Helping to Preserve, Promote & Protect Open Space
Conejo Valley’s natural beauty and ample open space include 151 miles of multi-use trails and thousands of acres where native plants and animals thrive. With about a third of the Conejo Valley designated as permanent open space, owned and managed by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), the nonprofit Conejo Open Space Foundation plays a vital role in ensuring that the trails, canyons and ridgelines are preserved for future generations.
“The Foundation has worked tirelessly to increase community awareness and enhance our trails and natural lands. The open space belongs to everyone, and we want everyone to enjoy and care for it,” says COSF President, Elayne Haggan, who helped establish the organization in 1995. With a mission to raise funds to promote and maintain area open space and multi-use trails and educate citizens—especially children—about their roles as custodians and protectors of open space and the environment, the Foundation partners with local organizations and volunteers to support the COSCA open space system.
Community outreach, distributing trail maps and information, trail maintenance, habitat restoration and trail patrol are some of the programs volunteers contribute nearly 5,000 hours to each year.
“I like the fact that we have an important role in keeping these programs going,” says Foundation Vice President, Craig Percy, who also leads monthly open space appreciation hikes. Percy notes that the Foundation’s members share a contagious energy and enthusiasm: “Everybody cares passionately about open space.”
The Foundation is supported through annual memberships, donations and grants, and board members donate their time and receive no monetary compensation for their services.
Each year, COSF supports the Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee (COSTAC) in sharing their love of the great outdoors with students during Trails Education Days, which has served almost 40,000 CVUSD students since 1992. The event involves some 80 volunteers, along with COSCA and NPS Park Rangers contributing countless hours to educate youth about the environment and their role in protecting it. Held April 23-27 this year, the event features volunteer-led nature hikes and presentations about indigenous animal species, ranger careers and trail safety and courtesy. Grants from Southern California Edison and the City of Thousand Oaks also help fund the program.
Additional efforts include fundraising for projects like the bridge crossing in Hill Canyon, bike bells and resource management. The Foundation is currently raising funds to help support the recently approved Conejo Canyons Bridge, which will provide safe and easy access between Wildwood Park and the Conejo Canyons Open Space.
The Foundation is also promoting the 2018 Conejo Open Space Challenge through May 31. Benefiting COSCA, the fundraiser invites everyone to experience 10 special trails, take pictures and (possibly) win prizes.
To volunteer, donate and learn more about the Foundation, visit COSF.org.