Fears of "Honda-Dena" at Arroyo Seco Meeting

Keeping the Arroyo Seco ‘natural’

Published : Thursday, April 12, 2018 | 5:43 AM


[Updated]  As the leadership of the Arroyo Seco Foundation and the Arroyo Advisory Group detailed their ongoing plans for restoring and maintaining the Arroyo Seco and Hahamongna, Foundation members voiced their concerns about the specter of over-commercialization of the local habitat in and around the Rose Bowl.

The concerns were voiced during a discussion facilitated by Pasadena activist Christle Balvin during the quarterly meeting of the Arroyo Seco Foundation at Pasadena Public Library Wednesday evening.

Arroyo Seco Foundation Chair Tom Seifert detailed the current plans of the “One Arroyo” project, which includes a new trail demo project, a master plan for tree preservation, rehabilitation of former Forest Service buildings, a Native American recognition plan, and a new “Volunteers of the Arroyo” group.

Arroyo Advisory Group co-chair Bill Bogaard described the Arroyo end-to-end trail project as the “one single project that will change the course of the area’s history over many years.”

Bogaard also said that the Advisory Group will soon embark on a fundraising feasibility study to begin raising money for the various planned projects. According to Bogaard, two planned trail projects will cost a total of over $6 million.

“There are limitations, of course,” said Bogaard, “but there are also possibilities. What do we value?”

Reaction from the dozens of Arroyo Seco Foundation members seemed clear—no commercialization of the Arroyo Seco.

One member, pointing out the constant struggle between recreational uses of the Arroyo and the increasing number of events in the Arroyo, called the project “Honda-Dena.”

Other members responded to the Foundation’s call for maintenance of several areas, and one told the group, “Don’t add anything to the Arroyo that requires maintenance. No additional buildings.”

One resident said, looking at the opening photo of the One Arroyo project, which featured rock-lined walkways, “That is exactly what we don’t want. That photo is not the Arroyo.”

Pasadena Heritage Executive Director Sue Mossman offered that her group was in favor of the trail projects and the work of the Arroyo Advisory Group.

Self-described “Transportation cyclist” and Altadena Town Council member Dorothy Wong suggested the construction of a multi-use bicycle trail in the lower Arroyo, so that riders don’t have to cope with local traffic.

For Arroyo Seco Foundation Managing Director Tim Brick, however, work in the Arroyo is all about stream revitalization. As he pointed out, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been studying the removal of the concrete flood channels for more than 15 years. The federal agency recently committed more than $1 billion toward the goal of restoring the Los Angeles River and is now developing similar plans to restore the natural banks of the Arroyo from Pasadena to the confluence of the Los Angeles River just north of Downtown LA.

Chair Seifert recognized the concerns of the Foundation membership and noted the mission of maintaining the natural surroundings of the Arroyo, yet said, following the meeting, “There is ‘leaving things alone,’ and there is leaving things alone.”

“If there is a dangerous brush that is creating a hazard, for example, that needs to be removed,” he pointed out.

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