About the Nature Trust of the Santa Monica Mountains
The Nature Trust property is located
at 33905 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, across from the Pacific Ocean.
It was developed in 1973 as the Malibu Riding and Tennis Club and Guest
In conjunction with the Nature Trust's
stewardship of the Riding and Tennis Club and its unique location in the
Santa Monica Mountains (largely surrounded by County and State Parks abutting
the Pacific Coast Highway and ocean), it offers unique outdoor experiences
and outdoor-related programs. The pristine public beaches regularly receive
an "A" in water quality from Heal the Bay.
The still largely natural Nicholas Canyon
watershed comprises approximately 875 acres extending from its headwaters
at Nicholas Flat Natural Area within Leo Carrillo State Park to its confluence
at the Pacific Ocean within Nicholas Canyon County Beach.
Originally 280-acres, the Malibu Riding and Tennis
Club property, comprising the lower eastern half of the watershed and
threatened by massive development, was acquired first by the Mountains
Restoration Trust in 1997 and subsequently transferred to the Nature Trust
of the Santa Monica Mountains in 2000.
Phase 1 of the Nature Trust's Nicholas
Canyon watershed protection plan was realized with the acquisition of
the central and upper eastern half of the watershed in 2003-2004 by State
Parks. Completion of the protection of the remaining watershed and subsequently
its downstream still-pristine beaches would be accomplished through the
purchase of the western half of the watershed, the 172-acre Freshman parcel.
Recreational Infrastructure of the
- The Recreational Infrastructure is Very Diverse
and Unique. It is ideal for providing structured nature-based outdoor recreational programs and
special events that expand coastal visitor experiences and personal
wellness, as well as special events such as weddings, private parties
and related functions.
- Experiencing "God's Little Healing Pocket."
It is said that Nicholas Canyon's healing and restorative powers have
been recognized from the origin of human contact with the land beginning
with the Chumash people approximately 10,000 years ago. The folklore
continued into the early part of the 20th century when people who
lived and worked on the land referred to the canyon as "God's Little
Healing Pocket." Even today, visitors to the property often acknowledge
a sense of a special place as expressed in inner peace and restoration
of mind and spirit when they spend the day.
- The Wellness Center with adjacent Pool, Spa
and Fitness Center is one of the attractions of the charming Sycamore
Lodge and its extensive infrastructure that also features kitchen
facilities. It serves as headquarters for private outdoor recreation-connected
functions inclusive of wellness programs, art shows and related
programs, and ceremonial functions inclusive of weddings.
- The Lower Canyon Park-like Environment
is handicap-accessible and provides a peaceful, quiet, and tranquil
setting dotted by park benches in sycamore and oak groves. It is dissected
by private trails that lead through the canyon, onto the adjacent
watershed and to surrounding parkland. Mostly structured passive recreation includes
picnicking, studying the native plant life, observing the wildlife,
spending a day birding in an undisturbed park-like setting, meditating
in peace and quiet, being part of or listening to Native Indian flute
concerts, watching the hummingbirds up close in the hummingbird preserve,
being part of a wedding ceremony and appreciating the expansive ocean,
sunsets and nighttime star views from trail and lookout vistas. Within
the canyon the handicap-accessible former caretaker cottage provides
unique day or overnight experiences within close proximity to an intermittent
stream and nature's wildlands.
- Tennis Courts and Equestrian Riding Rings
removed from the riparian areas provide more active recreation infrastructure
where one can play a game of tennis or participate in equestrian activities
(with reservations). Active recreation also extends to swimming, surfing,
or kayaking along the beaches.
- The Central and Upper Canyon Wilderness Environment
within the Nicholas Canyon watershed is designated by the State of
California as an ESHA (Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area) and
is home to a variety of wildlife, such as mountain lions, bobcats,
deer, hawks, and owls, to name just a few. The canyon provides a fine
example of a riparian oak-sycamore-willow corridor. Such riparian
corridors are important to wildlife because of the availability of
water and the subsequent diversity of vegetation.
- State and County Beaches and Parks that
surround the site offer clean water, ocean breezes and stunning sunsets
and greatly expand the outdoor experience. Along the beaches one can
sunbathe or meditate, observe dolphins (regularly), migrating whales
(seasonally), shorebirds (almost daily weather permitting) while watching
the waves perpetually rolling in. More active recreation includes
swimming, kayaking, surfing and exercising inclusive of jogging.