Land Linking Key Los Angeles Open Space Areas Protected (CA)
LOS ANGELES, CA, 2/13/2006: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the City of LaVerne announced today the purchase and permanent protection of 208 acres of wilderness along the natural borders of Los Angeles. In three separate transactions, TPL purchased the 55-, 26-, and 127-acre properties and conveyed them to the City of La Verne. These acquisitions are part of a multi-year plan to double the size of the 679-acre Marshall Canyon Regional Park. The park’s expanstion will link key open spaces such as the Angeles National Forest, the San Dimas Experimental Forest, and the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park.
“Protecting Los Angeles’ natural boundary is becoming an increasingly challenging endeavor. We’re fighting a race against time, triggered by explosive growth in the Inland Empire and skyrocketing land prices,” said Reed Holderman, executive director of the Trust for Public Land-California. “These threats have increased the need for our work in partnership with foothill communities, and today, with the public protection of this land, we are one step closer to winning the race.”
“The Marshall Canyon Conservation Corridor is a critical acquisition project and will provide expanded recreational opportunities for the citizens of Los Angeles County,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “The protection of these properties is a tribute to the cooperative efforts of the County, the State, the City of La Verne, the Trust for Public Land and local conservancies.”
“Preserving these natural properties is a legacy that our children and their children will enjoy well into the future,” said City of La Verne Community Development Director Hal Fredericksen. “Mayor Blickenstaff and the La Verne City Council took a very important step in moving forward with the acquisition of these properties. The La Verne Land Conservancy and TPL have been outstanding partners in facilitating this acquisition. We look forward to working with them as we define the area’s long term preservation and potential for public use.”
The recent purchases, totaling $3,305,000, were funded by the State Wildlife Conservation Board and the County of Los Angeles. These acquisitions are part of TPL’s ongoing effort to partner with conservation groups in the San Gabriel Foothills to protect the natural buffer zone between Los Angeles’ urban edge and the outlying wilderness of the Angeles National Forest, and follow the recent protection of a 284-acre property that TPL conveyed to the USFS as an addition to the Angeles and San Bernadino National Forests
“Explosive population growth and soaring land prices are threatening the natural areas of Northeast Los Angeles County,” explained land use expert Bill Fulton. “As demand for new housing increases, developers are looking at open spaces in the San Gabriel Foothills as prime real estate. Soon, these properties will be beyond the reach of the conservation community. The Trust for Public Land and their local partners are smart to act now to preserve this critical open space corridor between foothill communities and the Angeles National Forest. It will provide a buffer against fire danger, protect the watershed and hillside views, and expand recreational opportunities for the millions of Los Angeles County residents who want to hike, bike, and ride horses in parks close to their homes.”
Few people know the importance of embracing and protecting a city’s natural boundaries better than Katherine Winsor, president of the La Verne Land Conservancy. A local resident for 10 years and mother of three, she trailblazed her way through a grant process to obtain funds to protect the stretch of open space north of La Verne stretching from San Dimas Canyon to Claremont in partnership with the San Gabriel Mountains Regional Conservancy and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. The plan and grant request were approved by the Wildlife Conservation Board in 2005.
“My backyard opens up to the foothills. We chose to live in north La Verne because of the existing open space. When it was threatened with more development, I decided I needed to do something,” said Winsor. “Our conservation work in the San Gabriel Foothills is important because it has brought conservation funds and awareness into an area that had previously gone unnoticed. The San Gabriels provide wonderful opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and I hope that my kids and grandkids will be able to enjoy the area as much as I have.”
In addition to recreation for nearby residents, these properties provide important habitat for wildlife. “The San Gabriel Foothills are home to a number of federally listed endangered species that were once common in the Los Angeles basin, but have lost much of their habitat to urbanization. These Marshall Canyon acquisitions contribute to the creation of an uninterrupted wildlife movement corridor across the foothills and ensure that wildlife have access to watersheds.” said Al Wright, executive director of the California Wildlife Conservation Board.
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. In the past year, TPL has protected more than 500 acres in the San Gabriel Foothills, and there are plans to protect many more properties, which together could contribute to a five-mile open space corridor along the border of Los Angeles. For more information regarding TPL’s work in Los Angeles County, please visit our website at www.tpl.org/cal.