fbpx

Chatsworth Nature Preserve Offers a Rare Peek Behind Its Gates


Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.The gates open and visitors descend upon the preserve.Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Tiny frogTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Animal Tracks Inc. brought some exotic species to the event" data-rightCaption="Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.">Animal Tracks Inc. brought some exotic species to the eventTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Animal Tracks Inc. brought some exotic species to the eventTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Animal Tracks Inc. brought some exotic species to the eventTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Tataviam-Chumash elderTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Tataviam-Chumash elderTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Tataviam-Chumash elderTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.a female kangaroo from Animal Tracks Inc.Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Jessi Wild plays a Lakota flute.Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Getting up close and personal with a gray ratsnakeTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Joey Kabosius with a stuffed catfishTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Looking at tadpoles in the Ecology PondTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.A view of the Ecology PondTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Heavy-duty barbed wire tops the fence around the Chatsworth Nature Preserve.Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Playing a flute during the ceremonial blessing that opened the day's eventsTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.People are cleansed with sage.Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Tarantula encounterTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Neel pets TriggerTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Neel pets TriggerTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Neel pets TriggerTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.a California kingsnake.Tataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.The Chatsworth Nature PreserveTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Bob of the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association with a mock stagecoachTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Showing us a small frog before releasing it back into the pondTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.Teranga Ranch volunteers and a desert tortoise named TobieTataviam-Chumash elder Alan Salazar blows smoke from a pipe during the event's ceremonial blessing.

The Chatsworth Nature Preserve is a Los Angeles treasure that sparks the imagination of area residents. What opened as the Chatsworth Reservoir in 1919 in the northwest San Fernando Valley was eventually taken out of commission in 1972 after it sustained damage, along with two nearby dams, in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. Two years later, the Ecology Pond was built on the property to support the wildlife that had depended upon water from the dam. The property, which is today owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, is void of human beings for 364 days a year, but opens one day every April to celebrate Earth Day. The event gives Angelenos a rare chance to visit the 1,325-acre preserve, which is home to more than 200 species of birds as well as various amphibians, reptiles and mammals. On Saturday, April 2, the gates of the nature preserve opened and fans of the great outdoors were free to hike around the Ecology Pond, encounter some exotic animals and take part in a ceremonial Native American blessing.

All photos by Jared Cowan. Follow Jared on Twitter @JaredCowan1.