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U.S. to Spend $9.5 Million for Mountain Park Acreage

December 15, 1987|SAM ENRIQUEZ | Times Staff Writer

The National Park Service is spending $9.5 million in federal funds for an additional 2,000 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains to eventually be used for hiking and equestrian trails, park service officials said Monday.

Most of the 52 parcels of property in the purchase are scattered between Topanga and Trancas canyons. They are being sold by private owners who say they have financial hardships, said Nancy Ehorn, assistant superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Congress this year gave the park service $6 million to spend on such hardship purchases, she said. The remaining $3.5 million was money left over from previous years and designated for purchase of the land.

"There have been some property owners who have held onto their properties for several years anticipating purchase by the park service and, in the meantime, have found themselves in some sort of financial hardship," Ehorn said. "With this money we have been able to clear up most of the hardship list."

The new parkland will bring to about 54,000 acres the property owned by local, state and federal agencies in the 150,000-acre Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Ehorn said. More than half of the federally designated recreation area, which includes the communities of Malibu and Topanga Canyon, will remain privately owned, she said.

Land being purchased with the federal funds includes parcels ranging from one acre to more than 80 acres, Ehorn said. Some of the parcels are in Trancas and Zuma canyons and along the Backbone Trail west of Kanan Road, she said.

About $560,000 in federal money will be used to complete the purchase of the Peter Strauss Ranch in Agoura, Conservancy officials said.

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