A racoon in the wild. Photo from Pixabay.
A racoon in the wild. Photo from Pixabay.

Preservation groups Tuesday announced the purchase of a 17-acre mountain ridge for open space and wildlife habitat in Laurel Canyon.

The property between Lookout Mountain Avenue and Stanley Hills Drive was purchased as the result of the “Let’s Buy a Mountain” non-profit donation campaign led by Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW) and the Laurel Canyon Association, which aimed to turn the land over to the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority for management and permanent preservation.

Government agencies, neighborhood special events, resident and community donations, philanthropic support, and even gifts from some of Laurel Canyon’s storied former residents helped complete the purchase.

Eagles leader Don Henley made a $100,000 donation in memory of his friend and collaborator — and fellow former Laurel Canyon resident — Glenn Frey. “I greatly appreciate your efforts to preserve the rare undeveloped lands that remain in the Laurel Canyon area,” Henley said. “These resources are precious, both in terms of wildlife habitat, and in terms of the human history that resides there.”

The David Schwartz Foundation donated the final $300,000 necessary to close the sale. “Our family foundation is very pleased to have been a part of this important effort to preserve the wild nature of this land for all time,” said John Schwartz. “Protecting open space within thriving cities brings many unique attributes to our daily lives and informs in very important ways, the character of a community.”

The Laurel Canyon Association stated that protecting the land “is a dream come true” that could not have been successful without the efforts of local residents, environmental organizations and governmental agencies including the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chair Sheila Kuehl.

Kuehl gave a $100,000 grant to the project and additional government support came from Los Angeles City Councilmembers David Ryu and Paul Koretz.

“We celebrate this important community accomplishment with all of them,” said Tony Tucci, chair of CLAW. “As a result of our collaborative fundraising efforts, this very large piece of L.A.’s greenbelt will be protected forever from the threat of development.”

“Our parks and hillside open spaces are the lungs of our city and this mountain ridge is critical habitat to a variety of species including deer, coyote, bobcats, pumas, owls and red-tailed hawks,” he said. “This land will be maintained as open space where the preservation of natural vegetation and wildlife come first.”

–City News Service

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