Coastal Land Protected at Point Arena

The Trust for Public Land and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced the protection of a 123-acre parcel of land on the Pacific Ocean bluffs near Point Arena, at the California Coastal National Monument.

The $2.71 million needed to buy the property from the Cypress Abbey Company came from the California Coastal Conservancy and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). TPL bought the land and sold it to the BLM.

“This wild, spectacular stretch of coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean—teeming with wildlife and captivating views&3151;has inspired so many to work towards its preservation,” said Dave Sutton, Northern California Director of The Trust for Public Land. “Special accolades go to the Bureau of Land Management and the California Coastal Conservancy for their roles in securing the critically needed public funding.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a member of a key Senate subcommittee that appropriates funds for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, said, “The acquisition of this land preserves an incredibly beautiful piece of California’s iconic coastline and invests in our future. California is one of the country’s top tourism destinations, so protecting pristine landscapes like Cypress Abbey that attract visitors allows us to do well by doing good.”

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said, “California’s North Coast is a national treasure. Because of these acquisitions, we will protect thousands of acres and miles of coastline for our kids and grandkids to enjoy. I will keep working to make sure we have the resources we need to preserve our public lands.” Rep. Thompson has been a leader in the House of Representatives on behalf of LWCF, the federal government’s main source for protecting land. It is funded by royalties paid by energy companies in exchange for oil and gas extraction from federal offshore leases, and not taxpayer dollars.

“We were pleased to work with the Trust for Public Land, the California Coastal Conservancy and other partners to bring this spectacular piece of coastline into public management. Now this and future generations of community residents and local tourists will be able to hike, picnic and experience another special area of the North Coast,” said Jim Kenna, BLM’s California Director.

The acquisition was part one of a planned two-part project. President Obama’s FY 2013 budget, for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2012 includes additional LWCF funding to protect the adjacent 409 acres. When finished, the acquisitions will add to more than 3,200 acres of contiguous public open space protecting over ten miles of the Northern California coastline.

The Cypress Abbey property will add outstanding geological features to BLM lands which are already in the California Coastal National Monument. The offshore arches, terraces, caves, and stacks present iconic views of the northern California coast. The acquisition will provide the opportunity to extend the California Coastal Trail connecting the town of Point Arena to Manchester State Park.

The property also lies within a BLM Area of Critical Environmental Concern for threatened and endangered species habitat and a California Fish and Game Area of Special Biological Importance. It includes habitat for Behren’s Silverspot Butterfly and the Point Arena Mountain Beaver, both of which are on the federal endangered species list.

“The Cypress Abbey property is both a gorgeous place to appreciate California’s coast, and another link in the Coastal Trail,” said Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer of the State of California Coastal Conservancy.

The Trust for Public Land is a national conservation organization which conserves land for people. The Trust for Public Land is the nation’s leader in creating parks and playgrounds in cities across the nation and is also the national leader in helping local communities create funding for conservation.

The BLM’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. BLM manages 15.2 million acres of public lands in California, almost 15% of the state’s land area.

The California Coastal Conservancy, established in 1976, is a state agency that uses entrepreneurial techniques to purchase, protect, restore, and enhance coastal resources, and to provide access to the shore. It works in partnership with local governments, other public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private landowners.