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|Topanga State Park|
|Location||Los Angeles County, California, United States|
|Nearest city||Los Angeles, CA|
|Area||11,000 acres (45 km2)|
|Governing body||CA Dept. of Parks & Recreation|
Topanga State Park ( // ( listen )) is a California state park located in the Santa Monica Mountains, within Los Angeles County, California. It is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
The park is located adjacent to the community of Topanga, within the City of Los Angeles. Covering 11,000 acres (45 km2), with thirty-six miles of trails and unimproved roads, the park's boundaries stretch from Topanga Canyon to Pacific Palisades and Mulholland Drive. There are more than 60 trail entrances. Topanga State Park is not only the largest park in the Santa Monica Mountains, but it is also considered the largest park located in the limits of a city.
The word Topanga is an old Shoshonean language word meaning 'above' and referring to the canyon settlement being above the flood waters of Topanga Creek.The Tongva and Chumash peoples inhabited the area for thousands of years. The land of Topanga Canyon was originally inhabited by Native American groups collectively referred to as the Topanga Culture, including the Chumash and Tongva.
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first claimed California for Spain in 1542. The Topanga region was not invaded until after the establishment of the Pueblo de Los Angeles and Mission San Fernando Rey de España in the late 1700s. When Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, control of Alta California went to the new government. In 1828 the Mexican Governor of Alta California granted Francisco Sepulveda provisional title to the more than 30,000 acres called Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica. The rancho included the eastern portion of the City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica Canyon, and the mountains to the ridgeline on the west bank of Topanga Creek. The land remained relatively unused, except for flat portions used for crops and grazing. The steeper sections were deemed unusable, even for sheep and cattle.
California became part of the United States in 1848, and a state in 1850. Eventually ownership of the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica Mexican land grant was confirmed by the U.S. Land Claims Commission. The land was made available under the Homestead Act. Among the many homestead patents filed in the Santa Monica Mountains, the one filed by a beekeeper named McAtee was for the western edge of the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica, and area along what became Entrada Road, the current main entrance to Topanga State Park.
In the 1920s, the canyon became a popular weekend get-away destination for residents of growing Los Angeles. Summer cabins were built along Topanga Creek and throughout the area in subdivisions in the surrounding hills. In this same trend, in 1917, Oscar A. Trippet, Sr. bought half of the McAtee homestead, which he and his family used as a get-away from the city. When Trippet died in 1923, his son, Oscar Jr., commissioned Los Angeles architect Summer Spaulding to build the superintendent's house, horse stables, and a skeet lodge. A stock pond was also built which is still located inside the park at the northeast corner of the parking lot. The Trippet family owned of the land until 1963, when it was sold to a developer.
The next year, 1964, a park bond was approved by voters to purchase Trippet Ranch and some adjoined land. Topanga State Park was opened to the public in 1974. Its land includes more than 7,500 acres from the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica land grant. Additional acreage has been added in the form of 1,500 acres from the Palisades Highlands and another 1,600 acres added in 2002, near the mouth of the Topanga Creek.
Geologically, the park has many sedimentary sandstone rock formations, marine fossils, exposed faults, and volcanic intrusions.
The primary habitats in the park are of the Coastal sage scrub and montane chaparral and woodlands ecoregions. In Trippet Ranch there is a significant area of California oak woodland. The smaller habitats include bay laurel woodland (Umbellularia californica), walnut woodland (Juglans californica), and grassland savannah. The various types of plants and habitats are due to microclimate differences across the park.
There are over eighty mammal species and more than sixty reptile and amphibian species. Snakes present include the Southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri). Topanga State Park is home to many species of migratory and resident bird species.
The Topanga Nature Center houses a collection of mounted native animals and birds, as well as hands-on displays of natural artifacts. It is dedicated to the flora, fauna and geography of the area. The center is located in the lodge formerly used by Trippet Ranch for skeet shooting, a short walk from the Trippet Ranch parking lot, and is currently open on Sunday afternoons only.
Points of interest in the park include: Eagle Rock, Eagle Spring Trail, and Hub Junction. Three historical attractions of the park are Trippet Ranch buildings, Will Roger's cabin, and the Josepho Barn.
