With the backdrop of a perfectly blue sky and warm weather surrounding those gathered, include five people on horseback, Mayor Marsha McLean dedicated the latest parcel to join the greenbelt surrounding the city with open space.
The property, 526 acres in Haskell Canyon, is full of coastal sage scrub, oak woodlands and other threatened and endangered habitat and species that can now be enjoyed by hikers and outdoors enthusiasts.
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“It borders the Angeles National Forest, north of the city,” McLean explained. “Residents in the vicinity will be pleased to learn that this property was previously slated for development by a San Diego company who planned to build more than 500 homes on it. Now, it will forever be preserved by the city’s Open Space Preservation District.”
Members of the Saugus Action Committee and the city’s Open Space Committee were among those in attendance and several people expressed their happiness that the land would not be turned into more residential sprawl.
The total cost to acquire the property was $3.1 million; the city’s open space district fund contributed $2.9 million and the Land Bank Fund contributed $235,000.
“The Haskell Canyon Open Space property has many entry points and existing trails from residential communities throughout the Saugus area,” McLean explained. “In the future, the City will be working on trail design, new signs and cleanup to accommodate equestrians, bicycles, and hiker's needs.”
“To date, the City has acquired over 6100 acres of open space that will never be developed on or built upon,” she continued. “Of that acreage, approximately 1,851 acres was purchased through the City’s Open Space Preservation District, with much more to come.”