Topanga New Times July 3, 2020

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb at an alarming rate in Los Angeles County. Face coverings are now mandatory statewide, and social distancing remains critically important to slow the spread of the virus.  

Time-honored 4th of July traditions like parades, fireworks and the Theatricum Botanicum’s much-loved annual picnic are on hold. Even the beach is off limits this year. On June 29, Los Angeles County announced that all beaches, piers, bike paths, access points will be closed to the public from July 3-6. This is the time for backyard family celebrations, and stargazing instead of fireworks (see our Discover section feature on page 6).

Malibu Search and Rescue reported the tragic death of a 30-year-old man in Topanga State Park on June 23. The victim was described as having passed away while hiking in high heat. Malibu SAR and the Los Angeles County Fire Department remind all hikers to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, bring plenty of water, and avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. 

The Topanga Library remains closed, but Los Angeles County Library patrons can take advantage of a new curbside pickup program beginning July 6. Books, DVDs and other library materials can be ordered online, and picked up contact-free in front of the library. This service is also being offered at the Agoura Hills and Malibu branches of the library. For a full list of instructions and locations visit https://lacountylibrary.org/express-service. Materials can be returned at the Topanga Library’s drop box. Library patrons have until July 15 to return materials checked out before the coronavirus closures without fines.

New data from UC Davis’ ongoing roadkill study indicates a substantial drop in the number of wild animals killed by road strikes during the period when most Americans were sheltering at home. The study includes findings from Maine, Idaho and California, including monitoring sites in the Santa Monica Mountains. The researchers found that wildlife-vehicle strike fatalities declined an impressive 21-56 percent from early March to mid-April. The full report is available on the UC Davis Road Ecology Center website: https://roadecology.ucdavis.edu

Senator Henry Stern has authored and introduced a new bill—SB 474—that would prohibit the creation or approval of a new development in a very high fire hazard severity zone (like Topanga and much of the Santa Monica Mountains) or a state responsibility area. The goal is to reduce fire risk and protect the state’s most precious wildlife habitat from urban sprawl and density.  Read it in full here https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

Happy 4th of July, Topanga! 

Stay safe, be well!