State officials announced Thursday the acquisition of roughly 6,000 acres of the Hathaway/Temescal Ranch property in northern Los Angeles County, completing the protection of what has been called the largest undeveloped piece of private property in the county.
“This is a big deal,” California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said in a statement. “This acquisition will help preserve biodiversity, expand outdoor access for Angelenos, and sequester carbon as we combat climate change.”
An overall purchase price was not disclosed, but officials said it included $3.5 million from the voter-approved Proposition 117. The state Wildlife Conservation Board funded roughly half of the purchase, officials said.
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, which has been working with the state and the Trust for Public Land to protect the property, announced in 2020 the acquisition of roughly 1,200 acres of the ranch land for $1.6 million. At the time, that purchase brought the total acreage that had been acquired to 2,400.
Thursday’s announcement secures the entire 6,006-acre ranch.
“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,” MRCA board chair George Lange said in a statement. “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 land also is county-designated as a Significant Ecological Area because it sits in the 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 plan for a regional network that would maintain and restore critical habitats between existing reserves.
It’s notably home to the California condor and is near the Sespe Condor Sanctuary, in addition to mountain lions and one of the most extensive stands of coastal sage scrub and chaparral in Southern California, wildlife experts said.