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Laurel Canyon mountain being bought to preserve it — if the money can be raised

The Laurel Canyon Association and the Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW), an environmental advocacy group, are buying a portion of a mountain that is home to wildlife in Hollywood's Laurel Canyon — but they have to raise the money first. The land is currently owned privately. 

"It is a mountain ... that is home to bobcats, to mountain lions, to owls, to hawks, to deers, to coyote," CLAW chairperson Alison Simard told KPCC. "It is an important piece of wildlife habitat right in the middle of Hollywood."

The organizations have agreed to buy 17 acres for $1.6 million in order to help preserve the area. They plan to turn the land over to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) after the purchase. The money is payable in installments over the next 18 months. The first step of the agreement is to raise $50,000 by Nov. 2.

"If we don't, we lose our first chance at it," Simard said.  The organizations will have another six months to raise $100,000 after the first benchmark.

"If we are unable to raise significant funds within this time frame, we will cancel the agreement and refund all donors (less out of pocket, accounting, legal, fundraising fees) on a pro-rata basis," the Let's Buy A Mountain website says. 

To get enough money raised in time, a fundraiser was announced Wednesday. L.A. City Councilman David Ryu, who attended the announcement, said he will match $15,000 in donations. Simard said that naming rights are being offered to one big donor.

There is no current threat to the land, but Simard said the land always faces a threat of disappearing. There have been several bids by developers in the past, including a bid for a solar farm and bids for housing development, she said. 

"It happens to be in the middle of Los Angeles, so people don't really think of Los Angeles and think about the fact that we have a mountain range running through the center of our city," Simard said. "This [wildlife area] is just as important [as habitats in other places]."

After the purchase, Simard said the mountain will be a sanctuary for wildlife. The mountain is located between Lookout Mountain Avenue and Stanley Hills Drive, above Wonderland School.