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Sheila James Kuehl Nature Preserve at Ladyface Mountain Dedicated

May 21, 2023

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 325-acre Parkland Viewed by thousands of daily motorists on Kanan Road at the gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains named for stand-out legislator who protected open space and parkland for all

 AGOURA HILLS, CA (May 21,2023) – Congresswoman Julia Brownley, State Senator Fran Pavley (ret.), Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (ret.) and Agoura Hills Mayor Chris Anstead were among the speakers and nearly a hundred community members under a canopy of oak trees at a ceremony this morning to name the breathtaking 325-acre parkland in honor of the extraordinary Sheila James Kuehl. Just south of the intersection of Kanan and Agoura Roads in Agoura Hills, a new park sign identifies the open space familiar to thousands of daily motorists traveling to and from Pacific Coast Highway.

Sheila James Kuehl has been recognized by her peers as one of the most effective elected officials in California. After serving two terms on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Kuehl retired in December 2022. Kuehl had previously served eight years in the State Senate (2000-2008) and six years in the State Assembly (1994-2000), the first openly gay person elected to the Legislature. During this time, she was a Legislative Participant on the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. In all her elected offices, Kuehl represented the Santa Monica Mountains and the Coast, and championed the preservation and protection of open space as well as public access. During her tenure, thousands of acres of open space were protected including Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve, King Gillette Ranch, and Corral Canyon Park.

As a Los Angeles County Supervisor, in addition to dedicating funding for hundreds of acres of additional open space, Kuehl presided over the adoption of the County’s updated Santa Monica Mountains North Area Plan which maximizers preservation of the area’s natural environment.

Supervisor Kuehl was an early and vociferous advocate and funder for the public protection of the open space, that until today, had been known as Triangle Ranch (named for the shape of the landholding). Kuehl understood its ecological significance and its prominence as a gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains. Supervisor Kuehl secured $2.5 million in County Proposition A funds for the Phase 1 acquisition in 2018. For Phase 4 of the project, Kuehl secured more than $ 1.4 million in Calabasas Landfill Economic Recovery Funds from the Los Angeles County Sanitation District, crucial for the completion of the transaction.

Sheila James Kuehl Nature Preserve at Ladyface Mountain connects the approximately 1,000-acre Ladyface Mountain core habitat area with the Liberty Canyon inter-mountain range wildlife corridor, and Malibu Creek State Park. The property includes broad swaths of coast live oak woodland, chaparral, purple sage scrub, native and annual grassland, and valley oak savannah as well as a significant population of the federally-listed annual wildflower Lyon’s pentachaeta and the succulent Agoura Hills dudleya.. Many rock outcroppings contain unique microsites for plants and animals.

Mountain lion, mule deer, American badger, bobcat, gray fox, ring-tailed cat, long-tailed weasel, California quail, and dozens of reptile varieties are among the animal species supported by the rugged terrain. The parkland is only a short distance from the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing over the 101 Freeway which is expected to be completed in 2024.

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is a local government public entity dedicated to the preservation and management of open space and parkland, watershed lands, trails, and wildlife habitat. The MRCA works in cooperation with other government partners to acquire parkland, participate in vital planning processes, provide natural resources and scientific expertise, and complete major park improvement projects. The MRCA manages and provides ranger services and fire protection for almost 80,000 acres of parkland that it owns and that are owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy or other agencies and provides comprehensive education and interpretation and leadership programs for youth. It is one of the lead agencies providing for the revitalization of the Los Angeles River.