Update on Park Closures
All NPS trails are open, w/the exception of part of the Satwiwa Loop Trail. Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa is only open sunrise to sunset. Point Mugu State Park re-opens 5/24. More »
Trucks on Cheeseboro Canyon Trail
Occasional truck traffic (approx 6 trips per day) will take place on Cheeseboro Cyn Trail weekdays between 8am & 4pm for demolition and removal of Cheeseboro Tank. Should be completed by 5/31/13. Check back for updates or call 818-889-8996. More »
U.S. National Archives
On May 20, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln passed the Homestead Act. This law allowed any U.S. citizen, or future citizen, to apply for and lay claim to 160 acres of surveyed government land. First, they had to file an application, pay a small fee, improve the land, and file for the deed of title. In the first five years, the homesteader had to live on the land and make improvements by building a 12 by 14 dwelling and by growing crops. When the five years was up they had to show proof of the improvements and could then file for the land patent (now called deed of title).
This act brought more Mexicans to the Santa Monica Mountain area. Many families had already moved to the area when travelers brought news back to Mexico of how well the Missions and their cattle were doing due to the large pasture areas, fresh drinking water, and fertile soil. Spaniard colonists had been struggling to raise their cattle on the rocky landscape of Mexico, which brought the initial wave of people to the Santa Monica Mountains area. It also brought many other people from various cultural backgrounds and provided a polyglot mixture of homesteaders during this time.
Courtesy Topanga Historical Society.
Since 1771 California had belonged to Spain and then in 1822 Mexico overthrew their Spaniard control and California became property of Mexico. In 1848 California became part of the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Although many of the Mexican homesteaders and rancho owners moved away from their lands into other parts of California or the United States, they left behind a strong cultural heritage that can be seen from San Diego to San Francisco.
Did You Know?
Comprising 153,075 acres, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the world's largest urban national park. It has more area codes (5) and zip codes (26), including the notable 90210 zip code of Beverly Hills, than any other unit in the National Park System.