Regrettably, Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) has closed Paradise Falls until further notice. Wildwood Park was opened for weekend use two weeks ago with high hopes that visitors would respect the park and its natural resources. While some did, record crowds broke down the sense of shared responsibility that makes safe park management and protection of the environment feasible.
Over the past two weeks, Paradise Falls attracted unprecedented crowds that behaved differently than they have in the past. While Paradise Falls has traditionally been a simple scenic stop on a hike through the park, recent crowds arrived by the hundreds with plans to spend hours at this sensitive spot. This resulted in environmental impacts to the land that are not sustainable.
Each day last weekend, COSCA rangers collected multiple truckloads of trash at the Paradise Falls area. While trash cans are available, many simply left it for COSCA staff to clean up, and trash accumulated faster than it could be removed. Then there were problems with human waste and sanitation as many used areas along the creek both upstream and downstream as a toilet, and wetland vegetation was trampled.
The closure of Paradise Falls will begin on Friday, May 29 and continue until further notice. COSCA has worked diligently to encourage visitors to be respectful of the environment and fellow visitors, and to obey posted rules, but many have not answered these calls. Representatives from the Thousand Oaks Police Department will be on-site at the Falls and issue citations for anyone entering the posted closure area.
COSCA’s other trails will remain open. Local users are requested to find alternative destinations for now and let Paradise Falls recover. For those planning trips from other communities, please be advised there will be no access to Paradise Falls.