Many trails exist within the park, which are accessible to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders, as posted. The primary trailheads are at the Trippet Ranch area, including for the Musch Trail,passing prominent Eagle Rock. Many trails also are wider dirt fire roads. Unpaved portions of Mulholland Drive are accessible through the Temescal Fire Road and Mulholland Drive.
The Backbone Trail System, a multi-use long-distance trail spanning nearly 70 miles across the Santa Monica Mountains, passes through Topanga State Park. It can be accessed via the Trippet Ranch trailhead.
The Santa Inez Trail is accessible from Trippet Ranch on the west, or the Palisades Highlands neighborhood on the east. The trail's lower section follows Santa Inez Creek through riparian habitats, and then climbs through unique and massive sandstone formations to the Topanga Fire Road and Trippet Ranch.
While never actually closed to the public, Topanga State Park was on a list of 48 California state parks proposed in January 2008 for closure by California's then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of a deficit reduction program. In protest, environmentalists and area residents collected more than 17,000 signatures asking that the closure idea be halted, with the petition delivered to the governor by a symbolic delegation of school children. This direct public action was credited with averting the proposed closure.
In July 2012, it was reported that nearly $54 million in "hidden" funds was in the possession of California's state park system, creating widespread anger. The funds were more than enough to have covered any of the alleged state park budget shortfalls, and State Parks Director Ruth Coleman, in charge for a decade, resigned her position, with her second in command being fired. Coleman denied any knowledge of the secret assets.Later, the $54 million figure was reported to be misrepresented, with the actual hidden surplus amounting to $20 million, still enough to cover the alleged shortfall that had prompted the plans to close as many as 70 California state parks. In February 2013 it was revealed that the approximately $20 million had been hidden for as long as 20 years by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
In August 2012, Congressman Brad Sherman announced that he secured federal funds to help improve parks and public areas. His first project was to help restore sections of the 65 mile Backbone Trail, one of the most popular trails in the park and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The Congressman said, "The Backbone Trail provides thousands of hikers, bicyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts with an unparalleled recreational experience through the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. These improvements will enhance that experience and improve safety for everyone that uses this popular trail." The money is going to go to clearing back brush on the trails, fixing and preventing landslides along the trail, and repairing the Chicken Bridge in the park. Hikers have reported significant improvements to the trails, and the project was completed in 2013.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a coastal mountain range in Southern California, next to the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Transverse Ranges. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area encompasses this mountain range. Because of its proximity to densely populated regions, it is one of the most visited natural areas in California.
Pacific Palisades is a neighborhood in the Westside region of Los Angeles, California, situated about 20 miles (32 km) west of Downtown Los Angeles.
The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is an agency of the state of California in the United States founded in 1980 and dedicated to the acquisition of land for preservation as open space, for wildlife and California native plants habitat Nature Preserves, and for public recreation activities.
The Santa Susana Mountains are a transverse range of mountains in Southern California, north of the city of Los Angeles, in the United States. The range runs east-west, separating the San Fernando and Simi valleys on its south from the Santa Clara River Valley to the north and the Santa Clarita Valley to the northeast. The Oxnard Plain is to the west of the Santa Susana Mountains.
The Peter Strauss Ranch is a regional park unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area - and operated by the National Park Service as Peter Strauss Ranch Park. It is located in the central Santa Monica Mountains — on Mulholland Highway near Agoura Hills, Southern California, in the Western United States. The ranch is named after the actor Peter Strauss, who was the last private owner-resident of the property. Much of the ranch was destroyed during the Woolsey Fire in November 2018.
West Hills is a suburban / residential community in the western San Fernando Valley region of the City of Los Angeles, California. The percentage of residents aged 35 and older is among the highest in Los Angeles County.
Will Rogers State Historic Park is the former estate of American humorist Will Rogers. It lies in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles, in the Pacific Palisades area.
Topanga is a census-designated place (CDP) in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, the community exists in Topanga Canyon and the surrounding hills. The narrow southern portion of Topanga at the coast is between the city of Malibu and the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. As of the 2020 census the population of the Topanga CDP was 8,560. The ZIP code is 90290 and the area code is primarily 310, with 818 only at the north end of the canyon. It is in the 3rd County Supervisorial district.
The Simi Hills are a low rocky mountain range of the Transverse Ranges in eastern Ventura County and western Los Angeles County, of southern California, United States.
The Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve is a large open space nature preserve owned and operated by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy spanning nearly 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) in the Simi Hills of western Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a United States national recreation area containing many individual parks and open space preserves, located primarily in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. The SMMNRA is in the greater Los Angeles region, with two thirds of the parklands in northwest Los Angeles County, and the remaining third, including a Simi Hills extension, in southeastern Ventura County.
Point Mugu State Park is a state park located in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Southern California. The rugged, nearly impassible shoreline of the western Santa Monica Mountains gives way to tidal lagoons and coastal sand dunes at Mugu Rock. The western edge of the park adjoins Mugu Lagoon which is a protected area within Naval Air Station Point Mugu.
Rustic Canyon is a residential neighborhood and canyon in eastern Pacific Palisades, on the west side of Los Angeles, California. It is along Rustic Creek, in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The Backbone Trail is a long-distance trail extending 67.79 miles (109.10 km) across the length of the Santa Monica Mountains in the U.S. state of California. Its western terminus is Point Mugu State Park, and its eastern terminus is Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades. The trail is open to hikers throughout its length. Dogs, mountain bicyclists and horseback riders are only allowed on portions of the trail as posted.
Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park is a 1,500-acre (6.1 km2) park in the Santa Monica Mountains, with its trailhead at the southern terminus of Reseda Boulevard in Tarzana, Los Angeles, California. The park was named for former Los Angeles City Councilman Marvin Braude, who for more than 30 years led the effort to preserve the Santa Monica Mountains. Owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the park is within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Placerita Canyon State Park is a California State Park located on the north slope of the western San Gabriel Mountains, in an unincorporated rural area of Los Angeles County, near the city of Santa Clarita. The park hosts a variety of historic and natural sites, as well as serving as a trailhead for several hiking trails leading into the San Gabriel Mountains.
Franklin Canyon Park is a public municipal park located near Benedict Canyon, at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, in Los Angeles, California. The park comprises 605 acres (245 ha), and is located near the geographical center of the city of Los Angeles. Franklin Canyon is also the name of the canyon and surrounding neighborhood.
Circle X Ranch is a park unit located in the Triunfo Pass within the southwestern Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, in Ventura County, California. It is located in the western Santa Monica Mountains.
Sage Ranch Park is a 625-acre park (253 ha) and wildlife corridor located at a 2,000 feet (610 m) height in the northwestern Simi Hills on the northwestern plateau of the Simi Valley, bordering Los Angeles County and its San Fernando Valley. The campground area used to be a cattle ranch and later a filmset for Western movies. Sage Ranch Park is today an intermountain wildlife corridor, which links the Simi Hills with the Santa Susana- and Santa Monica Mountains. The mountainous park is mostly known for its unique sandstone rock formations, maybe particularly on its western side where the Sandstone Ridge and Turtle Rock are situated. On its northern side, there are great panoramic rural and metropolitan views of the Simi Valley, as well as surrounding Simi Hills, Santa Susana Mountains and beyond. It is home to numerous sandstone formations, caves, outcroppings, tilted rock formations, several hiking trails, a camping ground, as well as native flora and wildlife. The area is lined with coastal sage scrub and other flora includes chaparral, bush lupine, California poppy, sunflowers, Cream Cups, bracken, sword fern, prickly pear cactus, eucalyptus trees, oak woodland of ceanothus, coffee berry, California buckwheat, sycamore, Walnut Tree, ferns, orange- and avocado trees. It is a critical cross-mountain wildlife corridor and is home to fauna such as mountain lions, bobcats, eagles, vultures, owls, rattle snakes, coyotes, hawks, grey fox, king snakes, and more. Bordering Sage Ranch to the south is the Rocketdyne Santa Susana Field Laboratory, in which the nearby Burro Flats Painted Cave is located.
Big Sycamore Canyon, often shortened to Sycamore Canyon, is a major feature of Point Mugu State Park, in Ventura County, California, United States. Sycamore Canyon is situated in the northernmost region of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area below the 3,000 feet (910 m) peaks of the Boney Mountain State Wilderness Area. The canyon begins on the north slope of Boney Mountain and heads north down the slope. The canyon then heads southwest past Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa to Sycamore Cove on the coastline. The canyon in the park is one of the riparian woodlands along the California coast. It contains a number of California sycamore trees.