December 18, 2014

MRCA Acquires Largest Open Space in the Santa Monica Mountains

 

The 703-acre Cameron Nature Preserve in Puerco Canyon will connect coastal parklands and link trails from Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Creek State Park.

MALIBU, CA—The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) closed escrow on July 24, for one of the largest public parkland acquisitions in the coastal Santa Monica Mountains in recent years.

The Cameron Nature Preserve in Puerco Canyon, purchased from film director James Cameron, permanently protects 703 acres of core coastal habitat and creates a contiguous block of public parkland from 1000-acre Corral Canyon Park at Pacific Coast Highway, inland to 7000-acre Malibu Creek State Park.

The ecologically significant new parkland encompasses drainages from three central watersheds, including the entire headwaters of Puerco Canyon. With 17,314 linear feet of USGS blueline streams, it provides crucial connection hubs for intra-mountain movement of wildlife such as mountain lions, bobcats, mule deer and gray foxes. It is an outstanding example of the rare Mediterranean biome with a range of plant communities including chaparral, coastal sage scrub, native grasslands and oak woodlands. Visitors to the new parkland will enjoy blue water views, gentle terrain and deep solitude within the core coastal Santa Monica Mountains habitat.

“It was the visionary leadership of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Senator Fran Pavley, the California Wildlife Conservation Board, the California Coastal Conservancy, and the generosity of Mr. Cameron that enabled the MRCA to permanently protect this extraordinary open space,” said Joseph T. Edmiston, Executive Officer of the MRCA. “Local park agencies have hoped to protect this land for many years. Our State and local leadership has guaranteed that this critical open space will be accessible for future generations.”


“Securing the Puerco Canyon property is key to connecting open space for the enjoyment of recreation and preservation of critical habitat supporting native plants and wildlife,” said Senator Pavley. “I am pleased the California Wildlife Conservation Board and the California State Coastal Conservancy could partner with L.A. County to purchase this beautiful property.”

"Puerco Canyon is a beautiful, environmentally significant and largely undisturbed 703-acre property in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains,” said Supervisor Yaroslavsky. “It will make a tremendous addition to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). When I visited this property several months ago, it took my breath away. Its deep canyons, majestic mountain and ocean views, creeks and wildlife make Puerco a microcosm of what makes the Santa Monica Mountains special."

Supervisor Yaroslavsky secured $6 million from the County Regional Open Space District (Proposition A) and other funds towards the acquisition. The State Wildlife Conservation Board contributed $4.5 million in Proposition 50 funds, and the State Coastal Conservancy contributed $1.5 million of Proposition 84 and other funds, for a total acquisition price of $12 million.

The MRCA will now be able to develop a key segment of the Coastal Slope Trail which traverses the new parkland. The Coastal Slope Trail alignment stretches for 70 miles from Point Mugu Lagoon to Los Liones Canyon in Topanga State Park and has been in development for decades. The Puerco Canyon segment will connect to Corral Canyon Park and a future segment on Pepperdine University open space. Miles of existing trails will be available to the public when the parkland opens to the public in the fall.

The MRCA is a local public park agency dedicated to the preservation and management of open space, urban parkland, watershed lands, trails, and wildlife habitat. The MRCA manages more than 72,000 acres of public parkland and provides natural resources and scientific expertise, critical regional planning services, operations, fire prevention and ranger services, as well as education and leadership programs for thousands of youth each year. It is one of the lead agencies revitalizing the Los Angeles River and its tributaries.