A single-track trail that connects the Main Divide with Silverado Canyon. At just under three miles, the trail makes for an exciting descent. It can be combined with other trails in the area to make for an epic day. Park at the end of Silverado Canyon Rd., 5.5 miles from the intersection with Santiago Canyon Rd..

MOST DANGEROUS NEIGHBORHOOD IN AMERICA'S "SAFEST CITY"

Actually, Huntington Beach isn't—and never has been—America's safest city. But until last year, it did rank in the top 10. But a string of unsolved murders last year ended all that, and now Surf City's not even among the top 25 safest cities. All of the murders took place in just one-half-square-mile area called Oakview. It's a low-income, mostly Latino neighborhood between Slater Avenue and Beach Boulevard that cops and city officials quietly call the Slater Slums. According to Sergeant Gary Meza, a community-liaison officer with the Huntington Beach Police Department, the murders involved members of the South Side Gang, which police believe has 70 to 100 Latino members. None of the murders has been solved.

GREEN PARTY

An expansive seven-acre nursery filled with all sorts of little landscaped walkways to explore, Roger's Gardens is so large I've seen it described on the Internet as the largest nursery in the country—but I'm not going to say Roger's is the largest because I might piss off the rest of the plant lobby, and those leafy dudes don't play (they killed Garfield). Still, size doesn't really matter, right, ladies? . . . Right? Anyway, Roger's is a terrific place to spend an afternoon just walking around, even if you have no natural inclination toward gardening whatsoever. I couldn't keep a plant alive if my life depended on it, but I still enjoy Roger's Gardens, particularly around the holidays, when it's strung with lights, and the entire place seems to twinkle, and you can get that $180 glass Santa ornament that your life was vacant without. 2301 San Joaquin Hill Rd., Corona del Mar, (949) 640-5800.

ART ACTIVISTS

BC Space Gallery is in a Laguna Beach walk-up and single-handedly saves Laguna's ass from its well-deserved reputation as a hotbed of pap. The gallery, run by Mark Chamberlain with help from such folks as Cypress College's Jerry Burchfield, focuses on getting all jiggy and activist-y on issues such as the war in Iraq, with openings featuring panel discussions and sweet-old-lady Greens who bring bowls of lentils for potlucks. (The most recent was an open-ended exhibit of continuously changing treatises—and found sculptures!—on Afghanistan, Iraq, the military-industrial complex and George W. Bush. Also, they had this hella cool show once that had some fat Chinese nudes that they'd had to smuggle out. That was dope. 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-1880.

OCEAN OUTFALL GROUP

They spell "environmentalism" with a not-so-capital "e"—as in e-mail. That's how the Ocean Outfall Group (OOG), which has no meetings, officers, dues or even stationery, rallied people who don't like poop in the ocean against the outmoded policies of the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD). When the OCSD board of directors met in July 2002 to consider re-applying for a permit to dump 10 million gallons per hour of substandard sewage off Huntington Beach, an overflow crowd of angry computer-savvy citizens was waiting for them. The board opted to live up to the 1972 Clean Water Act instead. That victory only encouraged the OOG's e-mail mania. While it continues to monitor the sanitation board's compliance with the sewage cleanup, the OOG has expanded its environmental focus. Locally, it is battling the Poseidon desalination plant in Huntington Beach, supporting the use of constructed wetlands to treat urban runoff before it reaches the ocean, and hoping to preserve the riparian area that has spontaneously developed in the Santa Ana River. It's also lending support and expertise to sewage-treatment fights in Goleta and Morro Bay. All it takes to join is an e-mail address: write "subscribe" in the subject line and send to oceanoutfallgroup@yahoo.com. Or send an e-mail to JonV3@aol.com.

PETERS CANYON

This is a great park to visit if you want to get in a quick workout after a long day working for the man. Although small in size, Peters Canyon is home to a variety of habitats. Near the 55-acre reservoir, marsh vegetation and riparian woodland thrive. Below it, trees blanket the slopes above Lower Canyon Trail. Many of the trails are short in length, but combining several of them allows hikers and trail runners to increase the distance covered. Mountain bikers won't find much to challenge them here, but the canyon is a nice way to avoid the pavement en route to other trails in and around Santiago Canyon. Canyon View Ave. & Jamboree, Irvine.

SMOOTH CURATOR

Okay, so Tyler Stallings hasn't really done anything lately. But God, remember when he was doing shows on aliens (extraterrestrial or illegal; take your pick!) and skateboards? Those were fantastic. And even if he has been on the quiet side since his blockbuster "Whiteness" show at the Laguna Art Museum, he's probably just writing another book! And he still single-handedly made it okay for snooty LA types to make the trek down to poor benighted OC back when he was the driving force for the then-very-exciting Huntington Beach Art Center. Making OC okay! was a feat that made the Grand Central Art Center's showy openings (once, one of the guys from South Park came!) possible.

LUÍS ORTÍZ-FRANCO
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