Waste Gone Wild

Allied Waste donates land to nature conservancy.

In August, Phoenix-based Allied Waste donated a 400-acre land grant to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), Los Angeles. The land is located in Elsmere Canyon and will be used as permanent open space as well as for park and recreational use.

“As long-standing members of the Los Angeles community, we are proud to make this new grant of acreage and contribute to the improvement of our quality of life in Los Angeles County,” said Greg Loughnane, district general manager for Allied, in a press release. Allied has owned and operated the Sunshine County Landfill, located in Sylmar, Calif., for nearly 50 years. The landfill services every city in Los Angeles County.

The undeveloped land contains wildlife corridors, riparian habitats, coastal sage and oak woodlands. It also will be combined with the newly preserved Whitney Canyon to create a contiguous open space and wildlife corridor, which will be maintained by MRCA.

“We are pleased in this grant to have partnered once again with the MRCA, which has proven itself to be vital to the preservation and management of parkland in our region,” said Loughnane, in a press release.

As part of an agreement for an expansion of the Sunshine Canyon landfill, in 1992, the firm gave MRCA 426 acres in East Canyon, an area east of Sunshine Canyon, and transferred 490 acres of the Upper Bee Canyon, just south of the Sunshine Canyon. As part of the same agreement, it also granted approximately 80 acres in Sunshine, East, Bee and Weldon canyons for hiking trails along with $50,000 to MRCA for trail access acquisition in East Canyon. In 1999, Allied committed to planting 50,000 oak tress in areas surrounding Sunshine Canyon in Los Angeles County.

“The Elsmere is more of an outright donation,” says Rorie Skei, chief deputy director for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. The conservancy is closely affiliated with MRCA. She also adds that Allied still owns another 800 acres in the area, and other developments are being discussed

“The decision to donate this land for the public benefit was easy, but getting it done was a long process that required a lot of work,” Loughnane said, in a press release. “We would like to thank Congressman Buck McKeon, [Los Angeles County] Supervisor [Michael] Antonovich, council member Laurene Weste, Mayor Marsha McLean and the entire Santa Clarita city council who worked so hard to get us where we are today.”

In a press release, John Zilmer, CEO of Allied Waste, said the firm takes its role in the community and its responsibility to the environment very seriously. “The open space preserve we are celebrating is just the latest example of Allied Waste's commitment to environmental stewardship,” he said.