Neighborhood oasis gets a facelift

A local treasure is getting a facelift.

For two weeks in early December, Chollas Lake was closed to the public while City crews worked, spreading truck loads of gravel. The trail around the lake is a point-eight mile loop, popular among visitors, walkers and nature lovers. Crews were taking steps to prevent erosion during the coming El Niño rains.

“We’re covering the trail around the lake with road base, or gravel, to create a better walking environment for our users,” said Brian Anthony of the City’s Park and Recreation Department.

Another task? Removing dead trees; some of which date back to the early days of the park space in 1905.

“As you can see, we are in a wonderful old-growth Eucalyptus grove around the lake. It’s a wonderful place to walk; it’s shady,” said Anthony. “But unfortunately the tress do have a life span.”

He estimates that six fully grown trees have fallen in the past year, causing a potential danger to visitors.

It’s not just City staff hard at work. Community volunteers frequently help with maintenance across the 145 acres of Chollas Lake Park. The lake is stocked with bass, trout, and catfish, making it a popular spot for kids who want to learn how to fish. The fishing age is 15 years old and younger. Plans are also underway to replace or repair playground equipment and even resurrect a once-popular day camp.

Park Rangers describe the lake as an oasis within the bustling residential community of Oak Park.

“[Here] you’re able to enjoy the nature, the environment, see the birds,” said Park Ranger Ramon Duenas.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, the public was invited to a holiday celebration for the re-opening of Chollas Lake.

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