(l-r) The Rocky Ledge Land Preservation Team: R.C. Brody, Margaret Oakley, Jeanne Dancs Arthur, and William Preston Bowling. In 2015, the team raised $1.2 million to preserve an adjacent 20 acres. Photo by William Preston Bowling
As Topangansâand many others since the COVID-19 lockdownâdrive up Fernwood Pacific to Tuna Canyon, they may notice an ornate wooden sculpture, a sign, hand-carved and blending nicely into the oak woodland of Dix Creek like itâs been there since the 1960s.
The story behind the sign, âRobert Arthur Open Space Preserveâ proclaims another victory for those who are dedicated to preserving Topangaâs open spaces.
Dix Creek is a major tributary in the Topanga Creek Watershed and the six-acre preserve is the headwaters, functioning as a valuable wildlife passage and view corridor with evidence (GPS) of mountain lion(s) using these seasonal ponds. The parcel is now part of 126 continuous acres of undisturbed land bordered on the north and south by many magnificent rock formations and pristine chaparral.
More than a decade ago, The Rocky Ledge Land Preservation Team was founded by Topanga residents Jeanne Dancs Arthur, R.C. Brody, William Preston Bowling, and Margaret Oakley. Together they âfoundâ the money for the purchase and preservation of the property with funding of $206,000 from Coastal Habitat Impact Mitigation Funds;Â $148,000 from L.A. County ThirdÂ Supervisorial District Prop 62 funds and $76,000 from Prop A funds;Â and $30,000 from private donations.
The team owes a great debt of gratitude toÂ Paul Edelman, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC); GarrettÂ Weinstein from theÂ Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA); and the willing and patient seller, Will Oak Wild.Â
This was not the beginning of their endeavor. In addition to the Robert Arthur Open Space Preserve, The Rocky Ledge Land Preservation Team had secured more than $1.2 million and saved the adjacent 20 acres five years earlier, with help from County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Assemblymember Julia Brownley.Â MRCA and SMMC now own these parcels and will keep the acreage pristine for all to enjoy.