Proposition 117 was the very first initiative to qualify for the statewide ballot strictly through the efforts of unpaid volunteers - many of which were, and remain, proud members of the Mountain Lion Foundation. The initiative classified mountain lions as a "specially protected mammal" in California, and thus safe from being hunted down for sport or recreation. And Proposition 117 recognized the essential significance of healthy ecosystems by creating the Habitat Conservation Fund which acquires and protects habitat for all of California's people and wildlife.
MLF staff enjoyed visiting Senator Pavley's office in the capitol, posing for pictures, and casually chatting about the new mountain lion kittens in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Senator Pavley mentioned that in her district, "the Habitat Conservation Fund has helped acquire land and protect habitat and native species in areas including Topanga Canyon, Franklin Canyon Park, and Malibu Creek State Park just to name a few."
More than 2.2 million acres of wildlife habitat have been protected in California because of Proposition 117. The resolution is, in part, the State's way of saying thank you to MLF's dedicated volunteers who helped gather signatures and promote the passage of the initiative all those years ago. Because of their efforts to protect wildlife, the Resolution notes "California now has the unique status as the state with the largest human population coexisting with the largest number of mountain lions."
The resolution includes a summary of the impressive results of the first twenty years of the Habitat Conservation Fund. The fund "has protected more than 2.2 million acres with its investments, including more than 300,000 acres of mountain lion habitat, 337,000 acres of additional wildlife habitat, 267,000 acres of wetland habitat, more than one million acres of fisheries and riparian habitat, and nearly 145,000 acres of hiking trails, corridors, and interpretive programs at state and local parks..."
The Habitat Conservation Fund is established for another full decade of support. Mountain Lion protections will continue for as long as the statute remains in force.
You can read the Resolution in its entirety online.