The single biggest piece of real estate in the Santa Clarita Valley belongs to the federal government. It is the Angeles National Forest. It covers about one-quarter of Los Angeles County, or some 691,000 acres.
Originally this was part of the old Santa Barbara National Forest, created in 1900, encompassing the Coast Range of mountains from Wrightwood to Big Sur. In September, 1925 it was divided into the Angeles and Los Padres national forests, at which time the Saugus Ranger District was set up in Newhall with Mr. N.E. Peterson appointed ranger. Almost immediately he ran afoul of a crusty old lady up in Bouquet Canyon who was known as the "Goat Woman."
Clara L. Peterson tended her goats and vegetables more or less quietly until a couple of rangers started staking out "her" homestead for Zuni Campground. She ran them off, calling them "impolite names," according to official reports. Before long she was firing shotgun blasts at just about anyone who came up the canyon.
The whole matter was finally settled in the courtroom of Justice A.B. Perkins, where Mrs. Peterson was shown the error of her ways. By way of apology she dropped by the Forest Service office on April 1, 1927 and presented the staff with a goat. It may be said that the Feds got the goat of a lonely widow on April Fool's Day.