Bigger Cemetery, Fewer Griffith Park Critters?



The final resting place for nearly 200,000 humans is being weighed against the quality of life for urban critters in Griffith Park, probably the most urban “wild” park in the United States.

Because the dead keep coming, Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills announced a new plan to create 200,000 new interment spaces at the nearly overflowing cemetery that butts up against the 4210-acre Griffith Park. More burial plots – above and below ground – would mean the removal of 835 oak, sycamore and walnut trees and some rare plants across 18 acres of land. Environmental groups are not happy. 

According to the LA Times:

The proposal, however, has ruffled the feathers of groups including the Friends of Griffith Park, the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council, the Sierra Club, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Game. The groups are concerned that it could have a disastrous impact on the area’s woodlands, wildlife corridors and creatures ranging from legless lizards to western mastiff bats.

The new facility would cost tens of millions of dollars…

Forest Lawn reps say that the proposal would only affect about 2 percent of the Griffith Park habitat area and that for the last 20 years  the organization has contributed 200 acres of wildlands to the park. In addition, Forest Lawn says that they plan to replace each felled trees with as many as 15 new trees which will be planted across cemetery grounds and in select areas of the Santa Monica Mountains.

So what creatures call Griffith Park home? Winding through the cemetery and emptying into Los Angeles River, the Sennett Creek area is habitat for toads, tree frogs and garter snakes, and lush cover for deer, foxes and bobcats (yes, bobcats).

The proposal is up for approval by the L.A. City Council later this year. Also on deck is an alternative proposal which outlines the development of only 103 acres and the removal of 399 trees.