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On Any Given Day

CATEGORY: In the News |
On Mar 11, 2015

running-article2On any given day running in the park is a renewing experience. It starts in the parking lot with the camaraderie of seeing other runners. I belong to a running club, the Wild Mountain Runners, a group mainly of old-school elite Hispanic runners. It is an honor to train and run with them. They are always encouraging and light-heartedly kid about my next race. Running groups such as the Los Feliz Flyers and A Runners Circle also congregate in the Pony Ride parking lot, sharing stories of adventures and fun.

When one sets out on the trail, it inevitably means going up hill into the scenic interior of the Park. The greenery and wildlife make it an ideal training ground. You will encounter a variety of flora and fauna. Deer and coyote are ever present. Occasionally I’ll see an owl in the evening, and have come across rattlesnakes! I take this as an auspicious sign, especially when I am training for a race.

I see people of every age and nationality enjoying the tranquility. The trails are a sanctuary from our industrialized, hectic urban environment. It is critical we have a place such as Griffith Park to find some peace. Without this, we are less human and less than whole. When we lose touch with nature, we also lose touch with our humanity towards one another. I am inspired when I reach the top of a hilly trail and see an amazing sunset, or when I view filtered light hitting the trees on a crisp cool morning. The splendor of the Park fills me with joy, and I know the world is a beautiful place.

I run through a mini pine forest, and take in the scent of the pines. I transcend the urban environment. This is a precious gift. Briefly, I have escaped the nearby concrete jungle with its depressing mixture of trash, exhaust, and noise.

People of every walk of life enjoy their unique experiences in our Park. It is our responsibility and that of the city to nurture and conserve this sanctuary. We need more Park Rangers to protect and educate the millions who come and will continue to come. We need to respect this park and not allow it to be eroded from over-use and mismanagement.

That is why when I run on any given day seeing a deer, coyote, squirrel, owl, snake or rabbit, I passionately want to protect the Park! We live in a world of ever shrinking wilderness. Private entities with their best intentions will not “improve” the Park with paving and buildings. The idea is unsettling. What we desperately need is green and open space left undisturbed.

The mountain lion, bobcats and other animals deserve to continue living in Griffith Park. Our children ought to be able see and learn about them as well. And so should many future generations on any given day.

~Laura Howe



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