Conejo Open Space: Autumn Ridge and Sunrise Trails

Photo of a Painted Lady whose wings are showing signs of wear
With its wings showing the signs of a long journey, a Painted Lady takes a brief respite

In Thousand Oaks we are fortunate to live near relatively wild land with more than 150 miles of trails. I like to hike and trail run; more recently I am learning to mountain bike on some of the trails protected by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSTAC).

The Conejo Open Space “…offers a safe, stable environment for all organisms, whose complex interactions combine to form valuable habitat and ecosystems.” COSTAC’s Mission is “To acquire, conserve, and manage open space within and surrounding the Conejo Valley for future generations, sustainably balancing public use with ecosystem protection.”

The Conejo Open Space Foundation (COSF) is a not-for-profit organization staffed by volunteers, members of the public who donate their time and expertise by participating in a variety of programs focused on promoting the use of and protecting/maintaining the health of our open space resources. Education, trail watch/monitoring and fundraising are just a few of the ways that the public can get involved. If you are already spending time in the open space, probably the easiest way to get involved is as a trail watch volunteer.

COSF is currently holding the Conejo Open Space Challenge through the end of May that encourages hikers, cyclists, equestrians and runner to explore each of ten trails located with the open space and share photos of each outing via Twitter, Instagram or email. The challenge is not a competition, but participants may enter a raffle to be eligible for donor prizes if they complete all ten trails. And there’s going to be a party!

I took some of the photos in the featured slideshow while on the Autumn Ridge trail. Autumn Ridge is one of the ten Challenge hikes. I recommend a return along the Sunrise trail because each trail has its own set of unique wildflowers although there is some overlap.

After the Woolsey fire, we are still not sure how much has been lost, or how long it may take for nature to repair the damage. Some damage may be permanent, but the resilience of the wildflowers, shrubs and mighty oaks trees coming back is inspiring.

By S. Felton

S. Felton is a writer, photographer and amateur naturalist.

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