Nearly 500 Acres in L.A.'s Verdugo Mountains is Opened for Public Use
Preservation group will dedicate the purchase today (May 9th)
By Kerry Cavanaugh, Staff Writer, L.A. Daily News
With government funding drying up, a local private foundation has gathered donations to buy 485 acres in the Verdugo Mountains for public open space.
The Fond Land Preservation Foundation (http://flpf.org) will dedicate the open space acquisition today, adding another piece to a growing swath of public land in an area eyed for development.
"Most people would not have guessed that it was still possible to purchase 485 acres of open space in the city of Los Angeles," said Bill Eick, a Shadow Hills resident and member of the Fond foundation's board of directors.
The land is in the triangle of hills at Sunland Boulevard, La Tuna Canyon Road and the Foothill Freeway.
Eick said preserving the site will maintain a tenuous wildlife corridor between the Verdugo Mountains and the Angeles National Forest. It's also a link in the Rim of the Valley trail system being considered by the federal government.
The Fond Land Preservation Foundation bought the land for $4 million. The nonprofit foundation was formed in 2004 with a bequest by the Fond family. The group also has raised additional funds from private donations.
Private foundations, such as the Fond group, have been a catalyst for saving land in the Verdugo Mountains, said Councilwoman Wendy Greuel.
"We were particularly excited that this kind of private foundation is not only buying land, but partnering with government agencies to protect the Verdugo Mountains," she said.
With the dedication, some 710 acres in the Sunland-Shadow Hills area will have been preserved. An additional 601-acre swath is being donated to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy by the 221-home Canyon Hills development.
Greuel also has a proposal to buy 224 acres with Proposition K bond funding.
"We will be saving this land in perpetuity for our children and grandchildren," Greuel said.
Eick said the Fond foundation and similar groups can move quickly to buy available open space.
"Private foundations have a place in preserving open spaces, especially in times of budgetary constraints of state and local governments," Eick said.