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Home > Natural Resources

Tejon Ranch and Environmentalists Reach Agreement for Development and Wilderness

Tejon Ranch Co., will set aside 178,000 acres and provide an option for public purchase of 62,000 additional acres, while developing 26,000 homes and commercial properties in Southern California.

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May 2008 -- A coalition of environmental groups and a developer have agreed on a landmark plan to conserve 90% of the largest chunk of privately owned wilderness remaining in Southern California, the Tejon Ranch, the 270,000-acre ranch.

The developer, the Tejon Ranch Co., has agreed to set aside 178,000 acres and provide an option for public purchase of 62,000 additional acres -- 49,000 to create a state park, 10,000 to realign a 37-mile segment of the Pacific Crest Trail through the heart of the wild lands and the rest to provide docent-led tours of sensitive habitat. It also will pull back development plans along some ridgelines considered crucial to the California condor.

In exchange, a coalition led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, Audubon California, the Planning and Conservation League and the Endangered Habitats League will not oppose the company's plans to build three urban centers, including more than 26,000 homes as well as hotels, condominiums and golf courses at the western and southwestern edge of the ranch.

Eight times the size of San Francisco, the unfragmented 270,000-acre property embraces the juncture of four ecosystems: Mojave Desert grasslands, San Joaquin Valley oak woodlands, Tehachapi pine forests and coastal mountain ranges.

"For Southern California, this is the ecological equivalent of the Louisiana Purchase," said Bill Corcoran, senior regional representative for the Sierra Club. "It is the only place in the region where within a few minutes a visitor can ascend from Joshua tree woodlands to oak-filled canyons on up to vast plains with views across the coastal range."

The agreement guarantees Tejon Ranch Co. the right to proceed with massive development projects near Interstate 5: Centennial, a planned community of 23,000 homes east of Quail Lake in northern Los Angeles County; and Tejon Mountain Village in southern Kern County, which will include a resort featuring spas and boutique hotels, commercial space, golf courses and 3,400 estate homes. The Tejon Industrial Complex in the Kern County portion of the ranch is already home to IKEA's 2-million-square-foot main distribution warehouse, among others.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, said they are satisfied that the condor would be protected under the new plan.

"The condor is a very high-profile species, and there's been significant public investment in its recovery," he said, "and throughout these negotiations an enormous amount of attention was paid to ensuring that this agreement would be consistent with its recovery, and we believe it does so."

Read the rest of the story at LATIMES.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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