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.