Even those Angelenos who like the promiscuous sprouting of non-native Mexican fan palms across the urban terrain will have to agree these are misplaced. These weeds are growing among wild oak trees and rugged sandstone rocks in the Simi Hills, within the grounds of the Santa Susana Field Lab. The property is covered in invasive grasses and mustard plants, and on a recent visit I even saw some spires that looked from a distance like juniper or Italian cypress. But it's the palms that made me gag a little. An environmental specialist at the federal cleanup site (for contamination from rocket fuel and nuclear testing, long discontinued) joked that they tried to get the EPA to also pay for the removal of palm trees.
If, as proposed, the former industrial lab that perfected the rockets that carried men to the moon is opened to hiking, I think it will become a popular destination. Due in part to sights like this — see the face in the rocks?
Previously on LA Observed:
Wrong way to hype an investigative story
Rocketdyne has yet another new owner
Radioactive chemical levels still high at Santa Susana *
Winter solstice cave pictograph at Burro Flats
The Valley's nuclear past