AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsThe scoping meeting Wednesday at the Agua Dulce Women’s Club was a constructive start for a project that has seen its share of hurdles over the years – a site proposed in 2001 met local opposition because it was deemed too close to homes.Pasadena-based Sapphos Environmental is preparing environmental studies for the project on behalf of the county departments of Regional Planning and Parks and Recreation. A draft report is expected in August.The 2,700-square-foot center is slated for 4.15 acres at the county natural area park’s entrance. It would replace a ranger’s residence – a 1950s vintage ranch home – and an office trailer, though there are two alternate plans that would preserve the home, which is currently abandoned.“I would hate to see (the ranger’s residence) torn down unless there’s a reason,” Brown said. “There’s history there, too.”Lee Jennings, 34, was a bit skeptical about the proposal. She’s been to meetings like these in the past, though nothing was built. Still, she supports a center, even the proposed 30,000-square-foot parking lot, as long as it’s not paved with asphalt. AGUA DULCE – For the modest crowd gathered at a planning meeting for the proposed Vasquez Rocks Interpretative Center, it’s a matter of bringing the county’s vision into focus. Take local resident Alan Brown. He believes a center intended to preserve and present the 950-acre county park’s geology and history would be a boon for the local wonder – if done right.“It’s a beautiful place,” said Brown, a 20-year resident of this town of some 4,000 near the jagged rock formations where the native Tatavium people left pieces of their culture.“I think it deserves it. There is a tremendous amount of history in that park.” “I thought, `oh, again?”‘ she said of the meeting. “It would be great if it could happen. To me, it’s all about the kids. … How great for kids down below who only have a patch of grass for a park to be able to come here to a place like this?”The town, about halfway between Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley, also is fiercely protective of its semirural lifestyle, though most residents don’t seem to mind the extra traffic. The park receives about 105,000 visitors a year, and a center is expected to add 5,000.“It wouldn’t be all bad,” Brown said. “It won’t bring more residents.”Others, such as Charlie Cooke, 70, of Acton are concerned about the center’s cultural impacts. Remains of the indigenous Tatavium people are still found at the park, and it’s also the site of petroglyphs left by natives thousands of years ago.“There are traditions with how they lived and used plants and the structures they built and the artifacts – it’s important for the people to know we’re still around,” said Cooke, who is of Tatavium and Chumash descent.Brown recalled unearthing history while attending a community dance at the rocks.“You go like this,” said Brown, shaking his dancing feet. “And you find pottery shards.”John R. Johnson, curator of anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, said an interpretive center documenting the Tatavium has been long needed.“There’s actually very little about them – there are some in Santa Clarita and Rancho Camulos,” he said. “No one knows the particular context this art was created – is it ceremonial in nature or secular? … Nobody interviewed a Tatavium person about it.“There is a lack of public knowledge about the native peoples in the area. This will be an opportunity to interpret some of that.”“It’ll be like walking though history,” said Sandra Dininger, superintendent of the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park.Though he hasn’t seen the draft of the center’s plans, Rudy Ortega Jr., tribal administrator for the Fernandeno Tataviam band of Mission Indians, said he would welcome a facility that could help tell the story of his ancestors.“That site is sacred to us,” said Ortega, who represents about 900 of the estimated 1,500 known Tatavium descendents. “For it to go up sometime, it’s great. … It shows that we were here and continue to exist here.”Ortega said he looks forward to seeing his tribe’s artifacts on display at the proposed center. Though the group has helped monitor sensitive cultural sites at the park, unearthed artifacts are held by the county.“Even our generation hasn’t seen them,” he said. “It could be shared about the tribal members and the community members.” email@example.com(661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!