Griffith Park: A Return from the Ashes?

It’s easy to forget that within the massive concrete sprawl known as Los Angeles, sits “the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the United States.”

Griffith Park encompasses 4,210 acres of mountainous terrain in the heart of Los Angeles. Since it was bequeathed to the city of Los Angeles in 1896, it has been home to a variety of iconic attractions such as the Griffith Observatory, LA Zoo, Greek Theater, LA Equestrian Center, and more. The real treasure of Griffith Park, however, is the wonderful nature, amazing solitude, and 53 miles of hiking trails which Los Angelenos make use of to escape the big city.

Sounds perfect, right?

There is just one problem: 25% of it burned one month ago.

All of the famous attractions, as well as the animals at the zoo were spared. So very much of the brush-covered hills, however, are now burned to a crisp.

The city has no idea what to do about the situation. Part of the challenge is that in the last 100 years, countless non-native plants have been introduced into the park ranging from ice plant to redwoods. If city officials let nature take its course, a nasty weed-like scrub brush known as chaparral, will take over and, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, “strip Griffith Park of its distinctive, crazy-quilt feel.”

This unique park is at a crossroads right now and the decisions made in the next year will impact the very fabric of the park and dictate what it will look like in the next 100 years. Let’s hope it will remain as wild and diverse as Los Angeles itself.

(Photo by Colin Brown via Flickr)