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LAGUNA BEACH : Canyon Preservation to Be Focus of Event

A section of Laguna Canyon known as Sycamore Hills will be open to the public for a free concert and other activities Sept. 10.

Dubbed “Hands Along the Canyon,” the event is one of a string of activities designed to focus attention on Laguna Canyon before a Sept. 13 court hearing on construction of the San Joaquin Hills toll road.

The 17-mile road would cut through the environmentally sensitive canyon as it links Newport Beach and San Juan Capistrano.

Leading up to next month’s concert, road opponents will gather Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the graded site to replant trees and coastal sage scrub felled by bulldozers earlier this summer.

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In July, a court allowed bulldozers to begin grading in the canyon but within days a second court order temporarily halted the work. Road opponents have attempted to focus the public’s attention on the canyon since then.

The injunction affects only a 4.4-mile link between Newport Coast Drive and El Toro Road and 1.7 acres owned by UC Irvine.

The Laguna Beach City Council agreed unanimously last week to open the city-owned land to the public for the event. Sycamore Hills is about three-fourths a mile north of El Toro Road.

Participants will be allowed to gather next to the planned tollway site to listen to music, hike, gather environmental information and enjoy what the city is calling a “family day in the canyon.”

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