Just in time for the New Year, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) announced that escrow has closed on the acquisition of the regionally significant 8.2-acre Cornerstone property on the southeast corner of Agoura Road and Cornell Road, in the city of Agoura Hills.
At one time, this property was destined for 35 residential apartment units plus retail, restaurant, and office space. Now it’s a key portion of hundreds of acres of protected open space, owned by the MRCA and the city of Agoura Hills. This land connects to and includes the western approach of the in-construction Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon south of the 101 Freeway.
After years of legal battles, a successful 2020 legal challenge won by the California Native Plant Society and the local community group, Save the Agoura Cornell Knoll, opened the door for the property (designated a Significant Ecological Area by Los Angeles County) to become parkland. The MRCA is describing the new acquisition as part of the northern gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Acquisition of this property was secured by a $2,300,000 grant from the State Wildlife Conservation Board and a $330,000 grant from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
A segment of the Rim of the Valley Trail identified in the NPS Trail Plan, and the LA County Regional Trail System, already exists on the property and will link with the City of Agoura Hills Linear Park Trail proposal and the existing Paramount Ranch Connector Trail.