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2. Robin Hood Forest &
Corrigan Movie Ranch -- now Corriganville Park -- has many
memories for a movie buff -- especially the fans of B westerns and adventure
films -- and it even has something offer fans of Tarzan films. Umfortunately,
the actual movie sets that are still seen it hundreds of old movies are
long gone -- destroyed by disastrous fires and neglect. The park is studded
with interpretive signs, however, that hint of past glories and describe
the natural landforms and vegetation that still survive.
My first visit to Corriganville was a fortuitous event since it coincided
with the one-shot Rhythm and Brews Festival. It offered warm California
sunshine, live rock and blues music, micro-brewery booths offering their
unique brews, interesting people browsing the many booths under the shade
trees, exotic vegetation, spectacular landforms . . . and remaining evidence
of what used to be: familiar and exciting film locations. There were also
photo and model displays of the old movie ranch, as well as demonstrations
and tours led by costumed guides.
This heady mix begot an unforgettable afternoon. I was alone on this
first visit, but Sue-On and I returned two years later to take more photos
to round out this photo tour. Our second visit was not nearly as exciting
as the first since there were no Rock & Brew revellers in attendance.
I had a bit of a hard time conveyng to her the excitement that I felt during
my initial visit.
I approached the current main entrance by strolling through Robin Hood
Forest reading the many interpretive signs along the way.
Coast Live Oak
Its holly-shaped leaves characterize the coast live oak.
This oak tree is referred to as "live" because its leaves stay green year-round
(evergreen). Acorns, the seeds from the oak trees were a staple in the
Chumash diet. They were used to make acorn cakes and gruel.
Many of these trees were damaged in the
fires by the fires that have plagued the area -- most recently in 2003
and 2005. I found this vegetation fascinating since it is quite different
from that native to our home in Manitoba. The park district has also
replanted much of the area with sycamore trees and there is an abundance
of sumac or sugar bush, Rhus ovata, chaparral, yucca, Hesperoyucca whipplei
and wild flowers.
Unlike the coast live oak tree the valley oak tree loses
its leaves in the fall. This oak can live to be hundreds of years old.
Notice the ball-shaped growths called galls on the leaf stems. The galls
form when a gall wasp lays eggs on the stem. Chemicals that the wsp leaves
on the stem cause the valley oak to form gall which surrounds and protects
the wasp eggs during the incubation. The larvae eat their way out of the
gall and emerge as adult wasps.
The Chumash used the willow tree in their everyday
life. They used willow branches to build their homes and to weave utilitarian
baskets for everyday use. The Chumash chewed the willow's bark to relieve
the pain of tooth, muscle and joint aches. Willow bark is very bitter tasting,
but it contains the same pain relieving chemical as our modern day aspirin.
(Please do not taste any of the plant material in Corriganville, as some
may be poisonous.)
The action of tiny insects and fungi add nutrients
to the soil.
Historians claimed to have found remnants of the blue
and white pottery associated with the Chinese railroad workers.
This forest received its name from the movie "Robin
This tree shows a coastal live oak that fell over
in the winter storms of 1995 due to heavy winds.
The elderberry has clusters of blue to black berries with
white flowers, although many of the bushes in this area have been devastated
by fires. The Chumash Indians frequently used the elderberry in their daily
lives. They ate the berries as a tasty source of fruit and made the flowers
into fritters. The Chumash used elderberry stems to make flutes for playing
music and arrows for hunting game.
The term "riparian" refers to the community of plants
and animals that lives along a water source and whose existence depends
upon water being at or near the surface of land. The dragonfly and the
tree frog are good examples of insects and amphibians that depend upon
water for their survival. During hot summer months, a stream can become
a popular and acdtive spot for many animals, especially when the surrounding
chaparral becomes dry.
Wood Rat Nest
The wood rat builds its nest from sticks. Inside this
pile of sticks that you see, the wood rat has built tunnels and chambers
in which it lives. You could consider this pile of sticks as the wood rat's
house with hallways, bedrooms and a kitchen in which to store food. these
nests should not be disturbed, as they are the homes of living creatures
and the nest is used by successive generations. These nocturnal animals
have a diet of oak leaves and stems.
Southern Pacific Tunnel and Mound
This forest walkway runs parallel the Southern Pacific
Railroad line that connects Simi Valley to Chatsworth and
I couldn't resist climbing the separating mound to
get a good look at the famous tunnel which has found its way into numerous
Railroad Tunnel Mound
The Southern Pacific Railroad Company completed the one
and one-half mile railroad tunnel between Chatsworth and Simi Valley in
1904. The rock material removed from the tunnel during construction was
piled up to form the mound in front of you.
The trees on top of the mound date back to 1904.
The Simi Valley train tunnel was constructed by using
blasting powder to break up large sections of the mountain into smaller,
easier to handle pieces of rock. Workers moved the broken up rocks to mounds
like the one posted at Sign 2. Notice the two rocks with holes. Holes like
these were drilled into the surface of the mountain rock in order to provide
a space in which to place the blasting powder.
On To The Main Entrance
What is Camp Rotary?
Camp Rotary is an urban campground created by the Rotary
Club of Simi Sunrise and the Rotary Club of Simi Valley, for local youth
organizations to use for programs, education, recreation, and interaction.
The Rancho Simi Recreation & Park District has designated an area in
Corriganville Park as the home for Camp Rotary. It currently consists of
a covered education/picnic area with BBQs and bathrooms nearby, a tent
camping site and a campfire with amphitheater seating.
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