Shooting Star Trail is a relatively new trail that connects Wildwood to
the Santa Rosa Valley. Mark Burley, long time Conejo Open Space
supporter, was instrumental in getting this trail established.
Mark recalls some historical information about the area before the
trail was put in... "In the 1990s some riders used a very steep route
where the gas pipelines are, to the east of the current Shooting Star
Trail, to connect from the upper Santa Rosa Trail to the Lower Santa
Rosa Trail. This trail washed out in heavy rains and went from
dangerous to impassible. For years I had visions of a trail
connecting the upper and lower Santa Rosa trails that would be safely
usable by all users. The previous owner of the land where the
easement for the Lower Santa Rosa trail runs, Homer Caston, had
suggested that a safer place for the trail would be further west than
the gas pipelines. So one day I set off through the brush starting
from the Santa Rosa Valley floor and after a steep beginning the land
became less steep grassland. It seemed like a good place for the
trail. In 2007, I contacted the CRPD rangers for confirmation this
was practical and Bruce Pace and I went and marked out a route for the
trail with a consistent 10% grade from bottom to top."
Mark goes on to say, "That same year, Santa Rosa Valley Trails Inc. went
to the Conejo Open Space Trails Action Committee, COSTAC, with the
proposal. They liked the idea but COSCA was considering the
trails and new bridge in the Hill Canyon Area, so did not want to go
ahead with getting approvals for the Shooting Star Trail as a separate
project. So SRVTI members went to the various meetings and public
workshops for the Hill Canyon project, which is also of interest to
Santa Rosa Valley residents. And at the same time they advocated
strongly for the new trail, which was temporarily called the Santa Rosa
Connector Trail. When the Hill Canyon design was finished in
2008, one of the proposals was that connector trail. It was later
named Shooting Star Trail."
In 2008, the completed draft Trail Plan map for Santa Rosa Valley was
made public. The Board of Supervisors voted to authorize Planning to
review the Trail Plan and analyze the scope of work necessary for
adoption of the plan by Ventura County. Santa Rosa Valley Trails Inc.
a non-profit neighborhood association, made a proposal to the Conejo
Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) to add a new trail that
would connect Santa Rosa Valley to Wildwood Park. In
2009, SRVTI actively negotiated two easements, and SRVTI adopted
the Lower Santa Rosa Trail through COSCA's Adopt-A-Trail program.
In 2010, The Shooting Star Trail -yet unnamed- proposed in 2008 as part
of the Trail Plan by SRVTI, was built by 100 COSCA and 30
SRVTI volunteers . The trail runs from the Santa Rosa Trail on
the top of the Mountclef Ridge down to the Lower Santa Rosa Trail (also
known as the Baseline trail).The trail connects Santa Rosa Valley to
Wildwood Park and creates a loop that you can start on either side of
the Mountclef Ridge. In the spring, there is a breathtaking growth
of shooting stars along the sides of this trail. This feature gave the
trail its name.
During the annual Holiday Party where COSCA, COSTAC and COSF
contributors celebrate the year with like-minded open space
enthusiasts, COSF President Jerry Westby handed over a check for $30,000
to COSCA Administrator, Brian Stark. The funds came from COSF
donor/members and is to go towards the construction of the second
Hill Canyon bridge.
bridge will be located near the bottom of Hill Canyon (“Baxter”) Fire
Road and provide a route for loop hikes and rides through Conejo
Canyons, the Western Plateau and Wildwood Park without the need to
travel on Hill Canyon Road. Further, it will provide a second vehicle
exit for water treatment plant workers in case of an emergency that
blocks Hill Canyon Road, such as a wildfire.
Christina Robertson is an
energetic, positive, and passionate board member. She posts
on our social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and has a
knack for sharing her enthusiasm about all things nature with others.
She does amazing work with children and getting them excited about all
of the wonders that the great outdoors has to provide. You might have
run into her at the trailhead during a Trailhead Outreach event, as
a coordinator for Trails Education Days, or just out there with her
adorable, nature-loving girls. We are so grateful for her many
contributions to the Conejo Open Space.
Tell us about yourself (your day job, hobbies, how you spend your spare time). When did you join the COSF board and why?
I am a full-time mom. I also teach science classes
at a private elementary school. My absolute favorite
thing to do is go on outdoor adventures with my family. My passion for
Conejo Open Space started with leading a hike for Trail Education Days. I
loved it so much and I wanted to do more. I joined COSTAC a little
while after that and then a year ago, I joined COSF.
Why is open space important to you?
