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Part of Topanga Canyon Could Be Designated a Scenic Highway

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A portion of Topanga Canyon Boulevard will be put up for consideration as designation as one of California's Scenic Highways, thanks to the efforts of Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and the Board of Supervisors.The Board said Tuesday they would ask the state for the designation, according to City News Service.

More than three-quarters of a million people annually drive the 12 miles through the Topanga Creek Watershed, according to a resolution passed by the board in support of the plan.

The section that could be added to the current roster of state Scenic Highways—indicated by the California Poppy sign—is the portion of Topanga Canyon Boulevard that runs south from the county line with Ventura County, where it overlooks the San Fernando Valley, to Pacific Coast Highway.

What qualifies a roadway as "scenic" in the eyes of the state? Caltrans runs the program, and has specific criteria, largely centered on the roadway's natural attributes and surrounding environment. "Regardless of landscape region, the highway should traverse an area of outstanding scenic quality, containing striking views, flora, geology, or other unique natural attributes," says Caltrans.

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The goal of the program, which launched in 1963, is to "preserve and enhance the natural beauty of California."

When it comes to what Topanga Canyon has to offer, Yaroslavsky said Tuesday: "Thousands and thousands of visitors to Topanga State Park and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area enjoy access via Topanga Canyon Boulevard to the wild lands and beaches of this stunningly beautiful corner of our state."

Documents supporting the designation note Topanga Canyon Boulevard's "wide-open vistas, massive rock formations, a diverse collection of plant life and 'architectural treasures,' such as a 1929-era bridge over the creek."