Conservation Update, 2016 Sep | Santa Ana Mtns National Monument, Fairview Park, Esperanza, Madrona

Two different, but overlapping, proposals have been made to designate part or all of our backyard Santa Ana Mountains as a National Monument. Stay tuned to see if a Monument is designated, and if so, what it includes!

1. The Santa Ana Mountains to Sea National Monument would encompass about 101,500 acres of OC, principally:

– Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

– Crystal Cove State Park

– Upper Newport Bay

– Bommer Canyon

– about 1/3 of the Trabuco District (Cleveland National Forest).

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, is expected to introduce a bill proposing this Monument to Congress in September. See for details.

2.  A small group, which included activists from the Sierra Club and the California Chaparral Institute, met earlier this summer to discuss a Santa Ana Mountains National Monument that would encompass the entire range, with about the same boundaries as the Trabuco District.

Another meeting on this proposal is scheduled for Sept. 22, 10-1, at the Wildomar Library, 34303 Mission Trail, Wildomar, CA. About 35 are signed to attend, including several OC residents. If you would like to attend, contact Linda Castro, . Video call-in is available. To carpool from San Juan Capistrano, contact Celia Kutcher, .

The idea of designating the Santa Ana Mountains as a National Monument has been around for a while. One version, the “Grizzly Bear National Monument” was so-called in honor of the last grizzly bear in California, which was killed in Trabuco Canyon in 1908.

There is precedent for turning a National Forest into a National Monument. In 2014, large parts of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests were designated the San Gabriel Mts. National Monument.

Two initiative measures on Fairview Park are expected to be on the ballot in the City of Costa Mesa:

– The initiative sponsored by the Fairview Park Preservation Alliance calls for keeping Fairview Park as a natural and open space that allows passive recreation while protecting the site’s native habitats (including a complex of vernal pools). See for background and wording of the initiative.

– The initiative sponsored by three pro-development City Council members calls for a sports complex and fields for organized team sports.

Esperanza Hills:  In early July, the court decided in favor of the co-defendants (CNPS among them), stopping the project—at least temporarily. The Esperanza Hills proponents’ response is pending.

Madrona:  Last November, the court decided in favor of Hills for Everyone and co-defendants (CNPS among them), stopping the project. In January, the Madrona proponents filed an appeal against the decision. Hills for Everyone and co-defendants have filed to defend the decision. Fundraising to support the defense is underway; a Stop Madrona event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24th, 4:30 to 7:30 PM, in Brea. Get tickets: Background and details at and

—Celia Kutcher. Conservation Chair

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