Azusa Foothills Open Space

In 2016 and 2020, the Watershed Conservation Authority (WCA) acquired two contiguous 40-acre properties in unincorporated Los Angeles County just north of the City of Azusa which extend and augment other public conservation holdings in the San Gabriel Canyon, including WCA’s Azusa River Wilderness Park and Azusa-RMC JPA Open Space. These lands were acquired for their watershed and habitat conservation value. Guided access is currently through privately held land and requires a .75 mile climb up an unpaved fire road (average grade of 12%). Since 2006, there has also been discussion about building a trail to these lands from River Wilderness Park.

This 2006 map envisioned a trail system to connect WCA's River Wilderness Park with surrounding lands. Since 2006, numerous trails shown on this map have been closed due to erosion, safety, and other issues. WCA continues to seek community dialogue in how best to structure access to our Azusa public lands


Biological Surveys

Recently, biological surveys were conducted on each parcel. In 2019, Tidal Influence (TI) surveyed Parcel I [APN 8684-024-907], mapping plant communities and recording the presence of 101 plant species, of which 71 were native and 18 were classified as invasive. Wildlife cameras captured the presence of foxes, mountain lions, deer, and coyotes. TI noted patterns of recovery after the 2014 Colby Fire, such as the re-sprouting of large fire-adapted coastal sage shrubs, the reestablishment of other native species via the existing seed bank, the use of post-fire snags as perches by resident birds, and avian breeding activity. TI’s report discussed selective control of invasive species on site; and suggested an approach to aiding the post-fire recovery of a walnut woodland on site. 

In 2020, Cooper Ecological Monitoring surveyed Parcel II, [APN 8684-024-908], documenting 100 plant species (80 native), 65 species of birds, 10 species of mammals, and 20 species of butterflies, among other taxa.  Uncommon taxa such as mountain lion (Puma concolor), Merriam’s chipmunk (Tamias merriami), and Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), indicate the high ecological integrity of the property.  Three special-status plant taxa and six special-status animals were documented on or adjacent to the property.

Both surveys emphasize that public access and even active management of these high-quality ecosystems (even restoration!) have potential to create negative impacts that must be weighed against benefits of these activities.


Bio Survey PDFs:

Biological Survey of Parcel I, 2019 (Tidal Influence)
Biological Survey of Parcel II, 2021 (Cooper Ecological Monitoring)








Azusa Foothills Open Space Stewardship Plan

A sustainable public access program will balance public use with the needs of the larger community, the neighboring ranch, local neighbors, and WCA’s own organizational capacity.  The suggestions and feedback of community members collected over the course of eight Azusa Foothills Stewardship Workshops held in late 2022 and early 2023, were synthesized into recommendations for building a community centered stewardship and access program. This stewardship plan is comprised of two components:


Read more about the Azusa Foothills Open Space Stewardship Plan and see videos of stewardship workshops.