Man, those Santa Monica Mountains are getting a lot of love lately from long-trail enthusiasts. The 60-some-odd mile Backbone Trail is inching toward completion (of the trail at least), and now the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority announced it’s made some major initial land purchases and easements for the establishment of a new 32-mile Coastal Slope Trail.

The planwas approved last year, and will include new trails, facilities, and campgrounds on a route between Point Mugu and Topanga Canyon – including the first ever public campground in the city of Malibu. When it’s completed, the route will link at least 15 public spaces, including Malibu Creek, Topanga, Leo Carillo, and Point Mugu State Parks as well as Charmlee Wilderness Park. Here’s a description from L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s web page:

Backpackers could, say, hike up the coast, uninterrupted by “No Trespassing” signs and fences, enjoying an ocean breeze while treading through virgin chaparral and fragrant canyons. At night, they could pitch a tent on a Malibu bluff and awaken at dawn with the blue Pacific heaving and roaring below.

Sounds pretty nice, right?

Conservation groups have acquired eight parcels of land north of Malibu and are on track to add eleven more to their list by the end of 2011. 64% of the land slated for the Coastal Slope Trail is in public hands already, but the groups do have some work cut out for them – about 100 parcels of private land still need to be bought or have easement rights established.

Still – the prospect of hiking two separate long-distance trails through the Santa Monica Mountains is a pretty dang appealing one!

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