First published in the Dec. 16 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
State Sen. Anthony J. Portantino spearheaded an effort leading to a unanimous vote Tuesday of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in favor of a $3 million grant that will be used to restore the Flint Canyon Trail in La Cañada Flintridge.
Several years ago, Portantino secured $300,000 from the conservancy for design and engineering of the trail restoration. This grant gives the city the ability to begin the work on the trail connection to Pasadena.
“This is not only a critical investment for the 25th Senate District but also for the environmental well-being of the Los Angeles County region,” Portantino said in a statement. “I am proud to have secured several grants over the years to fortify this trail and other related projects in La Cañada Flintridge. Flint Canyon is an important link between La Cañada Flintridge and Hahamongna Watershed Park. I’m grateful to SMMC for recognizing the importance of this project.”
The Flint Canyon project restores a 1,000-foot segment of the Flint Canyon Trail that needs a stabilization embankment due to deterioration created by stream flows in the canyon. The SMMC staff report states that the project will “not only preserve a vital component to the city’s circular trail (12.7 miles) but prevent the potential loss of a trail connector that provides access to Hahamongna Park and the Arroyo Seco to the east, San Rafael Hills to the west and Angeles National Forest to the north.”
Repairing the Flint Canyon Trail was at the top of the LCF City Council’s wish list in April when it applied for federal funding for at least one of four projects, which included renovating the local Community Center building, installing air conditioning in the Lanterman Auditorium and building soundwall segments along the East-South connector of the 2 and 210 freeways.
“What great news. The city is excited to receive $3 million from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to fix the Flint Canyon Trail,” LCF Mayor Terry Walker said in a statement. “We are grateful to the state for funding our conservancies and to Sen. Portantino for recognizing that Flint Canyon is a vital regional connection between La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena and leading this effort to secure funding for the city to make the necessary repairs. Having a state representative so familiar with our needs is an asset for our community.”
Portantino has a history of commitment to environmental protection and trail and open space preservation. In 2019, Portantino’s budget request for the Arroyo Seco Watershed Restoration Project was approved, which resulted in a $3.5 million allocation in the 2019-20 State Budget to help enhance the important regional watershed.
In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1126, the Arroyo Seco Tributary legislation authored by Portantino — which formally includes the Arroyo Seco Tributary into the Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries Working Group plan and ensures the communities in the 25th District are well-represented on the working group.
As the author of SB 45, Portantino was instrumental in last year’s budget negotiations on behalf of conservancies around the state, which included significant resources for the SMMC. A resident of LCF, he is a longtime member of the conservancy’s advisory board, dating back to his time on the City Council. Portantino currently serves as one of the conservancy’s legislative participants.