SACRAMENTO — The largest undeveloped private property in Los Angeles County is now part of a protected ecological area that will preserve habitat and expand wildlife corridors between the San Gabriel, Sierra Madre and Santa Susanna mountains. It also moves California a step closer in its effort to conserve 30 percent of the state’s land and coastal waters by 2030, often referred to as the 30×30 initiative.
The Hathaway/Temescal Ranch property, 6,006 acres of open space, is 40 miles west of downtown Los Angeles and adjacent to both the Angeles National Forest and the Los Padres National Forest between Castaic Reservoir and Lake Piru.
“This is a big deal,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot. “This acquisition will help preserve biodiversity, expand outdoor access for Angelenos, and sequester carbon as we combat climate change. It’s just the kind of creative, voluntary action that is driving our 30×30 movement across California.”
Hathaway/Temescal Ranch is land that has been used for ranching and grazing, but other than a modest ranch home, it is undeveloped. The property includes wetlands, rolling hills and is within the flight path for condors from the nearby Sespe Condor Sanctuary.
“In the Southern California landscape, securing 6,000 acres is extraordinary, especially 6,000 acres that provide prime linkage between protected spaces, and with major water resources,” said Chair of the Governing Board of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) George Lange. “The MRCA will continue to work together with federal, State, and local government, our nonprofit partners, and landowners to preserve and protect critical open space for the public benefit.”
The property was acquired in three phases by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, and transferred to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, a local government agency exercising joint powers of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the Conejo and Rancho Simi Recreation and Park Districts.
“After nearly three decades, it’s incredible to finally be able to celebrate the protection of Temescal Ranch, one of the largest contiguous stretches of land ever conserved in Los Angeles County, that not only will bring a wide network of hiking and biking trails close to home for Los Angeles residents but will protect some of California’s most unique coastal sage scrub and chaparral ecosystems,” said California State Director and Vice President-Pacific Region for Trust for Public Land Guillermo Rodriguez. “We’re proud to have worked with our dedicated partners at MRCA and thankful to the support of our private donors and public funders to ensure permanent access to this unique and beautiful landscape.”
The California Wildlife Conservation Board was key to acquiring the land and funded almost half of the purchase, including $3.5 million in voter-approved Proposition 117 funds to secure the final phase.
The property sits within a Los Angeles County-designated “Significant Ecological Area.” It helps create critical east to west linkage between the San Gabriel and Sierra Madre mountains as well as a north to south linkage between the Sierra Madre and Santa Susanna mountains, both highlighted in the South Coast Missing Linkages Project, which is a comprehensive plan for a regional network that would maintain and restore critical habitat linkages between existing reserves. These linkages form the backbone of a conservation strategy for Southern California.
The acquisition is another step forward toward California’s 30×30 conservation goals. This commitment is part of an international movement to protect nature across the planet, which now includes 90 countries that have adopted 30×30 targets.
In April, the California Natural Resources Agency released Pathways to 30×30: Accelerating Conservation of California’s Nature, responding to Governor Gavin Newsom’s nature-based solutions executive order, which identified California’s lands as a critical yet underutilized sector in the fight against climate change.
Pathways to 30×30 outlines a roadmap, including land purchases such as the Hathaway/Temescal Ranch property, to achieve the state’s first-in-the-nation 30×30 land conservation goal. California has conserved 24 percent of its land and 16 percent of coastal waters to date. To reach 30 percent by 2030, the state’s strategy lays out several concurrent pathways, including accelerating regionally led conservation, buying strategic lands for conservation and access, expanding voluntary conservation easements, and aligning investments to maximize conservation benefits. Empowering local and regional partners is essential to achieve this target, and the strategy establishes a 30×30 Partnership to organize this coordination and collaboration.
Scientists from around the world agree that conserving one-third of the planet by 2030 is needed to combat climate change, protect people from climate impacts, and to limit the mass extinction of plant and animal life. It also represents a historic opportunity to strengthen the human connection to nature, especially for communities that have historically lacked access, including those in populous counties such as Los Angeles.