We have some exciting but bittersweet news for everyone. Our colleague, David McDonald, is retiring this coming week! I had the chance to speak with him recently and ask him his opinions about his work and the Antelope Valley. Some of what he said is below.
David, what did you think of the Antelope Valley?
David: At one point when I was surveying the area, I started in the north west corner near the 5 and 138 and spent all day trying to reach as many communities as I could. I spent the whole day and couldn’t get through them all.
I couldn’t cover the whole thing, because it’s sooo big. It’s 1800 square miles in area. It’s country and quiet and beautiful. It’s varied and has flora and fauna. With charming little towns sprinkled throughout.
I understand why people want to live in the AV. It’s removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, and you get a country life with the conveniences of the city nearby.
Was there anything that surprised you about it?
David: The biggest surprise was the Lake Los Angeles Buttes. They were beautiful and I didn’t believe it until I saw it when we visited. And I loved Green Valley and how people live among the oak trees there. It was so impressive. Seeing that community as we came over the hill was a delightful surprise.
There are a lot of challenges with urbanization and urban encroachment. I understand why they want to preserve their way of life. I loved getting a taste of it when we went out to visit.
Writing (for) this blog made me appreciate the beauty and wonder of the AV. There are poppy fields and Devil’s punchbowl. I loved the Joshua Trees too – they are very unique and should be protected.
What is the first thing you going to do when you retire?
David: Aside from my visits to Cambria, I want to explore more things in the AV after I retire. I wanted to go see the poppy fields this spring when they are in bloom. I’m sure they will be amazing this year due to the rains, and I can’t wait.
What do you want to tell some of the people you worked with?
David: I will miss them. I really will miss them. The people I have worked with are strong advocates for their community, and that is so admirable to me, because they don’t have to do it. They are all volunteers.
They were pretty patient with us, the County is large and not always easy to deal with, but I think what gave me confidence in this process and our work was that we all want what is best for the AV. I know I did.