Some of Los Angeles County's top public officials urged residents to spend more time enjoying local natural areas during Saturday's annual Arbor Day celebration in La Crescenta.
More than 100 people gathered at Two Strike Park on Rosemont Avenue for a program celebrating the various wooded open-space areas in the foothills and efforts to care for them.
"We are in the paradise part of the County of Los Angeles right here, with these fabulous trees," said keynote speaker Sheriff Lee Baca, who encouraged locals to develop "an athletic mind and body" by taking time out of busy schedules to walk, jog or run under bountiful canopies.
Organized by members of the Crescenta Valley Town Council, the event recognized efforts by local Eagle Scouts and other volunteers to plant trees, maintain nature trails and spruce up open space areas.
Volunteers recently installed landscaping upgrades near the Foothill (210) Freeway off ramp at Pennsylvania Avenue and are working to make trail improvements and reintroduce native plant species at Rosemont Preserve, eight acres of land at the top of Rosemont Avenue put under charitable trust last summer.
"When people take ownership of our parks, it makes a huge difference," said Russ Guiney, the county's parks and recreation director. "We don't have enough county employees to take care of the facilities we have."
The benefits of volunteer efforts run both ways, L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich said.
"We have a new form of slavery in the 21st century — the computer and the cell phone," Antonovich said. "Just think if you're out there exercising, walking or reading more."
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