233 Acres Added to Claremont Hills Wilderness Park

CLAREMONT,CA 10/25/2004 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), the Claremont Wildlands Conservancy and the City of Claremont announced today the purchase and protection of two properties totaling 233-acres as additions to the 1,480-acre Claremont Hills Wilderness Park in the rugged hills above the City of Claremont. In two separate transactions, TPL purchased the 129-acre and 104-acre properties and conveyed them to the City of Claremont for permanent public protection. Preserving these properties as parkland will ensure continued public access to the area’s well-used trails for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. The Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is located off Mt. Baldy Road in eastern Los Angeles County.

“We very much appreciate the Trust for Public Land’s assistance in acquiring this additional 223 acres of hillsides land,” stated Claremont’s Mayor Sandy Baldonado. “Claremont’s hillsides are an integral part of the community’s image and identity. They provide a stunning visual backdrop, an environmental sanctuary, and a recreational resource. That’s why preserving them has been such an important community goal for the past 30 years. We look forward to continuing to explore grants, partnerships, and other opportunities for acquiring as much hillside open space as possible.”

Reed Holderman, executive director of the Trust for Public Land-California, added, “TPL has responded to a community that cares about their quality of life by ramping up our efforts to protect the Claremont Hillsides. This is just the beginning. With help from our incredible partners, cooperation with willing landowners, and support from our friends and donors, we will continue to protect these wonderful hillsides for ourselves and future generations.”

The foothills above Claremont are being threatened with development. TPL is working closely with the City of Claremont and the local, nonprofit Claremont Wildlands Conservancy to preserve the area’s unique ecology and expand recreational opportunities for neighboring communities.

The steep hillsides are blanketed with native chaparral, and sycamores, native oaks and white alders thrive in the canyon bottoms. The area is home to variety of native species including the California black bear, bobcat and mule deer. The California quail, American kestrel, great horned owl, and Cooper’s hawk nest and forage in the brush and tall trees found on the properties.

Claremont Wildland Conservancy’s founding Board Member Suzanne Thompson added, “The hillsides are really important to the people of Claremont. We hope to eventually have connections with the open spaces in Marshall Canyon both for the benefits to wildlife but also recreation opportunities. Our organization really appreciates TPL’s tenacity in making these acquisitions happen – they’ve worked well with everyone!”

Funding for the two purchases came from voter-approved bond measure Proposition 50. The California Wildlife Conservation Board granted $1.4 million toward the purchase of the 129-acre and the 104-acre properties.

WCB Executive Director Al Wright said: “The Wildlife Conservation Board is pleased it could help the City acquire these important properties that will protect critical habitats and link other protected lands to establish permanent wildlife corridors in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national, nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to preserving land of recreational, ecological, and historical value for the public. TPL works with local, state, and federal agencies and grassroots community groups to protect open space nationwide. Since it’s founding in 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.9 million acres valued at more than $3.5 billion nationwide.

Posted 10/2004