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New Footbridge Links 2 Parks

March 27, 2000|ZANTO PEABODY

Dedicating a footbridge at the base of a picturesque ravine, conservation officials said Sunday the link stands as a victory monument in the ongoing battle to conserve parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains.

The 60-foot-long, 6-foot-wide Viewridge Trail bridge connects the rugged trail from Summit Valley Edmund D. Edelman Park to Topanga State Park.

Funded by $70,000 in county Proposition A money, the bridge is about 1 1/2 miles down Viewridge Trail, which is accessed from Viewridge Road in an unincorporated area near Calabasas.

"This project shows a partnership between nonprofits and government agencies works," said Ruth Gerson, president of the Santa Monica Trails Council. "It also extends the master conservation trail and allows hikers to get from the Summit Valley . . . into Topanga State Park."

In 1994, the county Board of Supervisors ended 16 years of bitter dispute over the 257-acre parcel in Suttphur Canyon, which was once targeted for a development that included 97 luxury homes and a golf course.

The board rejected the development and approved a deal in which the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy bought the land from the Disney family trust for $19.9 million.

A dozen environmental groups and about 30 teenage members of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps from South-Central and East Los Angeles helped build the fiberglass and wood bridge, which was shipped partly assembled from Pennsylvania.

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