This battle has been brewing for decades, but it’s finally coming to an end.
The Sunset Ranch Hollywood Stables, backed by residents who live along Beachwood Drive and surrounding neighborhoods, sued the city to put an end to the daily flow of thousands of visitors flocking to the area to access a trail that leads to the world famous HOLLYWOOD sign.
On April 18, 2017, one of the most popular access points to the famed sign will be gated shut and visitors will have to find alternate, more difficult, some say less photo-friendly routes to the sign.
I hiked up Beachwood Drive today and the conflict between people who live in the neighborhood and the tourists was very much in evidence. Residents came out of their homes to scream at the interlopers not to park their vehicles in certain areas of the street. The police was called. Security guards tried to discourage people from using certain streets and trails. Angry words were exchanged. And April 18 can’t come too soon for the residents.
It was my first foray to the Hollywood sign, even though I had been to Los Angeles many times. It’s quite a steep hike to get up there, especially for the not-so-physically fit. Supposedly the Beachwood Drive access to the sign is the easiest. Then, I shudder to think of the level of difficulty of the other treks. The masses will soon find out.
There’s a gate in place that will be locked to cut off access to the area. Which led me to openly wonder as I broadcast the sign live on Periscope, what is up with the world suddenly wanting to build walls, put up fences, keep people out? Whatever happened to the world that was about building bridges? Maybe it’s just a sign of the times we live in.
And yet, during my trek up to the Hollywood sign, I met and saw people who were quick to want to connect with strangers, who showed themselves friendly, who with immediate ease exchanged social media contact. It is a sign of the times we live in, a world in which some are about peace and love and some are about hate, especially hating people they know little or nothing about.
Speaking of love. Right there in the shadow of the sign, I stumbled upon a beautiful moment. Andrew of U.S.A. was on one knee proposing to his girlfriend Manon of France.
In this world where there is so much hate, we have to remind ourselves that there’s far more love than hate. The haters often get the ink. Nobody is going to write in tomorrow’s newspaper that Andrew proposed to Manon on that hilltop. And yet, had that conflict between the neighbors and the visitors escalated, it would have been all over the news.
So be it. As Earth, Wind and Fire said in song, “that’s the way of the world…”
So then, once that gate locks out the rest of the world, expect some very disappointed folks who will hike up that hill only to be turned away. In Los Angeles’ heat, that’s no fun. It’s one way to ruin part of all of your holiday. So remember people, if you are reading this on or after April 18, 2017, and intend to go see the Hollywood sign via Beachwood Drive, DON’T! Try instead the Canyon Lake Drive access, while city officials ponder how to provide better access to the sign without adversely affecting wildlife (watch out for those mountain lions and rattlesnakes) and neighborhood residents.
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