The city has taken a big step toward opening a 200-acre wilderness park to hikers and nature lovers. In an agreement with the California Conservation Corps, several miles of hiking trails will be built in the hills and canyons northwest of Uptown Village.
The city acquired the property in the mid 1970s with the intention of creating a park, said Dana Vaughan, Whittier's parks director. Recently the city decided to limit development to several trails in an attempt to preserve its natural state. "There are very few places in our urban environment where a person can get into the wilds in a hurry," Vaughan said.
The trails will be constructed by the Corps, a state agency that recruits and trains people between the ages of 18 and 23 for public service jobs. Vaughan said the city will pay the Corps about $10,000 when the trails are finished later this summer. Eventually a small parking lot just off Rose Drive and Greenleaf Avenue will be added for those using the park. Vaughan estimates 6,000 people a year will use the park once it opens, possibly early next year.