August 28, 2007

Record Amount Of Land Saved In California


Press Release
Rare Earth News: Connecting California

With Californians packing our beaches and state and national parks this summer, a new online guide to the millions of acres of new California parkland has just been posted at Connecting California.

Together, our State parkland and wildlife habitat agencies and the Federal government have bought and preserved a record amount, or more than 1.5 million acres of California natural lands and wildlife habitat between 1/1/2000 and August of 2007. This comes after a 12 year lull (1988 to 2000) between approval of California Parks bonds. Since the year 2000, voters have approved 5 bond issues to save land statewide.

To put this in context, the recently preserved land is 42% of the size of the land covered by urban sprawl in the state, based on a year 2000 State Housing Department study which found that around 3.5 million acres of California was then urban sprawl, equaling over 100 years of development. This newly preserved land equals over 4 times the acreage of the State’s largest city, Los Angeles. This 1.5 million acres is also double the size of Yosemite National Park.

Many of these purchases have been in partnership with local land trusts, which are non-profit charitable groups.

The just-released report is part of the California Conservation Lands Inventory, which has been assembled by Connecting California, the place on the web to find information about saving land in our state, connecting our parks together, and supporting the groups that are doing it. Included in the report are maps and photos of the new parklands and links to reports, background information and the local environmental groups that helped make the purchases happen.

What are taxpayers getting for their money?

Buying up the rivers that flow from the mountains to the sea in Ventura, L.A., Riverside and San Diego Counties;

Buying up a ring of parks and wildlife areas around the L.A. and San Francisco Bay areas;

Buying up thousands of acres of redwood forests on the Northern California coast;

Buying river park corridors in the Central Valley’s Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers;

Buying the old railroad checkerboard lands in the Mojave Desert.


-California Desert-San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties—700,000 acres

-Hearst Ranch -San Luis Obispo County—82,000 acres

-Blue Ridge-Berryessa Natural Area/Yolo Bypass-Yolo and Napa Counties—46,000 acres

-Mendocino County Coast timberlands—46,000 (an additional 50,000 acres has recently been saved with private funds)

-San Diego County—40,800 acres

-Diablo and Gabilan Range-Monterey, Santa Clara, San Benito and Fresno Counties—38,900 acres

-Lassen Foothills-Tehama County—34,000 acres

-Riverside County—34,000 acres

-Carrizo Plain-San Luis Obispo County—30,000 acres

-Mill Creek-Del Norte County—25,500 acres

-Sierra Valley—Sierra, Nevada and Plumas Counties—24,000 acres

-Mendocino National Forest Inholding-Glenn County—23,000 acres

-Merced County wetlands and vernal pools—21,000 acres

-Butte County—20,000 acres

-Kern County—19,000 acres

-Shasta County—16,000 acres

-Anza-Borrego Desert-San Diego County—11,000 acres

-Sacramento County—10,000 acres

-Big Sur-Monterey County—8,500 acres

-Santa Clara River-Ventura County—2000 acres

We conclude that, along with well-informed voters and strong local control of development decisions, “the best way to truly control urban sprawl is to buy that land and add it to our state’s great park system”.


-San Bernardino County: 574 acres bought at Camp Cady, San Bernardino Mountains & Deep Creek and the Colton Dunes;

-375 acres were added to Chino Hills State Park (Because the park is also in Riverside and Orange Counties, we have counted the addition only here, although it may actually be in one or both of the other Counties.)


731,000 acres in the Mojave Desert were bought from the Catellus Corp. by the U.S. Government; some is in Riverside and Imperial Counties. See Wildlands Conservancy projects for more details.