ABF Acquires Key Desert Property
Last updated 9/21/2021 at 12:29pm
The Anza-Borrego Foundation is playing a unique checkers game where every move hopefully eliminates a square on the checkerboard.
The organization's checkerboard is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the jewel of California's state park system that is filled with pockets of private land that often limit public access to prime recreational areas, threaten endangered species, or make resource protection more challenging for park rangers.
As the official non-profit partner of the state park, ABF provides financial support for park programs, acquires land for conservation in and around the park, offers a robust education program and supports research relevant to the desert region.
A major part of the ABF mission is the acquisition of private inholdings, those pesky dark spots on the dusky desert landscape map. Through donations, grants and other sources, ABF raises funds and works with willing sellers to purchase lands within the park or along park boundaries. Many of these lands are isolated, landlocked and could never be developed for use.
Just last week the organization announced that it has acquired a 320-acre parcel in the Borrego Badlands, west of Font's Point, known as the Smith property.
The property is surrounded on three sides by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and includes portions of the Inspiration Wash Jeep Trail, numerous sand dunes and is a prime habitat for LeConte's thrashers and flat-tailed horned lizard, a species listed as "near threatened" because of declining numbers.
ABF Land Program Manager Julie Gerson described the parcel as "fragile and frequently impacted by illegal off-road activity."
While the land appears to be part of the park, rangers are unable to protect the area from habitat destruction or illegal activity because until now the land was privately owned.
Transfer of this property to the park will fill in a large notch in the park boundary.
Since being created in 1967, The ABF has acquired more than 50,000 acres of private inholdings.
Just last month, the organization celebrated the transfer of 17,597 acres to the state park. That land transfer included 331 parcels, including nearly 10,000 acres within designated State Wilderness areas and 6,000 acres in Coyote Canyon.
Another 3,500 acres purchased by ABF and transferred to state parks were in the park's badlands and considered to be a rich laboratory of paleontological resources.
The largest parcel in the most recent land transfer was 690 acres, and the smallest was an old mining claim measuring three feet wide and 402 feet in length.
For information about ABF, visit theabf.org.