Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors

1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Completing the Picture:

Current Claremont Wildlands Conservancy Projects
By Suzanne Thompson, President, CWC-- Volume 8, Issue 1 June 2008

It is a treat to hike through Johnson’s Pasture on a crisp morning and enjoy the clean air and a chance for a glance of a wild critter. But most mornings, my route starts to the east and south of the pasture in the flatlands where Pomello crosses the Thompson Creek flood channel.

I follow the road across the creek and look for the acorn woodpeckers who have appropriated a telephone pole as their communal acorn storage unit. It is spring so the flashy orange and black Bullocks’ orioles and their close cousins, the hooded orioles, have returned to hold raucous conversations in the treetops and set up nesting territories.

The road ends abruptly at a high cobbled-up gate and a no trespassing warning. House wrens, California quail, and common yellowthroats are singing beyond this point and I know from before the gate appeared that the road wanders into a fine little canyon lined with wildflowers and from there climbs to the west to Johnson’s Pasture.

Like me, many of you know this land and have walked it with your family or friends in the past, so you can appreciate the opportunities it offers for walking, biking, and exploring nature.

From a map of the Claremont hillsides, you get another perspective: The hillsides look like an almost-completed giant jigsaw puzzle. The property beyond the gate is one big missing piece that is needed to finish the southeast edge of the hillsides and give another route into Johnson’s Pasture.

CWC is working with the Trust for Public Land to buy the 158-acre piece and complete this part of the hillside picture. Like the quest for Johnson’s Pasture, it won’t be a quick or easy process. We’ll need a willing seller, an agreed-on purchase price, and the biggest challenge—the money to buy the land. We are currently exploring state, county, and federal sources, and hope to get parts of the funding from several agencies.

Just to the south of the land behind the gate is a much smaller puzzle piece, but one with historical significance for Claremont. The five acres with an existing building would make a fine educational and interpretive center for visitors to the Claremont Wilderness Park. We have started a conversation with the owners of this property with the hope of eventually getting the funding to purchase this piece as well. When we succeed in adding these two properties to the Claremont Wilderness Park, the gate will come down and we can enjoy walking in the canyon and accessing Johnson’s Pasture from the east. Even better, we will have saved more of a scarce commodity: rapidly vanishing native habitat in Southern California.

Your generous support and donations in the past made our work to acquire Johnson’s Pasture possible. With your further support, we will continue to have the community backing and financial resources to bring these two new projects to a successful conclusion.

La Verne Expands Its Preserved Open Space in Foothills
By Georgeann Andrus

Our neighbors to our west, led by the La Verne Land Conservancy and Executive Director Kathy Winsor, have been working with the Trust for Public Land, the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles River and Mountains Conservancy and the San Gabriel Mountains Regional Conservancy to preserve open space in their foothills since 2002.
They have received $6.5 million dollars from the state’s Wildlife Conservation Board and additional money from LA County to purchase land, adding some 40 acres to the already established Marshall Canyon Regional Park and, more recently, significant new acreage that bridges between Webb Canyon to our northwest and Marshall Canyon.

These purchases help establish a contiguous corridor across our northern wilderness area from our Claremont Wilderness Park to the San Dimas Area and beyond.

The city of La Verne is currently developing a Management Plan for the land they have received in these acquisitions. The community has participated in the development of this plan through a series of three public meetings. By having the connections between the wilderness areas of our communities, opportunities are created which allow for regional trails to be developed, ultimately connecting into the National Forest north of our wilderness areas.

In developing their Management Plan and proposing new hiking trails, LaVerne has faced some of the same issues recently experienced in Claremont, where parking concerns have raised questions which could jeopardize access to the publicly owned wilderness areas.

Although from the air the acquired open space in our region may appear, as the Trust for Public Land described, as a “patch work quilt” of protected space, it represents a significant effort toward achieving the goal of a continuous wildlife corridor and watershed access for the hillsides from Claremont’s Wilderness Park on the eastern margin of the San Gabriel Mountains across those foothills to the west.

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