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‘Save Oswit Canyon’ set to close deal to buy the canyon for perpetual conservation

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The "Save Oswit Canyon" group is set to finalize a deal to purchase Oswit Canyon for perpetual conservation next week.

Oswit Canyon is located on S. Palm Canyon adjacent to the Canyon Heights neighborhood and the south trailhead for the S. Lykken Trail.

It's the home to many endangered species, including bighorn sheep, desert fox, bobcats, mountain lions, migratory birds, raptors. Jane Garrison founded the group nearly five years ago after learning that the developer planned to build several hundred homes on the canyon.

In that time span, the group organized several rallies, hikes, educational events, lawsuits, fundraisers, and collected over 5,000 signatures for a city initiative. In December 2019, the developer agreed to sell the group the land. The deal will be finalized on Monday.

"I'm ecstatic! There have been so many ups and downs over the last 5 years but I always knew we would save this canyon. Once open space is gone, it is gone forever so we must always fight for it and never give up. Now, generations of both humans and animals will be able to enjoy the beauty and serenity of Oswit Canyon," Garrison said.

"Preserving this magnificent canyon is a huge step toward saving the peninsular bighorn sheep and other species that frequent it while ensuring that future generations of humans will be able to enjoy our desert's natural splendor." said Jim Karpiak, Executive Director of CVMC, a state agency that has spearheaded hundreds of conservation projects in the Coachella Valley since 1991.

The group agreed to buy the canyon for $7.15 million, which was decided after in December following hours long mediation with the city and developers. The funding was raised through grants and donations from residents and the city. Back in December, the group raised one million dollars with over 1,000 residents making donations ranging from $10 to $150,000.

"The pristine desert beauty and serenity of Oswit Canyon is irreplaceable to so many of our Palm Springs residents who have enjoyed and hiked along its trails for many decades," said Mayor Geoff Kors. "The City of Palm Springs is proud to have partnered with Save Oswit Canyon and conservationists to fund this important acquisition which will preserve this uniquely special open space in perpetuity for current and future generations."

"This is an incredible victory for the City of Palm Springs and our residents who value conservation and preserving open space," said Mayor pro tem Christy Holstege. "This acquisition will allow us to save Oswit Canyon and its unique natural habitat and native species for future generations.”

Save Oswit Canyon, Inc. is asking residents and those interested in preserving the lands to continue donating to help maintain the canyon and cover costs of taxes.

You can learn more about the group and donate at https://saveoswitcanyon.org/.

Jesus Reyes

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