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For Immediate Release, May 18, 2007


Ileene Anderson, Center for Biological Diversity, (323) 490-0223
Bill Corcoran, Sierra Club, (310) 490-3419
James Birkelund, Natural Resources Defense Council, (310) 434-2300 (office) or (415) 602-6223 (mobile)

Tejon-Tehachapi Park:
A Conservation Vision Supported by Science
In Celebration of Endangered Species Day

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.– In the heart of California, at the convergence of four distinct ecological regions, lies a special biodiversity hotspot: Tejon Ranch. Just an hour north of Los Angeles, this jewel faces a crossroads. It could either become just another series of urban sprawl projects or it could become a world-class park benefiting all Californians.

More than 40 eminent natural-resource scientists have signed a Declaration on the Conservation Significance of Tejon Ranch. They support conserving 250,000 acres of Tejon for numerous reasons including its biogeographic importance, its phenomenal biodiversity, its importance to the recovery of numerous rare, threatened and endangered species, the critical linkages it provides between northern and southern California, its rare and unique habitat types and its position as a fully functioning natural laboratory for understanding California’s biological diversity.

The Center for Biological Diversity, in cooperation with partners the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Endangered Habitats League and other conservation organizations, also recognizes the need for preserving Tejon Ranch in its natural state, based on these scientists’ evaluations. In support of the exceptional conservation significance of Tejon Ranch, we are kicking off a campaign to trumpet the world-class natural heritage of Tejon and unveiling our Vision for a State or National Park.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a quintessential California landscape to be preserved for everyone to enjoy,” said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Tejon lands are crucial for California condors, San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizards and dozens of other plants and animals found no where else in the world. This is an exceptional place that deserves recognition as a state or federal park.”

“Fulfilling this park vision for Tejon Ranch is a singular opportunity to honor California’s cultural heritage and natural legacy,” says Bill Corcoran, senior regional representative for the Sierra Club. “The Sierra Club looks forward to working with anyone who shares this vision to make it a reality for our children and future generations.”

“Action is overdue to preserve these magnificent and irreplaceable lands, which presently lie unprotected,” said James Birkelund, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This new park would fulfill that function and add to the legacy of the California park system.”


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