A cool, brisk Saturday morning did not deter dozens of hikers from hitting the trails for the 11th Annual Verdugo Hills Community Hike. Sponsored by Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services Department, with volunteers joining from Boy Scout Troop 210, the community hike attracted families and supporters from Burbank and surrounding cities.
The hike was more than simply trekking along a few well-marked trails in the Verdugo Mountains. With enthusiastic guides and volunteer docents on hand, hikers were also able to learn about the geology, history, wildlife, and flora of the hills, bringing a greater awareness and appreciation of the natural resources surrounding Burbank.
Participants had the choice of two trails, one originating at the Stough Canyon Nature Center, and a second, longer trail starting at Wildwood Canyon. Both courses were challenging and picturesque, offering first time visitors a bit of exercise and glimpse into Burbank’s urban wilderness.
Special Assistant Recreation Leader Dana Bleitz-Sanburg was one of the experts on hand to lead groups of climbers on an “Edu-Hike” up the hill. During the ascent, Bleitz-Sanburg provided lectures on both natural habitats of the hills, as well as Native American history.
Stough Canyon Nature Center Volunteer Docents joined the event to assist hikers who strayed off course, as well as deliver mini-lectures on ecology and natural science. They offered additional information on efforts to maintain trails within the extensive Verdugo Mountainway Trail system stretching from Sunland to La Crescenta.
According to Nancy Durkee, Scout Master of Burbank’s Troop 210, the scouts founded the Community Hike idea, partnering with the Nature Center, with the intent of attracting residents into the hills for both exercise – and offer an opportunity to explore nature areas around Stough and Wildwood Canyon parks. Troop 210 members offered food to hikers mid-point in the trail at Ridge Trail Summit, encouraging all to have a good time.
With views of the Verdugo Mountains, San Fernando Valley, and San Gabriel Mountains, the trail provided trekkers both non-stop photo opportunities to capture the scenic beauty of the park, and an incentive to make the climb more often.
The Stough Canyon Nature Center is a gateway to the Verdugo Mountains, Verdugo Mountainway, and Rim of the Valley trails. It provides the public information and educational opportunities to learn more about area wildlife, geology, and flora through various activities, exhibits, and specialized nature hikes.
The Nature Center is located 2300 E. Walnut Ave., above the DeBell Golf Course. Further information about their activities, educational workshops, learning opportunities, and events can be found on the Nature Center’s web page , or by calling (818) 238-5440. Stough Canyon Nature Center events are also listed on the BurbankNBeyond.com Events Calendar.
Photo Gallery By Deborah Dodge