350 Acres on Otay Mt. Protected (CA)

SAN DIEGO, CA 9/7/2004- The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today the addition of 350 acres to the Otay Mountain Wildlife Management Area. The Anderson Property in southwestern San Diego County, valued at $1.4 million, was the BLM’s top conservation priority in the area. The purchase protects critical wildlife habitat in the state’s second fastest growing county and will offer hiking and wildlife viewing to visitors and residents of nearby communities.

“The Anderson property was at the very top of our wish list for Otay Mountain. It is a critical piece of the long-term vision for the Wildlife Management Area,” said Scott Eubanks of the Bureau of Land Management.

The Otay Mountain Wildlife Management Area, a 38,000-acre reserve on the US-Mexican border, is an essential part of the extensive south county reserve system that includes the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Otay Mountain also forms an important link in the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Plan.

“As San Diego County continues to grow, opportunities to protect important natural lands like the Anderson property are becoming increasingly rare. TPL was pleased to work with the BLM once again to add this beautiful land to the Otay Mountain Wildlife Management Area,” said Reed Holderman, Executive Director of the Trust for Public Land-California.

The Anderson property consists of two non-contiguous parcels on the flanks of Otay Mountain with elevations ranging from 800 to 2,250 feet. The eastern tract lies on the western face of Little Tecate Peak and is blanketed in dense chaparral with a small stand of coastal sage scrub. The western parcel consists of increasingly steep slopes covered in coastal sage scrub with scattered patches of chaparral. Bee Canyon bisects the western property and coast live oak riparian forest lines the canyon bottom.

Funds for the purchase of the Anderson property came from appropriations from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), secured by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Generous support from the Heller Foundation also helped make the protection of the Anderson Property possible.

“Five years ago, the Otay Mountain Wilderness Act became law, preserving 18,500 acres of scenic wilderness for generations to come,” Senator Feinstein said. “I was proud to be a part of that effort and I am delighted to see this unique wilderness area expanded.”

The Anderson Property is TPL’s sixth addition to the Otay Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Since 1984 TPL has helped the BLM add more than 3,200 acres to the preserve. The expansion of this important public resource is part of a comprehensive effort by TPL and its partners to ensure that the wild and scenic landscapes of the south county will remain undeveloped for future generations to enjoy.

To date, TPL has helped protect 28,606 acres throughout San Diego County, including more than 13,000 acres of Rutherford Ranch on Volcan Mountain and in the San Felipe Valley. Most recently TPL helped close a gap in the Crest to Coast trail along the San Dieguito River Park with the public purchase of the 70 acre Boudreau property.