Homes on the range - agreement reached on Tejon Ranch
At 270,000 acres, the Tejon Ranch is the largest remaining swath of California wilderness still in private hands. Now, after years of battle, owners and environmentalists have come up with a plan to preserve 90% of the land while allowing 26,000 homes to be built. Is this good news or a devil's bargain? Louis Sahagun looks into the complex details:
Some environmentalists expressed reservations about the accord, to be announced today. Ilene Anderson, a biologist and spokeswoman for the Center for Biological Diversity, said her group remains worried about habitat for the condor.
"So while we support significant open space," she said, "it's precedent-setting that critical habitat for a species just brought back from the brink of extinction would be written off for development."
Eight times the size of San Francisco, the unfragmented 270,000-acre property embraces the juncture of four ecosystems: Mojave Desert grasslands, San Joaquin Valley oak woodlands, Tehachapi pine forests and coastal mountain ranges.
It's the second environmental compromise in the last two months. In April, a Houston oil company got the green light for offshore drilling in exchange for backing off on a series of projects along the Santa Barbara coast. Get Sahagun's full story on the pact.
-- Veronique de Turenne
Photos: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times