Oak Park Sunset

Oak Park at Sunset

 

 

Oak Park is located in the Conejo Valley, north from Malibu and Agoura Hills and is a part of Ventura County.

History

Oak Park has had human occupation from about 5500 B.C. to the present day. It lies within a zone including the early Millingstone Horizon and inland Chumash Indians. Indians camped throughout the area as they collected acorns, yucca, and other food. The sites in the area include major villages, smaller camps and several rock shelters.

The location of Oak Park was originally part of Rancho Simi, a Spanish land concession in Alta California given in 1795 to Francisco Javier Pico, a soldier of the Santa Barbara company, and his two brothers, Patricio Pico and Miguel Pico by the Spanish government. Lindero Canyon Road follows the western border (lindero in Spanish) of the land grant.

Oak Park was formed from ranchland owned by Cosmo Stevens and Marian Jordan, stars of the radio show Fibber McGee and Molly. The land was purchased by Metropolitan Development Corporation in the 1960s. Homes were developed starting in the late 1960s. Kanan Road (named after a local family – and actually pronounce “Canon”) was the only access road to the community, from Agoura Hills, California in neighboring Los Angeles County. As such, the community was served by police and firefighters based in the nearest Ventura County city, Thousand Oaks, 10 miles (16 km) away, with L.A. County services responding when able.

Throughout the 20th century, studios used the area to film movies and in particular Westerns. Movies filmed locally include The Red Pony and A Walk in the Sun. Many of the scenes were shot in what was called Sutton Valley in the area driving north on Lindero Canyon Rd. past Rockfield Drive and up towards Kanan Rd., also in the China Flat area up on the ridge. Comedian Bob Hope hope once owned a large part of the land including the China Flat area and around Chesebro and Palo Comado Canyons until just a few years before his death. You can hike or mountain bike up there today. It’s part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy & National Park Service property.

Take a look at this really well edited video compilation of some of the movies that were filmed right here in Oak Park including “Of Mice and Men”, “Little Big Man” and “Back to the Future 3”!

In 1967 Ventura County officials who were concerned about the isolation of the community proposed a land swap with L.A. County, but they were rebuffed. The isolation—coupled with the distance to junior and senior high schools—also drove down the property values, and homeowners found it difficult to sell their properties.

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors created a Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) in 1975 to represent the community to County agencies. The MAC persuaded the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to trim Metropolitan Development Corp.’s initial development plan from a population of 26,000. Today there are about 15,000 residents. All available land within Oak Park has now been developed, with the remaining vacant land owned by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District.

The community was initially served by the Simi Valley Unified School District, with the nearest post-elementary schools being Sinaloa Junior High (about 20 miles away) and Royal High (about 22 miles away). Since the Simi Valley Unified School District had no plans to build post-elementary schools in Oak Park, the residents seceded and formed Oak Park Unified School District in June 1977. Medea Creek Middle School started at the current location of the school district in 1980 using portable classrooms. The campus was affectionately called “Bungalow Hill” by students. The middle school was grades 6 – 8 with 6th graders spending morning hours at Brookside Elementary and afternoons at the middle school. The following year when Oak Park High School opened for classes, Medea Creek Middle School shared the campus. Oak Park High School’s class of 1983 was the first graduating class. They were the maiden class; they were upperclassmen each year 9th through 12th grade.

In 1999 the United States Postal Service assigned Oak Park its own ZIP code, 91377. Oak Park previously shared the ZIP code 91301 with its neighboring town of Agoura Hills.

Geography

Oak Park is bordered by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area on the north and east and Rancho Simi Open Space on the south. It sits within valleys in the Simi Hills capped by Simi Peak which borders the community to the north. The elevation in Oak Park varies from 960 to 2,157 feet above sea level. (Does not include Simi Peak at 2,450 ft)

The CDP has a total area of 5.29 square miles. All of the area is land and none of it is covered by water. However, there are many small creeks in the area. The largest of these creeks are Medea Creek and Lindero Creek, which are tributaries of Malibu Creek, the only waterway that pierces the Santa Monica Mountains. The Malibu Creek watershed covers 105 square miles and contains 225 stream segments.

