The City has added more than a thousand acres of open space to the perimeter of Santa Clarita, with the purchase of the Rodda/Agua Dulce Partner properties and 842 acres in Elsmere Canyon.
The Rodda/Agua Duce Partner parcel encompasses 243 acres east of the City limits. The property is adjacent to existing City-owned open space (Wagoner), expanding the City’s greenbelt and providing for additional wildlife connectivity between the Angeles National Forest from the south to the north.
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The newly acquired property is located east of the City limits; an area studied and under a Conservation Area Protection Plan. This has provided an opportunity to utilize state and federal conservation funds to enhance wildlife corridors and protect open spaces. The total purchase price for the 243 acres is $1,290,000 ($5,308 per acre).
The purchase of the Rodda/Agua Dulce Partner parcel was an effort to leverage City of Santa Clarita Open Space District funds through collaboration between the City, Riverside Land Conservancy, and a grant obtained by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy from the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC).Due to the State’s budget crisis, the $750,000 RMC grant was delayed for nearly two years. The purchase was pushed along until the State was able to sell bonds again and the money became available.
“This acquisition was a long process, but well worth it to further our commitment to open space preservation,” said Mayor Laurene Weste.
On Thursday, the city closed escrow on the 842 acre parcel in Elsmere Canyon. Elsmere Canyon is located in the Newhall Pass and is adjacent to the Angeles National Forest, and the protected lands in Whitney and Placerita Canyons. Elsmere Canyon is an area of significant importance as it provides connectivity to existing wildlife corridors and increases the City’s greenbelt of protected open space.
The City was able to leverage Open Space District funds by partnering with Los Angeles County through a Proposition A Grant, and funds dedicated by Supervisor Michael Antonovich and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC). The total purchase price was $6,000,000. The City’s Open Space District funds committed $3,850,000; The County of Los Angeles, $1,750,000 and SMMC provided $500,000.
“This is what we were voting for when we passed our Open Space District,” said Mayor Laurene Weste, who spearheaded the passing of the Santa Clarita Open Space Preservation District in 2007. “Between Elsmere and the acquisition of the 243 acre Rodda/Agua Dulce property, this has been an amazing week of over 1,000 acres of preservation for our community.”
Elsmere Canyon is located on the Rim of the Valley corridor, a popular spot for local hikers, equestrians and nature enthusiasts. In the 1990’s, local community advocates, with the support of United States Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Howard McKeon, fought to keep this pristine canyon from becoming the largest landfill in the U.S.
For more information on the property purchase please contact Barbara Blankenship, the City’s Acquisition Specialist for Open Space, at 661-286-4086 or visit santaclaritaopenspace.com