Angela Lindstrom is the President of Friends of Coyote Hills
It has been over a year of COVID-19 pandemic lock-down and the case for saving all 510-acres of West Coyote Hills as a park and preserve has never been more cogent. People have rediscovered this open space jewel as a place of respite during a year of work- and school-from-home and general social distancing. Daily use of the adjacent Nora Kuttner and other nearby trails has grown many-fold compared to pre-pandemic levels; there’s always a steady stream of walkers, joggers, and bikers.
Preserving West Coyote Hills as natural open space is a way for Fullerton to mitigate the threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. West Coyote Hills is a former oil field still owned by Chevron/Pacific Coast Homes. It is the finest coastal sage scrub in the region, in pristine condition, and supports 56+ pairs of the endangered California gnatcatchers (the largest population in Southern California) and 69 pairs of coastal cactus wrens (California state species of special concern). The property has multiple values, including habitat, access, trail-bikeway, scenic, and educational resources.
The Friends of Coyote Hills has fought to save this precious habitat from development for more than 20 years, with breakthroughs in 2013 and 2016, leading to the anticipated acquisition of the east side of the property by late 2021. In 2013, following the Friends of Coyote Hills’ Measure W referendum, Chevron agreed to shift development off the parcel adjacent to the Ward Nature Preserve to create a larger swath of contiguous open space. In 2016, we worked with Senator Josh Newman and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva to raise more than $15M of State funds. Chevron funded a grant-writer to help the city of Fullerton find additional funds, which made the purchase of the remaining east side of the property possible.
Our work didn’t stop there. With the city of Fullerton working with Chevron and the State to complete the east purchase, we turned our attention to saving the remaining west side of the site. For the last few years, we have been working with acquisition experts to identify funding mechanisms. Senator Josh Newman is again spearheading efforts in Sacramento by introducing legislation for significant funding including long-term stewardship.
Our mission to save all of West Coyote Hills for now and future generations is within reach, perhaps within the next three to four years. Chevron has expressed openness to acquisition, but we must act with urgency, since development is not off the table.
State Senator Newman and Councilmembers Fred Jung and Ahmad Zahra have pledged their support.
A supporter has also provided a $10,000 challenge grant to continue the #SaveItAll mission. The public may help match this grant by visiting www.coyotehills.org/donate.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or (657) 325-0725 to learn more and see how you can help.