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Foundation for the Preservation of

the Santa Susana Mountains

Devil's Slide Illustration by William Razanski 1986

Preserving and protecting the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills

of Southern California

 photo: T. Takata

SSMPA's mission is to preserve and protect the Simi Hills, Santa Susana Mountains, and regional open space.

We preserve and protect habitats for plants and animals native to our area, preserve unique geological formations and sites of ethnological, archaeological, and historic interest, particularly in the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains of southern California. We also seek to provide passive recreational and environmental education opportunities; support the acquisition of new public parks, open space, and conservation easements; expand existing natural parks; and participate in planning of park infrastructure and programs.

SSMPA has been in existence for more than 45 years, since 1970. We have worked to protect, preserve, restore and enhance the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains in Chatsworth, California. This beautiful area is rich in natural and cultural history. These hills, ridges and canyons contain wildlife corridors that serve as "land bridges" between the nearby Santa Monica Mountains, Los Padres National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest. If these vital wildlife habitat bridges are lost, the animals, birds and native plants living in these area will disappear from the Earth forever. SSMPA members and members of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Santa Susana Mountains (FPSSM) labored and lobbied for 29 years to bring about the establishment of the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park.

Awards and Recognition:

John Luker:
CA State Parks Medallion of Achievement 2011
SFV Audubon Society Annual Conservation Award 2011
Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council “Citizen of the Year” 2011
Teena Takata:
CA Poppy Award 2011
Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council “Citizen of the Year” 2014
Warren Stone:
Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council “Community Service Award” 2011, 2017

Bob Dager:

          Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce Legends & Heroes 2012

          Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council “Citizen of the Year” 2013

Carla Bollinger:

           Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council "Community Service Award" 2014

Tom Nachtrab:

            Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council "Community Service Award" 2014

Donna Nachtrab:

            Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council "Community Service Award" 2015

Wendi Gladstone: 

            Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council "Community Service Award" 2016

Sharon Shingai:

            Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council "Community Service Award" 2016, 2018

Vanessa Watters:

              Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council “Community Service Award” 2017


Board Members are elected in the Spring.  We are looking for a few good people who want to help protect and preserve the Santa Susana Mountains-Simi Hills, or have special skills and interest, or just want to serve a great cause.   Let one of the board members know you want to know more about being a board member or a volunteer.  See us at our community meeting or write:


Santa Susana Mountain Park Association Presidents




Janice Hinkston


Zelma Skillman


Janice Hinkston


Pearl Turbush


Janice Hinkston


Cynthia Fichtner (acting 1983-84)


Glenn Bailey


Bill Scott


Doug Wobser


Bill Scott


John Otter


Daniel Cooper


Nancy Razanski


Zelma (Skillman) Van


Zelma Van/Dorian Keyser (acting)/Barbara Coffman


Glenn Bailey


Doreen Rusen/Janice Hinkston (Co-Presidents)


Doreen Rusen


Jeff Johnston


Judy Garris


Jan Miller


Jack Unger


Teena Takata 



Tom Nachtrab

Wendi Gladstone

*First election held November 20, 1970 


Santa Susana Mountain Park Association (SSMPA) was founded by Janice Hinkston.  She began her crusade to save open space after seeing hundreds of ancient oaks lying severed on the ground on the north side along Valley Circle Blvd.  She recognized the need to preserve the Chatsworth Reservoir (now the Chatsworth Nature Preserve) and to protect the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills.   Working with SSMPA members, other conservation organizations and community leaders they decided to create a park in the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills.  SSMPA did community outreach, fundraising, and made the first purchase of land, which set in motion the commitment for CA State Park to invest in parkland.  It took Hinkston, SSMPA Board Members, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Santa Susana Mountains (FPSSM), a 501(c)(3) set up in 1974 to accept large donations, and many other community members 28 years to achieve their vision when the 670 acre Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park (SSPSHP) became a state historic park in 1998.

The SSPSHP has significant cultural and historic sites: Stagecoach Trail/Devil’s Slide, evidence of Native American habitation, Bannon rock quarry, man-built railroad tunnels, Old Santa Susana Pass Trail/Road, and sandstone outcroppings that were the natural backdrops for the filming of thousands of Western “Oaters” films.   The region is abundant in wildlife and rich in native plants including the rare and/or endangered Braunton’s milk-vetch, Santa Susana Tarplant and SFV Spineflower found in the rocky chaparral of the Santa Susana Mountains-Simi Hills. 

Sacramento’s threat in Spring, 2009, to close Santa Susana Pass SHP and Los Encinos SHP, and other California State Parks, led SSMPA to work together with Los Encinos SHP Rangers to build a Volunteer Program.  In 2011, the Foundation was reenergized to work with State Parks to move the volunteer/management responsibility of the SSPSHP from SSMPA to the Foundation.  The Foundation filed paperwork to convert the volunteer program to a State Co-operating Agency as required for a 501(c)(3).  SSMPA as a 501(c)(4) non-profit relies on membership dues and donations (non-tax deductible) and is the advocacy support for SSPSHP. Overview of SSMPA achievements: Protecting open space:  Santa Susana Mountains:  Advocating for protection of riparian areas and the watershed in the SSM foothills, joining with organizations like Save Chatsworth and Twin Lakes HOA to protect open space, create parkland, and prevent irresponsible development in the area.  Simi Hills:  Working with the Mountains Conservancy, State Parks and other organizations to keep the wildlife corridor open between the SSM and Santa Monica Mountains through strategic land purchases and/or property annex to the SSPSHP; supporting the Rim of the Valley Wildlife Corridor; SSFL: Working on a balanced cleanup to preserve the natural, cultural, historical and archaeological treasures on the site for a future parkland and an integral part of the wildlife corridor. Other Locations: Protecting the habitat and wildlife: Chatsworth Nature Preserve, Stoney Point, oak woodlands, saving the Santa Clara River, and other open space areas in the region.  

Community Involvement:
  SSMPA board members serve on the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council/CNC and Coordinating Council/CCCC and/or are members of conservation organizations such as the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and Southwestern Herpetologists Society, working together on many issues from land use, open space, hiking, biking and equestrian trails, traffic conditions, events such as Earth Day celebrations, Pioneer Days-Chatsworth Historical Society, volunteer projects, education for adults and young people about nature, preservation of Chatsworth’s western history, and art/cultural events. 

Community Meetings:
  Meetings are held eight times a year with presenters from a spectrum of expertise such as native plants, TreePeople, cougars, condors and many other wildlife conservation organizations, rocket history, Western film history and area history, Native Americans, archaeology and cultural topics, and many other environmental groups. Meetings are free to the public.

 2019 / 2021 SSMPA Board of Directors 

President: Wendi Gladstone

Treasurer: Teena Takata

Director-at-Large: Robert "Bob" Dager

Director-at-Large: Dean Wageman

Director-at-Large: Sharon Shingai

Director-at-Large: Tom Nachtrab

Vice President: John Luker

Recording Secretary: Donna Nachtrab

Director-at-Large: Michael Horton

Director-at-Large: Warren Stone

Director-at-Large: Darlene Brothers-Wageman


Dedicated to the Preservation of the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills
A Non-Profit 501(c)(4) Incorporated Nov. 30,1971                Founded Nov. 20,1970
  Email:                    Website:

SSMPA | P.O. Box 4831 | Chatsworth | CA | 91313

© 2013-16 Santa Susana Mountain Park Association