Bell Canyon, California

Bell Canyon is a private, guard-gated residential community located near the western San Fernando Valley. Although only minutes from Los Angeles, Bell Canyon is located in neighboring Ventura County. In fact, the only entrance is by means of Bell Canyon Road, which starts in Los Angeles and crosses the border into Ventura County before reaching the guard gate. Bell Canyon is elevated convert|267|ft|m above sea level. The ZIP Code is 91307, and the community is inside area code 818.

Until 1967, Bell Canyon was a working cattle ranch. In the fall of 1968, Bell Canyon’s equestrian center, designed by famed architect Cliff May, was built and began operation. Spruce Land Corporation and Boise-Cascade joined in a partnership to purchase what was to be Bell Canyon, and, several years later, a new subdivision called "Woodland Hills Country Estates" was opened. It was an amazing success, having sold almost all of the 800 home sites within 10 days. It did not take long before the new property owners took over the association in the fall of 1969 and renamed the development "Bell Canyon," after Charles A. Bell, a lawyer, who was Justice of the Peace of Calabasas in 1906 and was said to have lost his right arm in a gun battle while raiding a moonshiner in 1887.

Today, Bell Canyon has developed into an extremely affluent neighborhood of 800 estate homes, each of which rests on 1/2 acre to 40 acre parcels. Many of the area's equestrian properties feature stables, paddocks, turnouts and other horse facilities. Often compared to nearby Hidden Hills, California, which lies a few miles to the south, the two communities are actually quite different. Both Bell Canyon and Hidden Hills have unique topographies, rigid security procedures at the 24 hour guarded entrance gates, security patrols and residences with distinctive architectural styles. In particular, Bell Canyon features architecturally significant properties designed by renowned architects including Don Zavatto, Ed Niles, Robert Byrd, and pioneer of the California ranch-style house, Cliff May. Bell Canyon is served by the Las Virgenes Unified School District and pupils attend Round Meadow Elementary, AC Stelle Middle School, and Calabasas High School.

At the heart of the community is the Bell Canyon Equestrian Center, a Class-A equestrian facility which offers a wide variety of training in English-hunters, equitation, show jumping as well as western riding. It is one of the few remaining full-service equestrian centers in the area.

Bell Creek, a national parkland blue line stream and watershed of Malibu Creek, winds its way through the community and plays host to a multitude of wildlife such as deer, coyote, hawk, squirrel, fox, woodpeckers and quail. Chastain Falls, Bell Canyon's own waterfall named after Charles Chastain, can be accessed only by hiking one of many trails in the area.

There are many hiking and riding trails around the area, some of which border the former Ahmanson Ranch, now called Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve. The Bell Canyon Trail extends convert|4.5|mi|km, with a surface of sand and dirt and has a width of 12 to 14 feet (19 to 23 feet) that ensures an easy ride. Bell Canyon Trail is scenic and winds through the lush vegetation of Bell Canyon dominated by oak and sycamore woodlands. Bell Canyon Trail heads in a north direction crossing Bell Creek at various locations. This trail is the backbone of Bell Canyon's trails providing many link and loop opportunities.

Although Southern California has enormous environmental problems due to uncontrolled development, Bell Canyon is one of the few places that manage to preserve its beautiful, natural environment. The preservation of Bell Canyon’s wildlife and scenic surroundings is credited to the Bell Canyon Association and many concerned community volunteers. Another great contributor of the preservation is The Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve which is part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and ensures the continued presence of the oak savanna.

Organized community events include the annual community fair entitled "Hot August Night," where kids and adults participate in pie-eating contests and chili cook-offs, as well as dog shows, wine tastings, progressive dinners, Snow Day, Halloween Hang, and the annual car show. Over ten different social committees enhance the lifestyle in Bell Canyon: the Adult Activities Committee, Investment Club, Bell Canyon Hikers, The Book Club, Kids Committee, and Community Planning are just a sample of the clubs available.

Because of its seclusion and security, including security cameras and constant patrols by guards, the neighborhood is favored by celebrities, individuals from the motion picture, television and recorded music industries, business executives and professionals.

Notable residents (past and present)

*Don Herbert, scientist (1917-2007)
*Frank Kramer, radio personality (1970- )
*Alyssa Milano, actress (1972- )
*Holly Marie Combs, actress (1973- )
*Kevin Eubanks, jazz musician (1957- )
*Jamie Farr, actor (1934- )
*Joe Rogan, comedian (1967- )
*Shelley Berman, comedian (1926- )
*Larry Wilcox, actor (1947- )
*Micky Dolenz, musician (1945- )
*John Aniston, actor (1933- )
*John McVie, musician (1945- )
*Katie Cassidy, musician/actress (1986- )
*Alex Katunich, musician (1976- )
*Scott Reeves, actor/musician (1966- )
*Scott Carpenter, astronaut (1925- )
*Cory Everson, bodybuilder/actress (1959- )
*Roxann Dawson, actress (1958- )
*Erin Murphy, actress (1964- )
*Floyd Gaugh, musician (1967- )
*Elliot Easton, musician (1953- )
*Bruce Hall (musician), (1953- )
*Mike Garson, pianist (1945- )
*Kenny Wayne Shepherd, musician (1977- )
*Lyndsy Fonseca, actress (1987- )
*Bruce Campbell, actor (1958- )
*Snuff Garrett, record producer (1939- )
*Jason Adelman, actor (1977- )
*Butch Hartman, animator (?-present)

External links

*http://www.bellcanyon.com/
*http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=bell+canyon,+ca&ie=UTF8&ll=34.206124,-118.688736&spn=0.174052,0.266418&t=h&z=12&om=1
*http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/printedition/la-re-guide3jul03,0,592564.story?coll=la-class-realestate
*http://www.ventura-chamber.org/


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