According to evidence found, the Gabrielino Indians once lived in the areas of the park and nature center. The San Dimas Canyon Nature Center was founded in the 1950's and is the first nature center in the County of Los Angeles. It was established and managed by former employee Percy Conklin. Percy and his daughter Evelyn were naturalists. They specialized in plants, minerals, rocks, and lived at the nature center in the original wooden house, now referred to as "the old house".
Since some of the wildlife animals can no longer live in their, natural habitat, they have been donated to the nature center by the Fish and Wildlife, Humane Societies or other agencies. Some were born visually impaired, injured in the wild, and unfortunately, many of them were owned by humans who thought it would be fun to own a wildlife animal and later finding out that maintaining them is greatly different in care and expenses, than a domesticated dog or cat.
At the nature center there is a one-mile trail loop that begins outside the front main entrance and ends by the campground. Outside of the nature center up the road are trails that lead into 138 acres of wildlife habitat.
MUSEUM AND GIFT SHOP
The picturesque museum displays the story of the local wildlife, mountain ranges, and communities, as well as exhibits, which include mammals, birds, insects, rocks, and live reptiles and amphibians. The gift shop is only open on Saturdays from 1 to 3 pm. It has a variety of merchandise relating to nature and all proceeds go to the wildlife animal care fund.
The nature center wildlife animals rely on donations from the public there are three options for donating:
- Critter Recyclable Can
- Cash or Check payable to SDCNCA, mail or hand deliver cash to SDCNCA, 1628 Sycamore Canyon Road, San Dimas, CA 91773