As an instructor of geology at Los Angeles Valley College, I take students on field trips throughout Los Angeles County. Recently, I drove Mulholland Drive between the Encino area and Woodland Hills for the purpose of determining the feasibility of taking my students here as part of an upcoming geology trip to the Santa Monica Mountains; I had last driven this part of Mulholland in 1984. At that time, I noticed that the road was in very poor condition; this time I found the condition of Mulholland Drive appalling. Much of it had to be driven in first gear in my Chevrolet Suburban. There were piles of trash and construction rubbish in many places; much of the road was washed-out from previous storms. At one point, I encountered an old 15-foot boat in the road; at another, an old automobile chassis! In places, the road was barely passable.
What I saw was disgusting! When this road was opened back in 1924, it was considered one of the most scenic drives in the city. When I was a small boy, my father used to take me on rides along Mulholland Drive, as it was beautiful then. I spent many a happy hour hiking the numerous trails that branch off from Mulholland. More recently, I have taken literally hundreds of geology students from Valley College to see interesting phenomena visible from this road. I can no longer do that, owing to the road’s deplorable condition! The numerous faults, folds, intrusions, and landforms visible from Mulholland Drive are now lost to students as far as I am concerned; I will not risk the possible damage that may result to their cars if I take them there!
As a lifelong resident of Los Angeles, I am disheartened at the general decadence of much of our city; the loss of Mulholland Drive is like losing an old friend.
ANGUS A. MacDONALD