The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) joined the City of Santa Clarita yesterday in celebrating the acquisition of 243 acres of coveted Rim of the Valley Corridor open space in Agua Dulce Canyon south of State Route 14. The MRCA contributed $750,000 of the total $1,290,000 purchase price in Proposition 84 funds granted by the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC). The balance was paid by the Santa Clarita Open Space Preservation District, which was established by Santa Clarita residents in 2007.
The highest quality juniper and mixed juniper scrub-oak woodland, and a diverse blend of chaparral, desert, and willow woodland riparian habitat characterize the unspoiled open space. It is located in the central hub area of the inter-mountain range habitat linkage that allows for wildlife movement between the two main segments of the Angeles National Forest. The land is directly adjacent to three critical wildlife crossings under SR 14. The acquisition protects prime Santa Clara River watershed, which contributes to vital groundwater recharge.
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“This is a keystone acquisition located near one of the most constricted sections of the regional wildlife corridor system under State Route 14, and it sets up a permanently protected stepping stone for animals to navigate this habitat linkage,” said Paul Edelman, MRCA Chief of Natural Resources and Planning.
The acquisition is the result of an ongoing, four-year-old effort by a consortium of conservationists and planners from multiple public agencies including the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the MRCA, the Santa Clarita Watershed and Recreation Conservation Authority (SCWRCA), RMC, USDA Forest Service, Los Angeles County, the Riverside Land Conservancy, and the City of Santa Clarita to develop the Angeles Linkage Conceptual Area Protection Plan (CAPP). The Angeles Linkage CAPP is the property blueprint to guarantee a functioning wildlife corridor between the two segments of the Angeles National Forest. The CAPP implementation also protects the biodiversity of the area, secures the green belt east of the Santa Clarita city, buffers the community of Agua Dulce, and greatly enhances the Pacific Crest Trail corridor. The new public parkland sits almost in the center of the Angeles CAPP area.
The parkland abuts almost 500 acres of open space owned by the City of Santa Clarita. A portion of the County-designated Vasquez Rocks connector trail is already in place on the property. Its connection to Soledad Canyon Road southward requires trail construction and northward requires additional land acquisition to reach Los Angeles County-owned Vasquez Rocks.
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is a local government agency formed in 1985 pursuant to the Joint Powers Act with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, and the Conejo Recreation and Park District. It is dedicated to the preservation and management of local open space and parkland, trails and wildlife habitat. The MRCA manages and provides ranger services for over 60,000 acres of parkland that it owns and that is owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and other agencies, and provides comprehensive education and interpretation programs for the community. It is one of the key public agencies working to find innovative solutions to regional water quality and supply challenges, and to restore habitat, and create public parkland along the Los Angeles River and its tributaries.