Recent News

A Community Effort Takes Shape at Big Bend

After nearly four years, the cottages at Big Bend have begun deconstruction to make way for a new community trailhead and wildlife corridor. Within approximately 16 months, the 3.7-acre City-owned property in Laguna Canyon will be transformed from a dirt lot into a vibrant community and natural resource at the gateway to Laguna’s downtown. The property will be restored with native oaks, sycamores and coastal sage scrub, as well as public trails that will provide improved public access to more than 20,000 acres of adjacent open space. “Though it is difficult to say goodbye to the cottages,” says Derek Ostensen, President of Laguna Canyon Foundation, “their removal allows the property to be restored to a wonderful new community asset and wildlife corridor.”....

Open Space Prevails at Big Bend

Nearly four city-owned acres at a curve on Laguna Canyon Road known as Big Bend, where three dilapidating historic cottages have been stashed for years, were decreed as pristine open space by the City Council Tuesday night. Laguna Canyon Foundation president Derek Ostensen asked the council to set aside the property, bordered on either side by industrial development, as a wildlife corridor and trailhead connecting Aliso-Wood Canyons and Laguna Coast Wilderness parks....

Big Bend Project Approved

A proposal to turn city property at Big Bend into a trail head and wildlife corridor will next go before the Planning Commission. The Laguna Canyon Foundation will submit detailed design plans and an environmental analysis now that the City Council has approved the project. The project will be funded by a $100,000 grant from Measure M money for environmental mitigation. Restoration and maintenance will be provided by volunteers, said foundation Executive Director Max Borella. "We will involve the community," Borella said. "We have a workforce of 350 volunteers and we will use them. We will also approach the schools. This is a project to really bring the whole community together — to take land that is highly degraded and restore it."...

Key to Laguna's Paradise Pass to a New Generation

Current residents can look out upon the hills cradling Laguna Beach secure in the knowledge that much of the open space that meets their gaze will remain that way. Much of the credit goes to the visionaries who established Laguna Canyon Foundation in 1991 with the aim of preserving land within and around Laguna Canyon. Growing up here, Derek Ostensen, the foundation’s new president, didn’t realize the natural environment was unprotected land that could still be bulldozed for housing pads. He began to develop an expertise in land conservation when he “found out that a lot of the open space that I thought was protected was actually privately owned,” and subject to any number of uses, he said...

Conservancy Members Host Borella

The newly named executive director of the Laguna Canyon Foundation, Max Borella, is the featured speaker at the Laguna Canyon Conservancy dinner meeting, Monday, March 7, at Tivoli Terrace. Most recently, Borella designed field-based research programs for undergraduates at Stanford University’s School of Earth Science. Previously, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia and continued his work there establishing Terra Resource Development International...

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