County park rangers turning their focus on Panorama Park

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Panorama Park is one of those places you sort of have to see to believe, the sort of place you might bring an out-of-town visitor because it captures so much of who we are and where we live.

This 38-acre park — a so-called linear park that’s essentially a 1.5 mile trail — lies near the city’s northeastern corner — county jurisdiction, actually. It overlooks the Kern River and, perhaps more strikingly, the Kern River oil field, which has produced more than 2 billion barrels of oil over its 120-year lifetime. Nothing more aptly describes the scale of Kern County oil production than the view from Panorama Park.

But people come here for the walking trails — and, as the evening descends, the sunsets  — frequently spectacular sunsets.

But at times there can be problems — few and far between, but not nonexistent.

Tim Arvizu has seen a few things in his 40 years walking the length of the park daily. Occasional drug use and things best left unspoken. But not enough to deter him. Not even close.

“I enjoy the length of the park,” he said. “It’s just perfect. Runs about three miles if you go down to one end and come back and end up right back here. It just works out great for me.”

The park, which runs parallel to Panorama Drive, part of the residential neighborhood of Alta Vista, is not a problem and Kern County’s 15-person Park Ranger division likes it that way.

So much so they’re increasing patrols this weekend, focusing on the hours the park is closed — 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.  They’re calling it Operation Safe Park — an exercise in visibility intended to send a message.

“We’ve updated our parks and we’ve made it look beautiful,” said Sgt. Alicia Agtang, a Kern County Park Ranger. “And we want more of the community to come out often and we want them to see it’s a nice place to come, it’s a safe place to come.”

Park regular Oscar Avilar says the vista is calming.

“Peaceful climate,” he said, seated on a bench reading a motivational book. “It’s a good place to relax and explore your mind.”

Panorama Park provides people the opportunity to go for an evening walk alongside a postcard sunset, or an early morning run before the heat of the day sets in, knowing that county Park Rangers are doing extra duty this weekend to keep it safe.

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