... what better entrance to a village?
The centerpiece of every canyon is its watercourse; in this case,
Laguna Creek. As in any area that is comprised of steep hillsides and
flat canyon bottoms, the flat areas typically get developed first.
So, Laguna Creek has been subjected to manipulation of its natural
watercourse since the town was settled. First came the roadway, which
essentially followed the creek. Next came roadside and Downtown
development, which necessitated channelization of the creek for flood
protection. Little by little, willows ad sycamores along the creek
were uprooted to make way for concrete and structures.
To date, Laguna Creek is a channel from the ocean to Dog Park.
From the Dog Park to El Toro Road, the creek is contained in an
earthen ravine (the area includes the Sun Valley Neighborhood).
Upstream from El Toro Road to the headwaters near Laguna Lakes,
Laguna Creek lacks visual identification due to the original Laguna
Canyon Road construction in the watercourse, and current grading for
the new alignment project.
With the exception of scattered landmark sycamore trees in
undeveloped portions of the canyon, Laguna Creek currently lacks the
visual identity that is pictured in early plein air paintings of the
canyon. Sunset Magazine described these early Laguna artists as
follows: "What they captured in their works as they explored the area
around Laguna remains in some ways the purest portrayal we have of
Southern California. Their depictions of shadowed, green hills
plunging to canyons, sycamores lining gently running creeks, or lines
of white foam against a blue ocean onto an empty beach fixed a vision
of all that once was here ... "
It's not too late to reclaim this beauty and save Laguna Creek.
All along the creek, native sycamore, oak and willow trees can be
planted to restore the riparian landscape that once was Laguna
Canyon. A pilot project adjacent to the creek and Laguna Canyon Road
in the Dog Park / Verizon area is in the planning stages, with
initial funding by the Beautification Council.