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New law protects Elsmere Canyon

Wilderness area once eyed for massive garbage dump now preserved

Posted: October 12, 2009 9:47 p.m.
Updated: October 13, 2009 6:00 a.m.
 

A local canyon once projected to be home to a gargantuan garbage dump was protected by the stroke of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's pen late Sunday, among some 200 bills signed.

Authored by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, AB 110 adds Elsmere Canyon to the Rim of the Valley Corridor, partially in the Angeles National Forest. Elsmere Canyon is located east of where Newhall Avenue dead-ends at Highway 14.

The bill, introduced by Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, repealed language placed into state law in 1999 that prohibited Elsmere Canyon from being included within the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy's Rim of the Valley Trail Corridor because at that time Elsmere Canyon was being eyed as a 190-million-ton landfill site.

The canyon is an important habitat riddled with streams and waterfalls, one of which is some 50 feet high. Around 8,000 oak trees are contained within its approximately 2,700 acres.

Browning Ferris Industries officially withdrew its application to use the Elsmere site as a landfill in 2004.

The Santa Clarita City Council backed Smyth's bill as a sponsor on Jan. 27.

The corridor consists of the mountains surrounding the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys and the Santa Susana Mountains.

"I am extremely happy that AB 110 has been signed and is moving forward," City Councilwoman Marsha McLean said in a written statement. "The language that places Elsmere Canyon back into the Rim of the Valley corridor will go a long way towards protecting and preserving this beautiful canyon."

Since the 1990s, McLean has vigorously campaigned to keep Elsmere free from becoming a landfill site.

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