In an email dated November 16, 2013, State Parks Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap once again affirmed that lower Los Liones Canyon will remain public parkland and the gateway to Topanga State Park. Replying to an email sent out by Palisades Coalition: keepmarquezchartersafe, Superintendent Sap stated:
“To Whom it May Concern,
Contrary to the what is being purported in an email sent out on Friday November 15th, State Parks is not interested nor considering releasing the any part of Topanga State Park including any portion of Los Liones. Certainly you have the right to distribute and ask for signatures to petitions, but please do not include the above part as it may be confusing and disruptive to the process you seek.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me,
Angeles District Superintendent for State Parks”
Almost 20 years ago, on January 10, 1994, over 150 people heard the California State Park and Recreation Commission vote 7-2 to retain lower Los Liones Canyon as public parkland and not allow it to be sold to a private developer. As reported by the Outlook Mail on January 19, 1994, Commissioner Nathan Rangel made the motion, which mandated that “the parcel remain in public domain and be used only for public purposes.” The motion was amended to “specifically exclude it from any future deliberations.”
Thus ended a 2-year battle over a controversial plan by Kehillath Israel and the Palisades –Malibu YMCA to build their facilities in lower Los Liones Canyon. That plan was initiated by a proposed interagency land swap wherein lower Los Liones Canyon would be traded to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
The Temescal Canyon Association, environmentalists, parks employees and neighbors opposed placing Los Liones Canyon in private hands. After the California Park and Recreation Commission decision, TCA became the lead organization, working with State Parks, volunteers, and community organizations, to restore the neglected Los Liones Canyon to parkland. Using a $350,000 Department of Transportation matching grant, volunteers removed over 250 tons of tile, metal, concrete, wiring, and non-native plants, mostly by hand. Bridges were built and an entrance sign installed. The rocks at the base of the entrance sign bear the hidden signatures of those who fought for this park. Approximately 300 trees and 500 shrubs were planted, watered, and cared for. Dubbed “the Glamazons” a group of women TCA members dragged hoses, weeded, cut brush, picked up trash, and removed non-natives. Almost 20 years later, some of them continue donating sweat equity to their public park.
Through the last 20 years, Los Liones Gateway Park has been threatened by several proposals for privatization, but they have failed. The most recent is the DWP inclusion of lower Los Liones Gateway Park on its list of properties to be investigated for a distribution station and a concerted effort by a Marquez group to try to convince DWP to place its distribution station in the State Park rather than on the property it owns in the Marquez area.
As Superintendent Craig Sap firmly stated, “. . .State Parks is not interested nor considering releasing the any part of Topanga State Park including any portion of Los Liones.” The Temescal Canyon Association supports State Parks.
Carol Leacock, President
Temescal Canyon Association