The Azusa Foothills Open Space Stewardship Plan

In 2016 and 2020, the Watershed Conservation Authority (WCA) acquired two contiguous 40-acre properties situated on the south facing side of Glendora Ridge, just north of the City of Azusa in unincorporated Los Angeles County. These lands were acquired for their regional watershed and habitat conservation value. These lands augment hundreds of acres of public lands in the Azusa Foothills, and it was expected that they would extend a public trail network that would include Azusa Wilderness Park and other local trails. This stewardship plan is comprised of two components:

  • Part I: Access and Stewardship Guidelines. 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. These guidelines summarize some of these considerations, while also recognizing their relationship to some of the unique assets of the Azusa environment that can be leveraged in “placemaking.” The suggestions and feedback of community members collected over the course of eight Azusa Foothills Stewardship Workshops held in late 2022 and early 2023, are synthesized into recommendations for building a community centered stewardship and access program. 

  • Part II: Azusa Foothills Open Space Invasive Species Management Guidelines (Wildscape Restoration, 2022). Invasive species management has necessarily become a large part of managing lands in the Wildlands Urban Interface (WUI). These Guidelines lay out objectives for invasive species management on WCA’s Azusa Foothills Open Space lands.

The two components of this stewardship plan should be seen as mutually complimentary. Invasive species management is closely tied to access and stewardship not only because public access contributes to the spread of invasive species, but also because involving community members in invasive species removal can be component of building local stewardship.


Stewardship Workshops

Watershed Conservation Authority held a series of eight workshops in the foothills overlooking Azusa from November 2022 to January 2023.  The stewardship workshops were small scale pilot program for planning for public access on these lands, and for soliciting ideas from the community on how to develop a structure for access that works for Rancho Vasquez, neighbors, and WCA.  Thank you to Azusa Beautiful for partnering on this series. Below are some highlights from these workshops.

Elizabeth Renteria

Nature as a Wellbeing Intervention: Caring for our Azusa Open Space can care for you too!

"The slow pace of nature can give our brain a break from the constant activation that technology demands. This is something in our collective wisdom that people know intuitively."

Kevin Nunez and Nathan Nunez (with Azusa Beautiful)

We are Visible: Local Indigenous History of the Gabrieleño People and their Resilience

"The first people on this land gave names to everything you see: every plant, dirt, rock, sky, everything within their homeland. They told the first stories, sang the first songs. Those stories continue to be told."

"You are all part of this solution now. What happens next is up to you. However you take that and build from there, continuing to build relationships with the Gabrieleno and also with other native communities. What will that look like?"

Suzanne Avila

Think River! The Collection, Movement, Storage, and Use of Water in the San Gabriel River Watershed

"Don’t go looking for somewhere good to live, make where you live good to live. If everyone did that, we could change the world."

Brenda Kyle and Michael Garcia (with Azusa Beautiful)

Hiking with California Native Plants in the San Gabriel Mountains

"150 native american cultures in california are recognized, and 50-60 more are still petitioning for recognition. That is a lot of different cultures, languages, a lot of different ways of tending the land. We have so many different landscapes."

Raul Roa (with Azusa Beautiful)

Bird Watching 101 and Bird Photography

"In the spring, all the birds you see would be considered native, because they were born here. Even migrants are native to this place, They come here (a warm place) to have babies, then they leave. They would have some internal memory of this place, and would return to it year to year. in some places some species are known to return to the same tree year after year, and almost to the same day each year."

Art Vasquez Senior

Rancho Vasquez

"It is important to me that my children and grandchildren are not exposed to pesticides or herbicides."