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MERRY WONG, Dana Point

For almost two decades, the Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM, a 501c3 nonprofit) and the Nature Interpretive Center (NIC) worked closely together to ensure the continued education and preservation of the Headlands Preserve and the physical trail located on that 29.4-acre property. CNLM has always owned and managed the Headlands Preserve property since its inception 15 years ago. 

With no demonstrable conversation or meaningful dialogue from the city management to CNLM management, we now understand why the wheels fell off the cart of past cooperation and respect.

The Headlands Preserve is home to the federally and state-protected Pacific Pocket Mouse and the threatened Coastal California Gnatcatcher. This Preserve is also home to hundreds of rare and native plant species and over 175 animal species.

This is a vibrant environment, but it can be fragile. Climate change is a daily battle for the coastal scrub sage ecosystem as we go into our third year of drought.

In February of this year, CNLM was nationally recognized by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission for its exemplary monitoring, oversight, documentation, ethical conduct and leadership.

With respect, may I suggest that the city management continue to focus on what it does best by keeping us residents enriched and engaged with concerts and movies in the parks, the Harbor renovation, senior and community center activities and addressing the numerous issues to get our city economically back on track post-pandemic.

We all bear a responsibility to sustain and protect our precious open spaces and native habitats.

Please allow the CNLM team to do their important work of protecting the Headlands Conservation Preserve. You can’t put a dollar value on the Preserve and its inhabitants—it is invaluable.

Check out to see the great work they do. Thank you.

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