popular excursion, but with visitors’ cars overflowing the parking lot every weekend, the traffic on the trail can make the great outdoors feel quite crowded, Akers said.

The hike series is an easy way to find a road less traveled.

Kira Krukowski is on the board of directors for the Conejo Open Space Foundation, the nonprofit arm of COSCA. An avid runner and hiker, the open space advocate said discovering new trails is a fun and informative way to get to know Thousand Oaks from a different perspective.

“You get to see some amazing sights from the tops of places like Los Robles Open Space and the most amazing oak trees and wildflowers in places like the Sundown Trail and the Arroyo Conejo Open Space,” she said.

There is no age cap, but most hikes set the minimum age at 10 or 12 years old. Akers recommends participants check the difficulty level of the trail before setting out.

The program is run by volunteer trail guides, all of whom are avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. They offer lessons in hiking safety and information on the botany and geology seen along the way.

Akers said hiking is safest with a buddy and the hike series is a great place to meet new friends.

“If you’re a novice hiker, you’ll meet other newcomers,” he said. “If you’re an avid naturalist, you’ll definitely meet some of those.”

The next hike is at 8 a.m. Sat., June 10. Rated as moderately strenuous, it will cover 6 miles along the Los Padres Trail to Los Robles and White Horse Canyon Loop with an elevation gain/loss of 1,000 feet. Hikers 12 and older are welcome. The hike is expected to last up to two and a half hours.

No registration is required. Just meet at the trailhead on Los Padres Drive and park on the street. Bring one to two quarts of water and a snack. Sunscreen, lug-soled shoes and light-color clothing are recommended.

No pets or open-toe shoes. Hikers under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Upcoming hikes in the series include trails through Lang Ranch, Arroyo Conejo and Dos Vientos open-space preserves.

For more information, visit conejo-openspace.org.

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