Thousands Celebrate Saving Land Behind The Hollywood Sign

Thousands of Hollywood area residents joined together Thursday to celebrate the protection of the land behind the Hollywood Sign, capping an effort which will forever protect the view of one of the world’s most famous signs.

“Today is a day to celebrate this community coming together to preserve the land they love,” said Will Rogers, President of The Trust For Public Land (TPL), the national conservation organization which led the effort to protect the 138 acres behind the sign. The land is being added to Griffith Park.

Thursday’s community gathering celebrated a campaign which raised the needed $11.7 million to buy the land, and included donations from Hollywood leaders such as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner; The Tiffany & Co. Foundation; philanthropist Aileen Getty and thousands of residents of the Hollywood area, along with donations from a dozen countries ranging from Australia to France.

“This is a peak moment for the City of Los Angeles as we celebrate with The Trust for Public Land and the angels who helped us expand Griffith Park by acquiring Cahuenga Peak,” said Los Angeles Councilmember Tom LaBonge. “The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Aileen Getty and Hugh M. Hefner as well as the people of Los Angeles and California join us in this great celebration. They’re all angels in the City of Angels.”

Hefner first gave $900,000 to the land conservation effort, but recently gave an additional $100,000 to bring his total donation to $1 million.

“Hollywood is more than just a city and the Hollywood sign is not simply a sign but a symbol of inspiration for those like me who grew up loving movies,” Hefner said. “I’m pleased to see that this internationally iconic landmark will continue to exist and inspire the hopes and dreams of future generations all over the world.”

Anisa Kamadoli Costa, President of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, said, “The Tiffany & Co. Foundation is honored to be a part of the historic Campaign to Save Cahuenga Peak, to help protect the view of the Hollywood Sign, and to increase access to this natural environment for residents and visitors of Los Angeles, as a new addition to Griffith Park.”

Joseph Edmiston, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, said, “The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is gratified that so many organizations, citizens and donors joined the Conservancy’s decades-long effort to preserve this significant part of the Griffith Park core habitat for future generations.”

John Donnelly, executive director of the California Wildlife Conservation Board, said, “The protection of this land is an accomplishment which will benefit everyone in Los Angeles and California. We are protecting recreation and wildlife corridors as well as one of the world’s most famous views.”

The campaign gained world-wide attention last February when TPL covered the sign with letters reading “Save The Peak,” a reference to Cahuenga Peak, the mountain ridge behind and to the left of the sign, which had been owned by a Chicago-based consortium of real estate developers. The land had been on the market for $22 million and could have been turned into four luxury home sites.

Hollywood leaders donated to the campaign, including major donations from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, CBS Corporation, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, the Lucasfilm Foundation, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Steven Spielberg, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Time Warner Inc., and The Walt Disney Company Foundation. Other Hollywood contributors include Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and Norman Lear.

The Carl W. Johnson Foundation contributed $100,000.

The Trust for Public Land, founded in 1972, protects land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, wilderness, and open space. Since it was founded, TPL has protected land in 47 states. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations.