As Samuel Kinney took a rest on a bench in the newly built trail along the eastern rim of Kenneth Hahn Park in the Baldwin Hills, he nodded his head approvingly.
“I think this is going to save a lot of lives,” he said looking at the ¾ mile trail, with its new fitness equipment and child-friendly animal sculptures. “In terms of being healthy, this is the best way to get free exercise; this is the way to lower your blood pressure. Here I can get my exercise in the open air. All of this is beautiful.”[raw]For years, residents who lived in View Park or Windsor Hills had to drive to get into Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, a 308 acre site developed in 1984. But now, all pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to access the southeastern section of the park through the newly opened Eastern Ridgeline Trail. Its newly made paths are wheelchair accessible and are lined with “workout stations” where anyone can get an upper body strength workout in along with their walk.
The new trail, which sits atop the mountain showing vistas of downtown Los Angeles, connects the existing most northern parking lot all the way to the 5-points intersection at La Brea Avenue, Stocker Street and Overhill Drive. The $3 million-investment to open up the trail came from a Baldwin Hills Conservancy grant and $100,000 from the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas.
“We have spared no effort in bringing this to the people of this district,” said the Supervisor. “This opens up the park to all of the community and we do it with pride, pleasure and a sense of commitment. And, this is just the beginning.”
The Eastern Ridgeline trail is the first part of planned “park to playa” regional trail, which will eventually create a 13-mile pedestrian route from Baldwin Hills to the Pacific Ocean. There are also plans to build the Stoneview Nature Center, which will serve as the first county-run nature center with an emphasis on urban gardening and healthy living.
Allan Kingston, chairman of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, noted that the newly established trail will do much to bring back more wildlife into the park—a sign of a healthy habitat.
“I look forward to seeing more possums and skunks and raccoons and of course birds,” he said. “We have to protect nature and preserve it for the future.”[/raw]