The last piece of privately-owned, undeveloped land in southern California - an active oil field since the 1940s - has been purchased by the Trust for Public Land, guaranteeing it will be cleaned up and preserved as open space. The 384-acre Banning Ranch, roughly 100 acres of marshes, mudflats and riparian scrub and 67 acres of coastal sage scrub that provides habitat for sensitive species, was home to the Acjachemen and Tongva for thousands of years before western settlement. While developers had long eyed it as a prime location, conservationists and local Indigenous leaders saw an opportunity for rare open space in a county of nearly 3.2 million people. The sale “demonstrates the power of grassroots organizing and what happens when a coalition of passionate local citizen organizations, residents and community leaders work together to protect open spaces,” said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley.

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