Today, the California Wildlife Conservation Board voted unanimously to fund the acquisition of an 18-acre parcel of open space in Rubio Canyon by the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy (AFC). The $545,000 grant will allow AFC to purchase this parcel, the third and final piece of the conservancy’s overall acquisition of 41 acres in the canyon.

“We’re very grateful for the Wildlife Conservation Board’s support, and for the support of members of the local community who made this possible,” said John Howell, AFC’s executive director. “This is a terrific accomplishment for the whole community.”

While the acquisition of the property is nearly complete, AFC’s work is far from over. The conservancy plans to restore native habitat, rebuild and re-open trails that have been closed to the public for decades, and lead hikes on those trails.

“We have some big plans, and I think we are well-situated to carry them out,” AFC President Nancy Steele told the Pasadena Star-News.

The project to preserve Rubio Canyon began in August 2009, when AFC acquired a 20-acre parcel of open space that includes a popular trail to a waterfall. The conservancy is currently restoring trails and leading hikes on that parcel.

In October 2010, AFC acquired a three-acre parcel that had previously been slated for development.  It was acquired with assistance from the office of L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and funds from the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority.

The canyon’s preservation would not have been possible without the extraordinary generosity of landowner Sameer Etman. Mr. Etman agreed to sell all three parcels of his land in the canyon to AFC at well below market value because he was intent on preserving it.

AFC’s efforts would not have been possible without the support of the local community and local environmental groups: the Eaton Canyon Nature Center Associates, the Pasadena Audubon Society, and the Diggers Garden Club.