2011-04-28 / Community

Parkland added to mountains recreation area

SCENIC ACQUISITION—Shown above is some of the acreage recently tacked on to the SMNRA. SCENIC ACQUISITION—Shown above is some of the acreage recently tacked on to the SMNRA. The National Park Service recently purchased 160 acres of land in Los Angeles County, bringing the total public parkland within Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMNRA) to almost 79,500 acres.

The three parcels have long been coveted because of their pristine natural condition and diverese habitat ranging from oak and sycamore woodlands to rocky outcrops.

“This is wonderful undisturbed habitat,” said acting park superintendent Lorenza Fong. “ The plants and animals the habitat supports are very diverse for the relatively small area covered.”

The acquistion will complete public land ownership on the north face of Castro Crest from Malibu Creek State Park to federal parkland reaching Mulholland Highway near the Rock Store, a motorcyclist and biker pit stop.

The acquisition permanently assures habitat connectivity that was at risk due to potential commercial development.

The $1.88 million needed to acquire the parcels came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman introduced the legislation to fund the acquisitions in the fiscal year 2010 budget.

The Trust for Public Land also contributed toward the acquisition by purchasing an option on the property that was being held until federal funding was secured.

The SMNRA is the largest urban-adjacent recreation area in the country. The national recreation area is jointly managed by California State Parks, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the National Park Service.

Land acquisition for public parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains remains a high priority for the environmental interests. In total, approximately 20,000 more acres of land are identified within the recreation area boundary as suitable priority acquisitions for park purposes.

If all identified property in the Santa Monica Mountains were purchased, the total public parkland would cover approximately 100,000 out of 153,250 acres.

The lands identified for acquisition would protect additional habitat for wildlife movement and preserve important scenic views, authorities say.

The acquisition wish-list also includes two more parcels essential for the completion of the 65- mile Backbone Trail and coastal lands needed for the envisioned 80-mile Coastal Slope Trail.

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