Rosa Olascoaga never walks alone through the canyon next to her home in City Heights, opting to take the longer route to get to the other side of the neighborhood.
Despite steep illegal dumping fines, garbage, broken furniture and toxic pollution find their way into the canyons from residents and storm runoff.
Rosa’s older brother, Marcos, occasionally uses the canyon as a shortcut to a popular skateboarding spot on the other side. “It’s dirty,” he said, and you may run into drug users. But with recent efforts to clean up the canyon and create trails, it’s getting a lot friendlier, he said.