Alarmed by the loss of open space throughout Los Angeles County, lawmakers moved Tuesday to preserve a rustic lifestyle threatened by suburban sprawl.
The county Board of Supervisors directed its planning and parks staff to work with local cities "to ensure that an equestrian lifestyle is preserved and expanded" in the San Fernando, San Gabriel, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.
The move, spearheaded by Supervisor Michael Antonovich, aims to balance the need for new housing with respect for a rural way of life that once dominated the landscape. Rapid population growth, particularly in the county's northern reaches represented by Antonovich, has already replaced many horse ranches with neat subdivisions.
Tom Barron, a Santa Clarita environmentalist, praised the board for taking a stand.
"Santa Clarita was once a true cow town," he said. These days, however, "both Newhall and Tejon Ranch are being closed and we're now defining the equestrian lifestyle as a recreational activity."