Blog: Plant Your Dream!
by YourEnchantedGardener

Janice Hinkston Commentary from Leslie Goldman

Janice Hinkston Commentary from Leslie Goldman

Date:   10/12/2010 10:01:40 PM   ( 13 y ) ... viewed 43301 times




October 12, 2010
10:59 pm


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Rachel Carson would have been proud of Janice Hinkston. The elementary school teacher and founder of the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association never wrote an iconic '60s bestseller like Silent Spring, but she had the drive to speak out to protect the West Valley's natural resources that are a part of the larger environment that Carson, the famous marine biologist and writer, brought the nation's attention to decades ago.

A Los Angeles native, Hinkston was born in 1927 and attended Hollywood High School, followed by college in Los Angeles. While teaching at Chatsworth Park Elementary School, Hinkston became more aware of the fragility of the environment and its defenselessness against modern development and modern-day living. Moved to action, Hinkston used her persuasive skills to found the Santa Susana Mountain Park Association, whose members' mission is "to protect, preserve, restore and enhance the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains in Chatsworth." That area includes segments of the historic Overland Stagecoach route, a trail that connects the San Fernando and Simi valleys. It is listed as a Los Angeles City Historical Cultural Monument, as well as being listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Past President of the Association Glenn Bailey met Hinkston when he was 17 and said she was passionate about preserving the history and environmental integrity of the hills surrounding Chatsworth. "She also was encouraging the involvement of everyone," he said, "including someone who had little experience with advocacy."

Hinkston's passion – and gumption – took her further, even leading her to contact then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1971 about Assembly Bill 2470, which proposed a feasibility study for the creation of a Santa Susana state park. Like any good politician, Reagan told Hinkston in a letter that he would withhold comment until the bill had gone through both houses of the Legislature and reached his desk. But he assured her, "Your viewpoint will be most helpful in reaching this decision."

People will never know how much sway Hinkston's opinion actually held with Reagan. But it obviously had some influence with the California State Park and Recreation Commission because in 1998 it unanimously voted to designate the area as a state park, thereby officially creating the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park. "I'm just ecstatic," Hinkston then told The Los Angeles Times, upon hearing the news. "It's a wonderful feeling."

One would think so, considering that it took 28 years for the passing of that designation. If Hinkston was ever daunted by the length of time the association's work was taking, she didn't show it, said Bailey, except for an oft-heard comment: "'Grrr' is what she frequently said when the news was not encouraging or circumstances frustrating," he said.

Hinkston died at the age of 83 on Sept. 27 from a stroke from which she suffered earlier this year. Her legacy continues in "Over the Pass, Into the Past," a commemorative history book to which Hinkston contributed much of the content. She is survived by her daughter Julie Lotto and two grandchildren and predeceased by her former husband, Gene Hinkston. A memorial service will be held for her next spring in the state park she helped form and preserve.

As fitting as the name was to describe a Spring unable to protect itself from pollution because it was "silent," Janice Hinkston was able to carry on the message of Carson's work precisely because she wasn't.

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http://curezone.com/upload/Blogs/Your_Enchanted_Gardener/Janice_Hinkston.jpg


http://chatsworth.patch.com/articles/janice-hinkston-outspoken-champion-of-th...


http://www.meetup.com/localhikers/messages/boards/thread/9862201


I am not sure.
I may have taken this picture of Janice.
The picture is the view from above Devil's Slide.
You could reach here via a vehicle.
I remember one day going to this spot with Janice.
She always would ask me to take photos.

She loved the rocks so much.
They were her passion.
I helped her when she needed someone to
write down what she had to say,
and come up with other words for her.

I edited the book, "Over the Pass. Into The Past."

More later.


COMMENT POSTED

I am touched by this story. I may have taken the photo of Janice, the one with her hand outstretched. The shot I believe was taken above the area known as the Devil's Slide. The land was the first that became protected. It was destined for development. Janice was a best friend of mine during those days. I was the editor of the commemorative book, as far as I remember. I did write two of the articles about the Stagecoach history and the De La Osa Family. The Stagecoach history was original research pieced together from research. I went so far as to get in touch with relatives who knew the land where there were relics in Chatsworth Park South. The other photo
of Janice with little Julie, her daughter was taken on the side of a Wells Fargo Stagecoach that was a loan for a Country Parade and picnic I believe. There are many more things I could share. Truly a wonderful friend who left a legacy. She loved the rocks very much. I know she is looking out for them now and all environmentalists who continue the cause. I remember her receiving that letter from Ronald Reagan. She was a great speaker but did not feel she was a good writer. I am glad I could help her a bit with her writing. The statecoach trail research began while I was a senior
in journalism at Cal State Northridge. Janice sent me #1 of the book years later. We also had a T shirt that I kept for many years. Lots more to tell. Leslie Goldman, Plant Your Dream Blog

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