Park Abuse

Note: This page was written prior to new park plans which are currently being implemented.

Here is a collection of pictures showing some of the abuse at the park.

Sadly, much of the worst of it, is has been at the hands of the homeless. They have made the once very popular willow forest an off-limits; blacklisted site that no one, even the police, want to go to; citizens have been threatened; everything from drugs to prostitution has occurred; and they started fires that burned the willow forest.

The greatest damage is not visible, and is in the form of human waste and the compaction of the riparian forest floor, which can single-handedly kill it.

A warning to those who may be squeamish ... this is not a pretty page.

Some legacy for the woods that were the original "Palos Verdes!"

Woods that go back hundreds of years. A "bosque" that Sepulveda, Dominguez and Machado knew well. The largest piece of coastal riparian forest left in coastal L.A., first needlessly cut in half by Public Works, whilst others would argue the homeless' rights to destroy it. They don't care about state and federal laws protecting wildlife or habitats. Neither do they care that tax paying citizens have spent millions on the place to be able to use it, and can't.

Most of the homeless have been offered shelter and refused. They certainly have been offered toilets and trash cans, both present on site, but which often remained essentially unused by them.

The most common piece of trash on the forest floor are empty 6 and 12-pack foil beer cartons. The feces washes into the lake and watershed raising coliform counts.

Obviously, it's OK for someone to illegally enter the country, not have paid taxes (pitched in to preserve this very habitat), to cause irreparable damage to our environment (a minute piece the public has tried to save), and trash our precious natural resources.

For the park's first twenty years, it had consistent management, in the name of Roger Williams, of the City of Los Angeles Recreation & Parks Dept., a great friend of the park.

Since his departure, there has been new park management every two years. Amongst the worst forms of abuse is the ever changing "merry-go-round of management," which is most unfortunatly based on political whims of the public and of the elected officials.

In some cases, we've had mayors and council people who knew about and cared about the park, who lost office while other council people and mayors who didn't know or care about the park were re-elected. Laws that exist are not enforced. Keeping people from living in the park is simple.


This is the will of the park and the people. This needs to be enforced. To not do so is to abuse the park and the public regardless of who is in office.

The "special interest group" (homeless people who once lived in the park) took control of the willow forest for nearly the last decade, conducted activities that precluded others' usage of the sections of the park they had taken over. Be it by defecation, threatening behavior or looks, trash, unleashed pets, or unruly presence, no one else could use "their" areas.

Their activities even displaced the once common native birds that used to nest there.

Besides the homeless in the north end of the park, there have also been other problems. Illegal dumping, including toxic chemicals dumped into storm drains which run into the lake, and more blatant dumping of "hard" trash, such as that shown below, with batteries, anti-freeze, oil and transmission fluid leaking into the ground!

Sometimes local businesses see the site as a free dump. Illegal pet dumping has occurred rampantly as well. Everything from non-native snakes, to turtles, cats and dogs, even guinea pigs (which the hawks liked), ducks, and many other pest species are put in the park by idiots who have no business owning them in the first place! If they really cared about the animals, they would never dump them illegally at a park. These animals either get killed, or kill native animals at the park.

Sometimes park management does the damage. Poor execution of work does far more damage than need be, which is all too often the case. Removing tules for instance can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on HOW IT IS DONE.

(Weapon of mass destruction)

The Wilmington Drain cut at the North-end Willows

Public Works' hydrologists figured removing the 50-100 year old climax willow riparian forest would make the water turn that way. Now increased undergrowth impedes water flow.

This park needs the homeless to be ejected immediately, with policing, fencing, or both, to protect the habitat while it is rehabilitated and restored.

Then, a floating boardwalk should be put in so our youth in science classes can see and experience a forest, and a marsh with their own two eyes, safely.

This park should be a place where people can walk their dogs, birdwatch, or "naturewalk" without fear of feces and felons, and where school bus loads of children can see what a healthy riparian forest is!

Some other problems facing the ecosystem of the park ....

The following animals are non-native, introduced pests, which pose severe threats to the native wildlife.

Yeah, the turtles are cute, and so are bullfrogs, but they have no place in our natural local ecosystems.

Red-eared Slider
A 50% decrease in Ruddy Duck nesting success at a pond in England where Sliders invaded

Natrix sps. Water Snake Eats bird eggs, mosquito fish and young larger fish Young eat ode (dragon & damsel) larvae

Young Water Snake - Photo by Jess Morton

Killer Bullfrog Eats: Everything!  (especially other amphibians)

Eastern Fox Squirrel
Eats: Bird eggs and nestlings!
Tree Squirrels are not native to the area. Note the "fox" colored underparts. Climbs trees.

Our native squirrel is a ground squirrel like the one shown here:

Beechei Ground Squirrel
Photo by Jess Morton

Here's one way we can all stop this type of abuse ...