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Planning Fern Dell’s Revival

CATEGORY: In the News |
On Mar 11, 2015


There is exciting news about Fern Dell. The Griffith J. Griffith Charitable Trust has donated a very generous amount to Friends of Griffith Park for the Fern Dell Fund. The Trust has always been a staunch supporter of FoGP. They supplied the necessary matching grant funding for the Los Angeles County Preservation Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation which made the initial cultural landscape assessment of Fern Dell possible. The Trust is thrilled that Fern Dell is being revitalized to the glory it once enjoyed when Van Griffith was a Park Commissioner.

More good news : the Oaks Homeowners Association has also come onboard, joining other private donors and family trusts with significant donations. Please remember, we have a private donor, who is matching every donation we receive, dollar for dollar! We are thrilled to share the good news that FoGP is now more than half way toward fully funding the $250,000 Phase 2 of the Fern Dell rehabilitation project.

Meanwhile, we have already initiated the biological baselines survey involved in the project. Cooper Ecological Monitoring has begun studies to determine how much and what kind of wildlife calls Fern Dell their home. Although numerous scientific studies have been done in Griffith Park as a whole, this is the first time studies have specifically focused on Fern Dell. Biologists who surveyed the bird populations estimated as many as 30 nesting species in Fern Dell. This is an amazing number of species for such a small area. Biologists have also set up cameras to document the mammals that frequent the dell. A healthy habitat can support a broad variety of wildlife.

Friends of Griffith Park met with Rec and Parks managers to coordinate this rehabilitation project. Upcoming on the agenda is a formal survey of Fern Dell and hydrological studies. We have coordinated with the Office of Historic Resources, the Los Angeles Conservancy and the newly opened L.A. office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation held its first What’s Out There Weekend in Los Angeles, featuring Fern Dell as one of its sites. The Foundation is the nationwide organization which named Fern Dell to its Landslide list of at-risk landscapes in 2012. What’s Out There Weekend featured free, expert-led tours of more than twenty significant examples of designed landscapes. Previous event venues have included Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Philadelphia, and the Berkshires. Friends of Griffith Park volunteer Kay Tornborg and Director Marian Dodge led Fern Dell tours on October 26 and 27 for enthusiastic groups of knowledgeable visitors, many of whom are landscape architects. One man drove from San Francisco to attend the event. They admired the charm of the dell but noted the need for much rehabilitation and offered helpful advice.

Friends of Griffith Park Directors joined Councilmember Tom LaBonge and CD 4 staff on August 29 for a clean up in Fern Dell. Under the supervision of Rec and Parks maintenance personnel, invasive plants which were clogging the small stream on the eastern edge of Fern Dell were removed. Trash and debris from the stream bed was removed and the path was swept clean. PAVA (Pacific American Volunteer Association) has also worked hard with Councilmember LaBonge in raking the paths and picking up litter.

We hope that you will join the Griffith Trust, the Favrot Fund of the National Trust, neighborhood organizations and private individuals and make a generous contribution to the Fern Dell Fund.

~Marian Dodge
faux bas railing photo: Martha Benedict



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