151 Acres Added To Claremont Hills Wilderness Park

May 3, 2011
Claremont, CA

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the City of Claremont today announced the purchase of 150+ acres of natural lands that will fill a gap in the beautiful and popular Claremont Hills Wilderness Park.

The acquisition of the Gale Ranch property protects and extends public access to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains where people enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. More than 100 years ago, Stephen Gale homesteaded land near what is now Pomello Avenue. The land is part of Claremont's history as the former site of the Gale Family Angora Goat Ranch, the only angora ranch in Southern California which was in operation until the 1920's.

Claremont Mayor Sam Pedroza emphasized the City's goal of expanding the park when he said, "Protecting the sensitive ecosystem of the San Gabriel Valley is important to maintaining a regional wildlife corridor. Protecting the site from development also creates valuable passive recreation opportunities, which will allow current and future generations the chance to enjoy the countless benefits of the Claremont Wilderness Park."

This is part of TPL's long standing efforts to protect from development valuable habitat and viewsheds located at the edge of Los Angeles. It is TPL's 14th acquisition in the eastern foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains since 2004.

"Preserving these beautiful foothills is key to the quality of life in Claremont," said Brady Moss, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land.

 "They are more than a gateway to nature," said Belinda Faustinos, Executive Officer of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy. "They shield the City from forest fires and protect natural systems that collect and filter water, while giving our native plants and animals the habitat they need to survive."

Both the California Wildlife Conservation Board and the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy provided funding for the purchase.

John Donnelly, Executive Director of the California Wildlife Conservation Board said, "The Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is not a stand-alone park. It connects to the Marshall Canyon Regional Park on the east and the Angeles National Forest to the north. Protecting its borders is a crucial part of keeping the natural and recreational resources of Angelenos safe for generations to come." Visitors to the Claremont Wilderness Park will benefit from the active trail, which connects to Sycamore Canyon Park, Johnson's Pasture, and the Thompson Creek Trail.

"The Trust for Public Land has played a critical role in protecting open space in the City of Claremont over the last several years," said Jeff Parker, Claremont City Manager. "Claremont residents place a high value on the protection of open space and took action in 2007 to pass a $12.5 million general obligation bond to purchase Johnson's Pasture. The acquisition of Gale Ranch is an important purchase to permanently preserve Claremont's open space."

The Trust for Public Land is a national land conservation organization that preserves land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, and wilderness areas. TPL has protected more than 3,800 acres in the San Gabriel Mountains, foothills, and the Angeles National Forest-the second most visited national forest in the country. TPL depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.