Open Space has been a priceless gift to me and my family. It gives
me memorable connections with my family. Hiking in the open space has
helped with my kiddos' agility and confidence. It has been a sanctuary
for me during tough times and been a venue for me to find solitude and
rest. It has given me precious moments with friends. Our open
space really represents so much more to me than just a bunch of space
What skills do you bring to COSF and/or the Conejo Open Space?
I always say enthusiasm is the number one thing I bring to the
table. I am absolutely in love with our open space and would love
for everyone to feel comfortable to enjoy it. I am very passionate
about sharing the benefits of open space with our community and the
telling people about uniqueness of the plants and animals that inhabit
that space. That is why I have enjoyed helping with the
Trails Education Days (T.E.D.) for the past three years. T.E.D. takes
place during a week in the spring, when we host over 1,000 fourth
grade students and teach them about our open space. We take them
on a hike through Wildwood and provide seminars where they learn trail
etiquette, the wildlife in the area, and job opportunities that serve
our open space. There is nothing like seeing a student or friend have a
little more awe about our open space after experiencing it first hand.
What do you like to do in the open space?
I love hiking and taking pictures. Sometimes, I even like to
just find a bench and soak in the sounds, sights, and smells all
around. I have never walked back to my car from hiking a trail
feeling disappointed that I didn’t see or experience something amazing.
What are your hopes for the future of COSF and/or the Conejo Open Space?
Oh my, I have so many! If I were to narrow my hopes and dreams for our
open space down to one, it would be that I hope our community’s
appreciation and participation in protecting our unique open space
continues to grow for generations to come.
Any other thoughts or words of wisdom?
I am so grateful for the forethought, wisdom, and fortitude of the
incredible individuals that fought for our open space
protection over 50 years ago. Let’s join together and continue to
care for the resources that provide so much for those living in and
around our open spaces.
Come get to know some new trails - or come re-visit your favorite trails - in a guided group hike setting. The 2020 CRPD Open Space Appreciation Hike series
is underway. Come join us for these monthly mid-range hikes! Upcoming
hikes are listed below. Participants must be at least 14 years old, and a
responsible adult must accompany hikers under 18. No pets please.
* Saturday, January 11, 2020 from 8am to 11am Los Robles West to Angel Vista - 6 miles
* Sunday, February 8, 2020 from 8am to 11am Satwiwa Center, Waterfall, Old Boney, Fossil - 6.5 miles
* Saturday, March 14, 2020 from 8am to 11am Rancho Simi- "Beeline" to Arch Rock - 6.5 miles
By: Kira Krukowski
This popular landmark in Thousand Oaks
has been in the news lately because one of its beautiful oak trees was
lost in the beginning of September 2019. Read more about it
Have you ever wondered how Tarantula Hill got its name? According to
COSCA, "It is named for the spiders, which can occasionally be seen
on its slopes." The hill is also sometimes called "Dawn's Peak", and
after some investigating, this is most likely because that name occurs
in social media and on some trail apps. According to the Thousand Oaks
Library Special Collections, "The alternate name, Dawn's Peak, was
probably coined by someone who didn't know the actual name or doesn't
September 19, 2019, The Hill Canyon Bridge was re-opened after repairs
were made to it after the Hill Fire. The fire started in November 2018
and caused structural damage to the bridge, which forced it to be closed
for about 10 months. We are so glad to have access back at one of our
If you have an interest in helping COSCA to identify the
location and type of non-native plants you see out on the trail, please
stay tuned for plenty of training opportunities in the future. You can
make a difference and help with open space stewardship by reporting the
non-natives when you are hiking, running, or biking in our open
do not use rodenticide in your homes or businesses. It harms not only
pets and neighborhood wildlife, it travels up the food-chain and harms
or even kills coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions. Thank you to NPS for
the above image. Please visit their website here to learn more about rodenticide and potential alternatives.
Want to Volunteer? Here’s How!
COSCA relies on volunteers to help
maintain our open space and trails. Volunteering for these programs
below is easy, fun, not time-consuming, and a great way to get
involved. You’ll also meet people who share your love of Conejo’s open
space. You can read about the specific volunteer opportunities below,
and you can submit a request to volunteer, noting your specific
The Conejo Open Space Foundation was formed
in 1995 to promote and maintain the open space and trail system of the
Conejo Valley and to educate residents as to their roles as custodians
and protectors of the open space and the environment. Our web site
illustrates ongoing Conejo Open Space programs supported by the
Foundation that help preserve and protect our precious open space.