Santa Susana Mountains

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Santa Susana Mountains
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Santa Susana Mountains

The Santa Susana Mountains are transverse range of mountains in southern California, north of the city of Los Angeles, in the United States. The range runs east-west separating the San Fernando Valley and Simi Valley on its south from the Valley of the Santa Clara River to the north.

The Newhall Pass separates the Santa Susana Mountains from the San Gabriel Mountains to the east. Newhall Pass is the major north-south connection between the San Fernando Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley, and Interstate 5 and a railroad line share Newhall Pass. The Santa Susana Pass connects the Simi and San Fernando valleys, and separates the Santa Susana Mountains from Simi Hills to the south. Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park is located in the Simi Hills, just south of the Santa Susana Pass, at the northwestern edge of the San Fernando Valley.

The highest peaks in the range are Oat Mountain (3,747 feet), Mission Point (2,771 feet), Rocky Peak (2,714 feet), and Sand Rock Peak (2,511 feet).

The Santa Susana Mountains are not as steep as the San Gabriel Mountains. The south-facing slopes are mostly covered in chaparral, grassland, and oak savanna. The north-facing slopes are home to magnificent oak woodlands, some of which have been protected in the Santa Clarita Woodlands Park. The mountains are part of the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion.

The western half of the range lies in Ventura County, and the eastern half of the range lies in Los Angeles County. The southwestern slopes of the Santa Susana Mountains are part of the City of Los Angeles, and housing subdivisions, including Porter Ranch, have been built on the lower slopes of the range. The city of Simi Valley lies southwest of the range. To the north of the range is the fast-growing city of Santa Clarita, and several large subdivisions in unincorporated Los Angeles County, including Lyons Ranch and Newhall Ranch, have been approved for development. The Sunshine Canyon Landfill is at the mountains' eastern end, and several canyons in the northwest corner of the range have been proposed for more landfills.

The first discovery of oil in California was in Pico Canyon, on the north side of the mountains, The California Star Oil Works, later Chevron, succeeded with Well No. 4. It became famous not only as the first well in California, but also as the longest-producing well in the world, having been capped in September, 1990 after 114 years. Today it is a National Historic Landmark. The surrounding town, Mentryville, is maintained as an oil "ghost town". Unocal Corporation still operates oil wells in the mountains.

The mountains are within the acquisition area for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which operates several parks, including Santa Clarita Woodlands Park, Rocky Peak Park, and Happy Camp Canyon Park in the Santa Susana Mountains through the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. The City of Los Angeles maintains O'Melveny Park at the eastern end of the mountains.

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