Historic Duck Farm Protected as Park (CA)

LOS ANGELES, CA, 12/9/2004 — The Watershed Conservation Authority (WCA) and the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announces the purchase and public protection of a 57-acre historic Duck Farm at the confluence of San Jose Creek and the San Gabriel River. The former Woodland Farms property fronts nearly two miles of a natural bottom reach of the San Gabriel River. The WCA is a joint powers agency of the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC) and Los Angeles County Public Works. When the WCA fully develops the site as a park, the property will incorporate habitat creation, trails, water quality and conservation elements and passive recreation within the property. It will also serve as a local trailhead for an over 30-mile bike and equestrian path that stretches from the Angeles National Forest to the Pacific Ocean.

It is telling that the first major acquisition project along the San Gabriel River has been funded by the Resources Agency Prop. 13 River Parkway Program and a RMC Prop. 40 grant. “This site is of critical state significance because of the opportunities to enhance habitat at the confluence of the San Gabriel River and San Jose Creek which run through the property,” said Mike Chrisman, Secretary for Resources for the State of California.

“By completing this acquisition we have reached a major milestone for the RMC and WCA and we applaud TPL for making this project possible,” said Frank Colonna, Chair of the RMC and WCA Boards and Long Beach City Councilman. RMC is also celebrating the fifth year anniversary of its 1999 creation by the State Legislature under the leadership of, then assemblywoman and now U.S. Congressional Representative, Hilda Solis.

Using private philanthropic funds, the nonprofit Trust for Public Land purchased Woodland Farms in 2001. Today, TPL conveyed the property to WCA for long-term stewardship and public use. The project is the first under TPL’s Parks for People Los Angeles program which was launched on December 7, 2004.

“The Trust for Public Land is committed to creating desperately needed public park and recreation space in LA’s most densely populated and park-poor areas, ” said Reed Holderman, executive director of the TPL-California. “And we could not do it without the generous support of our donors and the commitment of our public agency partners, such as the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, and the leadership of our elected officials,” he added.

Woodland Farms, a former Duck Farm from 1950 to 2001, will become the San Gabriel Valley’s first regional riverside park and will serve the nearby communities of La Puente, El Monte, Irwindale, Baldwin Park, City of Industry, Bassett, Pico Riviera and Hacienda Heights, an area of approximately 600,000 population. All of these communities have large numbers of low and moderate-income families with a large population of children under the age of 14.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, in whose district the farm lies thanked the WCA for acting as regional land steward. “With the acquisition of the Duck Farm, the WCA is taking a major step toward preserving and restoring public access to the historic open spaces and river trails in the vicinity of the Whittier Narrows Recreational area. I look forward to when our adjacent rivers and parks are connected to this site through a series of bike and equestrian paths.”

TPL and WCA will dedicate Woodland Farms at the same time the RMC celebrates its fifth anniversary on Friday, December 17, 2004 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The site lies west of the 605 Freeway and north of the Pomona Freeway. For more information about The Duck Farm and the RMC anniversary event please contact: Belinda Faustinos, Executive Officer of the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy at (626) 458-4315.

The WCA in partnership with RMC will commence with planning for The Duck Farm in early 2005. The RMC provides grants and technical assistance to preserve and restore degraded open space in its territory.

TPL is a national land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people as parks, greenways, wilderness areas and natural, historic and cultural resources for future generations. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected nearly 2 million acres nationwide. The public can find more information about TPL and the Parks for People Los Angeles program, at https://www.tpl.org/state/california.

Posted 12/2004