City of Fullerton Takes Steps to Expand and Open WCH Nature Preserve
The Fullerton City Council voted on Tuesday, March 15, to move forward with a preservation plan to purchase land currently slated for development at the West Coyote Hills property and set it aside as permanent open space. The City is seeking grant funding from various state and regional agencies to acquire the land. Any additional property that is purchased would be added to the 370 acres already dedicated as open space and would create the largest nature preserve in North Orange County.
The City has launched a webpage, www.CityofFullerton.com/WCHinfo, where the community can share comments about the importance of expanding the Bob Ward Nature Preserve at West Coyote Hills. Comments will be compiled and shared with the environmental agencies currently reviewing the City’s grant applications.
"It is important that environmental agencies see the public support that exists to purchase and preserve land at West Coyote Hills,” said Fullerton Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald. “Expanding the Bob Ward Nature Preserve would be of great local and regional benefit.”
The City’s initial goal is to preserve the entire eastern half of the West Coyote Hills property – an expanse of about 220 acres. Another development area on the western half of the property with expansive vistas could also be acquired and preserved if funding is available.
The property owner, Pacific Coast Homes, has already committed to restoring habitat, constructing ten miles of new trails, five vista parks, an interpretive nature center and fund an endowment for the perpetual maintenance of the all the open space areas.
“This truly is an historic opportunity to preserve, restore and open land for public enjoyment with trails and parks,” said Fullerton City Council Member Doug Chaffee. “This City Council has listened to the community, we have heard how important it is to save this property for a park and nature preserve, and it is so exciting to be moving forward and getting closer to the possibility of making it a reality.”
The land appraisal for the eastern half of the property, once planned for development, and now available for purchase for expanding the nature preserve, is $19,337,500. The City has identified grant application opportunities for more than $20 million in regional and statewide acquisition funding.