Excellent wildlife habitat in the form of rugged woodlands and rocky outcrops has been added to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area thanks to the purchase of 160 acres in Los Angeles County.
The land, purchased by the National Park Service, is in three parcels that the agency had been hoping to acquire due to their pristine condition and diversity of habitat.
“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 lands fill in 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 famous motorcyclist and biker pit stop," notes a release from the NRA. The purchase also blocks the land from being developed for housing, something that would have fragmented habitat, the release added.
The nearly $2 million needed to make the purchase came from the federal government's Land and Water Conservation Fund, which exists to enable just these sorts of purchases.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area 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 is a high priority for all involved agencies. 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 was purchased, the total acres of public parkland would be approximately 100,000 acres out of approximately 153,250 acres total, according to the NRA.
The prioritized lands for acquisition would protect additional habitat for wildlife movement and preserve scenic views. 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.