A 7,000 square foot visitors center in the Santa Monica Mountains – just north of Malibu, CA – can survive off the grid. It has a 94-kilowatt solar roof array to power highly energy-efficient LEDs installed throughout the center. This is the first visitor center from the National Park Service to be “net zero”.
The site also achieved a LEED Platinum Certification by using environmentally friendly materials, incorporating natural light, using light dimmers during daylight hours, and by re-purposing the existing structures. They were originally horse stables for King Gillete – the razor billionaire from yester-year – and his mansion still exists in the 588-acre park.
The project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – $9.5 million – along with matching funds from the California government and a local conservancy. All materials were made in America. The site will be managed by a joint public-private enterprise.
One of the most stunning locales in the Santa Monica Mountains, 588-acre King Gillette Ranch is located at the confluence of five major tributaries and offers a rare, unspoiled view of California’s rich archaeological cultural and historic resources. Its broad meadows and low ridgelines serve as a wildlife corridor. The ranch includes the 1928 mansion designed by Wallace Neff for razor magnate King C. Gillette…and includes hiking trails, beautiful grassy picnic areas, a pond and dormitory facilities for overnight educational camps.
It’s true, in fact, there are several of them but mostly in the nature reserves of the Santa Monica Mountains. This one is different because it is truly in the heart of LA, Griffith Park.
Surrounded by freeways on two sides, Hollywood and downtown on the others, this is truly an urban area. Which makes it all the more interesting that the lion even made it into the park:
In an odyssey of perhaps 20 miles, the cat had to cross concrete and backyards, dodge commuter traffic and thread an obstacle course of culverts, bridges and roads…(it) might have traversed a bridge or culvert to cross the 101 and 405 freeways to enter the park. It’s possible, however, that the cat sprinted across lanes of traffic — and got very lucky. In a study of the 405, scientists have documented two deaths of lions killed by motorists. – L.A. Times
Fortunately, the cat (also known as a cougar) is extremely solitary and mostly nocturnal. It shouldn’t pose any harm to park-goers while enjoying the plentiful mule deer in the area. Not to mention, the beautiful views of downtown Los Angeles, the celebrity-packed Hollywood Hills, and that never-ending traffic of LA.
I like the…hand-drawn feel of the map. Venues are shown in indicative locations rather than being geographically correct, as the details of London between the venues are missed out. This makes it a very poor map for navigating around London between the venues, but a good graphic illustrating just how many venues in London there are, and how they relate geographically to the major London landmarks. – Mapping London
Second, is the one you would pick up in the London Tube if you were going to the games. Created for the Olympics, the “London Summer 2012″ map looks like a pretty cool brochure/souvenir for the games:
The maps feature key landmarks, the locations of Olympics related events (such as London Live) and shops, a selection of interesting museums and also more practical information such as public amenities, police stations and NHS walk in centres. The maps also include 6 discovery trails (round trips) to help explore different areas (such as the City; Spitalfields and Brick Lane; Regent’s Park; and the West End).
2012 Summer Olympics 7:30 p.m. Friday, NBC: Opening Ceremony: London, the first city to host the Olympics three times, welcomes the world and Queen Elizabeth II officially opens the Games. (N)
2012 Summer Olympics 6 a.m. Saturday, NBCSP: Soccer, Beach Volleyball, Volleyball, Equestrian, Shooting, Archery, Handball, Table Tennis: From London. Soccer, women’s: USA vs. Colombia, Brazil vs. New Zealand, France vs. DPR Korea; beach volleyball; volleyball, women’s: China vs. Serbia; equestrian: eventing dressage; shooting: women’s 10m air rifle; archery; handball; table tennis. (N)
2012 Summer Olympics 9 a.m. Saturday, NBC: Swimming, Cycling, Beach Volleyball, Volleyball, Basketball, Rowing: From London. Swimming: qualifying heats; cycling: men’s road race; beach volleyball, men’s: USA vs. South Africa; volleyball, women’s: USA vs. Republic of Korea; basketball, women’s: USA vs. Croatia; rowing: qualifying heats. (N)
2012 Summer Olympics 8 p.m. Saturday, NBC: Swimming, Gymnastics, Beach Volleyball: From London. Swimming, finals: men’s and women’s 400m individual medley, men’s 400m freestyle, women’s 4x100m freestyle relay; gymnastics: men’s team competition; beach volleyball, women’s: USA vs. Australia. (N)
Burt’s Bees cofounder Roxanne Quimby wants to hand the government a new national park in northern Maine—election-year politics and residents’ NIMBYism be damned. Brian Kevin investigates the boldest conservation plan in decades.
