New Land for Angeles National Forest (CA)

ALTADENA, CA, 12/4/01-The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today a deal to protect the 15-acre Chaney Trail property in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, wedged between Altadena and the Angeles National Forest. With help from the local Altadena Foothills Conservancy, TPL will purchase the property by December 31, 2001, keeping it off the market until the U.S. Forest Service has the funds necessary to purchase the property for public use and enjoyment as a part of the Angeles National Forest.

“Sprawl is creeping up the San Gabriel foothills, the only natural buffer between the Angeles National Forest and the millions of people living in the Los Angles basin. This purchase will help protect the property as well as a heavily used, much-loved trail that generations of hikers and equestrians have used as an easy access point into the forest,” said Jennifer Hranilovich, Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land.

The Chaney Trail property, which was put on the market for sale last year, is zoned for residential use. Concerned that the property would be sold to developers, the Altadena Foothills Conservancy contacted TPL in late 1999 for help with the property’s purchase.

Dr. Nancy L.C. Steele, president of the nonprofit all-volunteer Altadena Foothills Conservancy said, “We are elated! When a few concerned Altadena residents met in late 1999 to form the AFC, preserving this portion of the Chaney Trail corridor was our first priority. We are very grateful to the staff at TPL, and to the owners of the property, Bill West and Werner Mueller, whose willingness to forego the profits of land development and sell the property below fair market value to a land conservation organization helped make this dream a reality.”

Funds for the purchase will come from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was established in 1964 to acquire special natural resource lands. Revenues from offshore oil and gas leasing, sales of surplus federal land, motorboat fuel taxes, and miscellaneous recreation fees finance the fund.

“I am excited to see private individuals and organizations come together to acquire this important piece of property. I know it will be enjoyed by countless numbers of people for years to come,” said Congressman David Dreier, who represents a large part of the Angeles National Forest and has helped bring acquisition funding to the Forest.

“I applaud the Trust for Public Land for stepping in to purchase the Chaney Trail property so it can be preserved as part of the great Angeles National Forest and enjoyed by hikers, bicyclists and equestrians,” said Congressman Adam B. Schiff, who represents Altadena and much of the Angeles National Forest.

“Open space preservation is among my top priorities and I will continue my efforts to support public acquisition of undeveloped parcels that can be added to our Southern California heritage of nearby natural lands, so vitally needed as our region faces ever-increasing urban sprawl,” said Congressman Schiff, a cosponsor of the Conservation and Reinvestment Act. This legislation would reinvest $3.1 billion annually for 15 years for state, federal, and local conservation programs such as wildlife restoration, parks and outdoor recreation, coastal conservation, and historic preservation.

“The Forest Service is honored to have an opportunity to add this property to the Angeles National Forest. The dedication to land and resource conservation of all those involved in this transaction is admirable. We fully support the efforts to protect the remaining open space along the Forest’s urban interface,” said Jody Cook, Forest Supervisor for the Angeles National Forest.

The Chaney Trail property is crossed by the Altadena Crest Trail and is used by local hikers, equestrians, and bicyclists who enjoy the property’s coast live oaks, coastal sage scrub, and chaparral-dotted landscape. The foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains are part of the Mediterranean ecosystem, one of the most endangered plant and animal ecosystems in the world. The property is home to several threatened and endangered plant and animal species, including the California gnatcatcher and the San Diego coast horned lizard. The stone ruins of an old homestead dating from the 1890s as well as much older remnants of hand-drill shells made by the Tongva Native American tribe when they occupied the area give the property historic value.

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 more than 1.3 million acres nationwide. For more than 10 years, TPL has worked to protect thousands of acres in the Angeles National Forest including the Newcomb Ranch, Knapp Ranch, and San Antonio Canyon. Elsewhere in the Los Angeles basin, TPL is working to create the first state park in downtown Los Angeles at the Cornfields property and is working to protect the Ballona Wetlands. For more information find TPL on-line at