Demographics
2010
The 2010 United States Census reported that Oak Park had a population of 14,266. The population density was 2,610.6 people per square mile.

There were 5,297 housing units at an average density of 1,001.2 per square mile, of which 3,842 (74.5%) were owner-occupied, and 1,316 (25.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 3.5%. 10,706 people (77.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 3,104 people (22.5%) lived in rental housing units.

Education

Among residents age 25 or greater, 11% have no education beyond a high school diploma, 22% have some college education without earning a degree, 10% have an associate degree, 35% have a bachelor degree, and 18% have advanced degrees.

The community is served by the Oak Park Unified School District (OPUSD), which has three elementary schools (K-5), a middle school (6-8), Oak Park High School (9-12), and Oak View High School (an alternative high school for ages 16 and above).

Oak Park High School offers baseball, boys and girls basketball, cheer, Cross Country, dance, football, golf, lacrosse, boys and girls soccer, softball, boys and girls tennis, track and field, and boys and girls volleyball. Oak Park is in the Tri-Valley and Frontier League depending on the sport.

Flora and Fauna

85 species of birds have been observed with breeding activity of 32-64 probable. 12 species of raptors were observed. Nesting of 7 was confirmed including American kestrel, barn owl, screech owl, red-shouldered hawk. The turkey vulture and the prairie falcon breed on adjacent slopes. Cooper’s hawk and northern harrier may nest in Oak Park. Golden eagles lack suitable nesting habitats and probably live in nearby areas. Two non-raptor birds are classified as sensitive including coastal black-tailed gnatcatcher. Possibly less than 1600 pairs of this bird remain alive. The second is grasshopper sparrow.

5 species of reptiles were observed including the western fence lizard and western rattlesnake and more may exist.

Three species of amphibians were observed in Oak Park: western toad, Pacific treefrog, and bullfrog. 8 other amphibians occur in this area and may be present.

35 mammals may be present including bobcat, coyote, and desert cottontail.

The Oak Park area and the Simi Hills are part of a wildlife corridor that link the San Gabriel Mountains (Los Padre National Forest) and Santa Susana Mountains to the Santa Monica Mountains. This is a critical path between mountain ranges where animals can find others of the same species for mating.

Oak Park ecosystems include several within the chaparral. Southern California grassland has largely disappeared from the site by overgrazing and housing.

The chaparral and grassland are frequently altered by fires started by natural causes and humans. Both Indians and ranchers have altered the local landscape through fire and grazing. Oak Park’s last large uncontrolled fire was on October 8, 1982.

Recreation

Open space and parks in Oak Park are managed by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District.

Open Space
Rock Ridge Open Space
Sunrise Meadows Open Space
Wistful Vista Open Space

Parks
Chaparral Park
Deerhill Park
Eagle View Park
Indian Springs Park
Mae Boyar Park
Medea Creek Park Trail
Oak Canyon Community Park
Oak Park Community Garden
Oak Park Community Center and Gardens
Valley View Park

Trails
Canyon Cove Trail (to Wistful Vista Ridge)
China Flat aka Dead Cow / Simi Peak
Golden Eagle Trail aka Rock Ridge Trail West
Medea Creek Trail
Oak Canyon Community Park Nature Trail
Palo Camado Canyon / Doubletree Trailhead
Sandstone Hills Trail
Suicide aka Rock Ridge Trail East
Sunrise Meadow Trails – Creekside and Ridge
Wistful Vista Trail

Oak Park borders the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Trails are used for hiking, running, climbing, and mountain biking.

Jeff Haring CRB, GRI  Realtor- Sales & Property Management
Ventura County Real Estate

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