Between the Arroyo Seco Golf Course and the York Street Bridge lies the wonderful and idyllic South Pasadena Nature Park, featuring many native plants.
The park was created to provide habitat for wildlife and a peaceful, natural space for residents. Not many people know the purpose of the park, or that it is even there. It is an important part of the community however, and some say deserves more visitation and support.
Technically, its called the Arroyo Seco Woodland and Wildlife Park, but to most it’s simply the “Nature Park,” originally created in 1921 with the passage of a $100,000 bond in South Pasadena, which was used to purchase 100 acres of land along the Arroyo Seco.
Over the years, most of the land was converted to a golf course, baseball fields, tennis courts and playgrounds. However, the South Pasadena Nature Park remained an undeveloped plot of land. In 1999, the plot was nearly sold for $1 million in order to build a school. However, some citizens who saw the environmental value of this land banded together to convince the City Council to keep it as a recreational area. The city then secured state funding to turn the land into a nature park, which opened in 2004.
Barbara Eisenstein, the creator of the Friends of South Pasadena Nature Park, works to keep the park beautiful and open for the community. Eisenstein did not become involved with the park until 2006, but when she did, drastic improvements were made.
“Having visited the park, I became concerned that it was not being maintained and was returning to the degraded and weedy condition it was in before the nature park opened. With city support I started the group, Friends of South Pasadena Nature Park. For the past ten years residents, old and young, have been weeding, planting, removing trash, and creating new paths,” she said. Ever since she’s been involved, the nature park has flourished. “At times it was frustrating and overwhelming, but with perseverance I have seen the park begin to heal. As the plants have taken hold, butterflies, dragonflies, lizards, and birds have returned. In the middle of a hot, unnatural urban landscape, a small bit of nature is taking hold. It gives me hope for all of LA and beyond that we can make a difference.”
There is always more work to be done, however. As a community member, if you wish to help Barbara and the environment, you can volunteer your time at one of the monthly cleanup days at the park. The next few dates are: August 20th, September 17th, and October 15th. Other ways to help the park include simply visiting, spreading the word about it, reporting graffiti, or letting the City Council know how much you value it.
Through hard work, Barbara Eisenstein, along with countless community members, have successfully revitalized the park, making it into a must-see destination for everyone in the area. She hopes “that more residents will visit, enjoy, and care for this South Pasadena gem.”