Technically, this Idaho-shaped chunk of land, which contains a 30-mile stretch of the International Appalachian Trail, is known as the East Branch Sanctuary. But around Millinocket it’s simply referred to as “Quimby’s land.” The self-made millionaire owns it, along with 119,000 acres of other timber-company lands that she started buying up back in 2000, when Burt’s Bees was raking in about $23 million a year. Her plan was to give the property to the National Park Service, thereby galvanizing other donations that would eventually establish a 3.2-million-acre wilderness in the last great undeveloped region east of the Rockies.
But the campaign stalled out of the gate. Public land is a tough sell in northern Maine, where residents are accustomed to hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and cutting timber. Many didn’t cotton to the rhetoric of a wealthy environmentalist; others feared that the proposed park would spell the end of the region’s struggling paper mills.
But a dozen years and a few hundred Ban Roxanne bumper stickers later, Quimby is back with more practical ambitions. Last spring she announced plans for a dramatically reduced 74,000-acre Maine Woods National Park just east of Katahdin, carved entirely from her own property. And thanks to better diplomacy and a new emphasis on economic benefit, Quimby is beginning to win hearts and minds.
April 11, 2012 – Ushering in a sweeping new era of public ownership and access to thousands of acres of Orange County’s most prized natural lands, the (Orange County) Board of Supervisors today accepted the long-anticipated final gift of more than 20,000 acres of pristine, permanently protected open space and parklands from the Irvine Company.
These lands have been designated both a California and National Natural Landmark and are part of a grand total of 50,000 acres of permanently protected open space and parklands located on The Irvine Ranch and donated to Orange County. This unprecedented gift was created through collaborative conservation efforts spanning over 100 years involving the Irvine Company, community organizations, municipalities, government agencies and environmental groups.
This exceptional 50,000-acre gift is over 10 times the size of Griffith Park in Los Angeles (4,210 acres) and almost 60 times the size of Central Park in New York (843 acres).
The vast donation of permanently protected land includes: Bommer Canyon, Crystal Cove State Park, Upper Newport Bay, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and Quail Hill. Today’s gift adds the spectacular Limestone, Fremont, Weir, Black Star and Gypsum canyons to that list.
See Spot surf at the Loews Dog Surfing Competition – the nation’s original surfing competition for man’s best friend. Dozens of dogs take to the waves in the small dog, large dog and tandem categories. The only event of its kind when first launched, it has grown incredibly with the 2011 contest drawing 65 competitors and thousands of spectators to Coronado’s Silver Strand State Beach.
This event is family-friendly and appeals to animal lovers of all kinds. It also draws expert surfers who participate in the tandem event and perform amazing tricks on the waves.
New this year, the winner of the Ultimate Champion Round will become the 2012 “poster dog” for Loews Hotels! The star treatment includes a professional photo shoot and lunch. The featured photos will be showcased on Loews Hotels’ official website as well as the 2013 Loews Surf Dog Competition website, t-shirts and fliers!
This popular competition is an extension of Loews Hotels’ award-winning Loews Loves Pets program and has become a hugely successful fundraiser for non-profit organizations. Loews Coronado Bay Resort, with the help of its surf dog heroes, has set a personal goal to raise $10,000 this year.
This event is free to attend and watch. To enter: $50 for Divisions One or Two, $55 for Division Three. Fees also include a competition medal and a great goody bag filled with treats. All proceeds benefit the resort’s non-profit partner.
You normally think of parks as being places to walk or ride around. But on January 1, 2012, Southern California celebrated the grand opening of a series of underwater parks, or “marine protected areas,” that includes wildlife hot spots such as the La Jolla kelp forest, Laguna tidepools, and Catalina Island coral gardens. These parks will join a growing system that currently dots the shore from Santa Barbara to Mendocino, and will soon stretch the length of California’s coast.
California will be the first state in the nation to develop a science-based statewide network of marine protected areas, protecting productive reefs, kelp forests and tide pools while leaving about 90% of state waters open to fishing. The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), enacted in 1999 with bipartisan support, called for this network of protections to improve the health of California’s ocean wildlife and habitats.
“After decades of treating the ocean as inexhaustible, California has turned the tide towards restoring its legacy of abundant sea life,” said Kaitilin Gaffney, Pacific Program Director of Ocean Conservancy. “California’s new protected areas are a smart investment in a healthier ocean and a more sustainable coastal economy.”
Coastal tourism and recreation are a major economic engine for California. A recent study showed over 90 percent of coastal recreation in southern California involves beach-going, diving, wildlife watching, surfing and other activities that will benefit from healthier oceans. According to the National Ocean Economics Program, California’s coast and ocean generate $22 billion in revenue and drive over 350,000 jobs each year.