stone building that houses the Santa Fe Dam Nature Center was
built in 1972, but was left empty soon after. It remained
empty and unused for some 12 years until 2002, when Los Angeles
County representatives approached directors of the San Gabriel
Mountains Regional Conservancy about creating a partnership
to operate the beautiful and unique facility. The vision
was to reopen the Nature Center and establish outdoor/ environmental
education programs, particularly to serve local schools,
youth organizations, outdoor enthusiasts and the general
public. Within a six-month time span, transformation occurred.
Special thanks to SGMRC Directors, Dr. Ramona Rubio and Julie
Riley, ASLA, who along with the help and dedication of dozens
of volunteers, plus in-kind donations and cash contributions
from partnering groups, teamed up to bring the vision to
life! Numerous projects and restorations are evident, as
you will discover on one of the guided tours of the Nature
Center and Natural Area.
are storyboards and educational signage with beautiful photography that
introduce the native plants and wildlife found in the area.
There is a wonderful, newly landscaped native plant demonstration
garden adjacent to the large patio area of the building.
A major bike route runs right by the Nature Center, and also
overnight camping areas are within an easy walk for youth
groups to learn about and experience the natural area outdoors.
Nature Center Project is another of SGMRC's Gateways to Knowledge for children
and adults to learn more about how the valley used to be
before pioneers and major developments became a way of life.
Scheduled for your enjoyment are Nature Walks, Group Gatherings,
School Field Trips, and Special Events. A Nature Walk after
a garden picnic would make a birthday celebration memorable!
Nature Center and its surrounding Natural Area are becoming
a hub of activity for hikers, bikers, joggers, in-line skaters,
birders, photographers, not to mention herps and plant enthusiasts.
Despite all the activity, this is a place where life slows
down to a more natural rhythm and bird songs soothe the soul.
It is a place of solitude in a heavily traveled region. It
is waiting for you to visit and enjoy the balm that is often
missing in the work-a-day world. Even a lunch break stroll
can refresh your day! You-ll see more sky here than any other
place in the Valley!
you haven't experienced the changes, every month brings
a different seasonal calendar to the Nature Center. One visit
is never enough! Also of note is the exceptional habitat
quality of the Natural Area with its unique and rare plants
and wildlife. You will want to learn more about the rarity
of this last of its kind place in Los Angeles County: alluvial
fan sage scrub plant community daring to exist on braided
river habitats. All this and more at the Nature Center at
Santa Fe Dam - a partnership of Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation
a trail walk, nature activities, park clean-up, field
trip, merit badges, classroom visit, community talk, or service
club project by calling the Nature Center Office. A variety
of topics, activities, workshops, and projects are available.
Even a research talk may be scheduled with our resident UC
Berkeley Doctoral Student; currently research focus is on
the regional watershed habitat plan. Sign up early for school
E. Arrow Highway
Azusa Canyon Road
Irwindale, CA 91706-2002
invite you to Visit & Volunteer. There are many volunteer
opportunities, plus docent training, here at the Nature
Center. Programming needs are dependent on volunteers to
serve as docents, trail guides, office personnel, program
presenters, and program assistants. We look forward to
hearing from you. Entry to the Santa Fe Dam Recreational
Area is located at Arrow Highway at Azusa Canyon Road,
Center Hours are: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Monday through
Saturday. Watch for Park Special Events, Clean-ups, Community
Projects, and Outdoor Activities. By arrangement, Field
Trips and Guided Trail Walks are scheduled through the
Nature Center. Drop by the Nature Center during the open
hours for nature tips, brochures, and store items, including
fine art prints, plus wildflower posters, guides and
CDs and native plants for your garden or patio (seasonal
Training at the Center
to Visit & Volunteer!
Classes will begin Thursday, September 16, 10am to noon. Meeting
every Thursday until November 11. Topics include native plants and animals, birds, Kizh
culture, geology, watershed issues and much more. Purpose of the
training is to guide school groups on field trips.
you would like to ask us about how you can become
a volunteer, or to be notified by e-mail of scheduled
events at the Nature Center, please add yourself
to our mailing