Group Buys Supposed 'Birthplace' of Tarzan

From a Times Staff Writer

A rustic plot of land in Sherman Oaks said to be the place that inspired Edgar Rice Burroughs to write "Tarzan of the Apes" was purchased Tuesday by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

The 1.7-acre Oak Forest Canyon Natural Area, located at the end of Camino de la Cumbre near Beverly Glen and Valley Vista boulevards, was bought for $300,000 from a local developer who had planned to build homes on the parcel.

"The local residents were against building new homes and helped with the funding," said Dash Stolarz of the conservancy.

Most of the funds, however, came from the voter-approved state Proposition 12, the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air and Coastal Protection Bond Act. "The hardest part was coming up with the funding, but with the help of locals, we were able to get it," Stolarz said. "Now the land will be preserved forever."

The property is adjacent to the 110-acre Fossil Ridge Park, one of the most prolific paleontological sites in the Santa Monica Mountains, conservancy officials said. The area is rich with fossilized remains of marine animals.

Burroughs is said to have frequented the canyon, riding on horseback and picnicking in the area, drawing his inspiration for Tarzan.

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