Foundation saves 56 acres of Rim Rock Canyon

The final portion of grant money generated from a proposition passed in 2000 will be going to protect a 56-acre swath of Rim Rock Canyon.

The Laguna Canyon Foundation spearheaded the acquisition of the land previously owned by the McGehee family. The $1.5 million-purchase is a partnership with the city of Laguna Beach, the county of Orange, and California Coastal Conservancy.

The city owns the land that extends from Temple Hills Drive to Old Top of the World Road and west to Morningside Drive in Rim Rock Canyon, according to a foundation release. The grant funding came from the Coastal Conservancy from Proposition 12, a 2000 bond measure.

The county will maintain the property with its OC Parks division as part of the 4,000-acre Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

The undeveloped property is primarily low-use with a few historic trails and "iconic cliffs," said foundation Executive Director Max Borella.

"We don't anticipate many land-management issues," Borella said. "[The land] will have the same use it has now."

Borella said the property has a noteworthy history. The McGehees sold the land once before, but the buyers defaulted, giving the land back to the family, Borella said.

The foundation approached the McGehees a year ago about purchasing the property.

"They liked the fact we would preserve it as open space," Borella said.

Since 2000, Proposition 12 has provided grant funding for more than 310 acres of open space at a cost of $10.4 million.

As for future purchases, Borella said he and his staff will spend the next year identifying remaining open spaces.

"As for Proposition 12, this is the last [purchase] for land acquisition," he said.

Twitter: @AldertonBryce

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