On Friday, 842 acres of Elsmere Canyon, an area of land just east of where the 14 and 5 freeways connect, officially became designated Open Space. Had certain interests had their way, Elsmere Canyon could have become the nation’s largest landfill. Today, that threat is gone. Congratulations and big thanks to the city of Santa Clarita, the Santa Clarita Valley Preservation Committee, the County of Los Angeles, Supervisor Michael Antonovich, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for making this happen! Richard Alarcon please take note!
From the Daily News:
The land was transferred into public holding after Santa Clarita provided $3.85 million toward the purchase, while Los Angeles County committed $1.75 million and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy provided $500,000.
The purchase also preserves Native American artifacts from the Chumash and Tatavium tribes that date back to 450 A.D., as well as sea fossils dating back to when the range was still under the ocean. There are 20 sensitive species of wildlife and about 8,000 trees.
“It is so close to our urban neighborhood that when you walk in, it gives you the ability to walk into a different world,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean. “You can look into a world that used to be.”
“This is a resource that needed to be saved,” added McLean, who founded the Santa Clarita Valley Canyons Preservation Committee, which co-sponsored legislation to fund the preservation of Whitney and Elsmere Canyons. “It did not need to be buried under 190 million tons of garbage.”
The acquisition of the land is part of a larger effort to designate wildlands surrounding five valleys in L.A. and Ventura counties as open space.
The Rim of the Valley Corridor plan proposes that the mountains surrounding the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys are preserved not only to provide recreational opportunities but to allow wildlife room to migrate and maintain healthy gene pools.
The dedication brought that plan one step closer to fruition, said L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
“Our hope … is that it will lay a network of trails that will reach from the Pacific Ocean in Ventura County to Angeles Crest National Forest,” Antonovich said.