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Rangers On Duty

by William McGillis The Los Angeles Urban Rangers believe that the cure is found in the disease. And if a concrete, dehumanizing wasteland is the fever, the L.A. Urban Rangers point the way to its green, revivifying remedy. Sporting Stetsons and “appropriating the figure of the stereotypic park ranger,” the Rangers offer guided hikes, interactive environmental educational programs, and a variety of performance art-cum-naturalist extravaganzas in Los Angeles and beyond. The Rangers describe themselves as “L.A.-based geographers, environmental and art historians, artists, curators, architects, and others - who aim, with both wit and a healthy dose of sincerity, to facilitate creative, critical, head-on, oblique, and crisscrossed investigations into our sprawling metropolis and its various ecologies.” The Rangers earned serious national press for their Malibu Beaches Project, which began in 2007 and includes onsite safaris and an online guide designed to help people gain access to miles of Malibu Beaches that are public but often difficult to find or use. They have also published a Field Guide to the American Road Trip, “intended to facilitate sharpened observational skills for reading 21st century roadside geographies, particularly in light of the ever-increasing standardization of the American landscape.” They sponsored “Thoreau Goes to Los Angeles,” a campfire talk focusing on nature writing in L.A., and have participated in Fritz Haeg's Sundown Schoolhouse, “a geodesic home-based educational environment with an activist mission.” The L.A. Rangers offer a self-guided hiking tour of the L.A. County Fair and presentations such as “Everyday Wastelands and Other Attractions,” a close look at “ugly, mundane, and wasted landscapes.” Most people don't think about nature when they think about Los Angeles or other large metropolitan areas but the Rangers hope to change that. They remind us that even in the heart of the beast, the spirits of earth, air, fire, water, and imagination dance and cry out for attention and celebration. For more information on what the Rangers do and how you can get involved, visit their website. Images Courtesy of The Los Angeles Urban Rangers and Erik Johnson 1-11-08 William McGillis's blog

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All beaches in California are public below the mean high tide line.

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