Part of San Gabriel Mountain Hiking, Horse Network : Rim of Valley Trail Corridor to Get State Funds

Times Staff Writer

The state is expected soon to give the cities of La Canada Flintridge and Glendale a total of $215,000 to buy about 200 acres of scenic parkland for the Rim of the Valley Trail Corridor, a network of mountain hiking and equestrian trails that planners hope one day will ring the San Fernando and La Crescenta valleys and connect with trails in the San Gabriel Mountains.

The Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy, a state agency dedicated to preserving the mountains, recently voted to award Glendale $125,000 to purchase a 100-acre parcel of undeveloped land between the Burbank border and Brand Park. Neighboring La Canada Flintridge received $90,000 to buy two parcels, totaling 100 acres, south of the county-owned Descanso Gardens.

Hikers are now, in effect, trespassing on the privately owned tracts, officials said. If completed, the land acquisition will fill in crucial gaps in the publicly owned property along the trail corridor which goes as far east as the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.

Doubt About Use Removed

"It will be bringing a de facto trail to public access and removing any shadow over future use," said Sonia Thompson, the Trail Corridor program manager for the conservancy.

Both cities have to negotiate the purchases with the current owners of the land, who have expressed interest in selling, officials said. The municipalities, not the state, will control the land after acquisition.

Henry Agonia, Glendale's director of parks and recreation, said the land just west of Brand Park would be "a key acquisition." He declined to disclose details of the negotiations. The Glendale City Council voted to accept the state money last month.

The Glendale land would allow trails through Brand Park to hook up with trails in Burbank's Wildwood Canyon Park and with fire trails in the Verdugo Mountains.

Connections to Other Trails

In voting last week to accept the grant, La Canada Flintridge Councilwoman Barbara Pieper said the possible purchase was "something that has been in the back of everybody's mind for a long time, and now it's finally jelled."

That land would allow eastern hookups in Oak Grove Park with the Flint Wash and Gould Wash trails and to the west with a city-owned trail in Glendale that provides access to fight brush fires.

In La Canada Flintridge, the two parcels include parts of Cherry Canyon and the so-called Lanterman property owned by the University of Southern California. In a recent arrangement, Lloyd Lanterman, the sole survivor of the socially and politically prominent family, swapped the undeveloped land and an undisclosed cash settlement for the half-share of the Lanterman family house that was originally left to USC. That deal now allows the landmark house on Encinas Drive to be left, after Lanterman's death, to the city of La Canada Flintridge for a combination city hall and community center.

The money for the acquisition is to come from $750,000 appropriated by the state Legislature in September for the Rim of the Valley Trail Corridor from state parkland bonds.

Joseph Edmiston, executive director of the conservancy, said most of that money will be used to improve trails and public access points such as parking lots. The Glendale and La Canada Flintridge purchases are the only land purchases to have been approved for the corridor since it was established last year.

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