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Rice Canyon Canal Bridge is complete, but we need your help to pay for it

By on April 29, 2020 in Featured, News

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally come to fruition. The Rice Canyon Canal Bridge is officially complete! The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, in partnership with the Casitas Municipal Water District and Bureau of Reclamation, has worked hard over the last two and a half years to ensure the Rice Canyon Canal Bridge, which crosses over the Robles Diversion Canal, would be reborn from the ashes once again. However, unlike its last two predecessors, the new bridge is made out of steel and concrete which makes it more resilient to fire. 

The installation of the new Rice Canyon Canal Bridge means the return of the quickest public access to Rice Canyon, the beloved Rice to Wills loop, and the western portion of the Ventura River Preserve and its extensive network of trails; including a gateway trail (Kennedy Ridge Trail) leading into the Los Padres National Forest. Hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians all agree that the loop from Rice Canyon to Wills Canyon is one of the most beloved routes on the preserve. Following an old ranch road, it provides a trail that is accessible to all levels of users and creates one of the most enjoyable loops in Ojai. The OVLC estimates that the 1,600-acre Ventura River Preserve provides nature-based recreation to over 66,000 visitors each year on its 17 miles of trail. These protected open spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities are one of the reasons why people enjoy living in and visiting Ojai. 

Rebuilding the Rice Canyon Canal Bridge cost nearly $272,00, all of which the OVLC had to pay upfront from community donations. However, we knew that if we worked patiently with FEMA we would be able to recoup some of this expense, given that the bridge burned in the Thomas Fire. While this slowed down the rebuild, FEMA is going to reimburse the OVLC about $172,000! We are still fundraising for the remainder of the bridge, as we had to divert funds from our general stewardship efforts to keep the bridge rebuild on schedule and take advantage of the FEMA funds. If we hadn’t completed the bridge rebuild this summer, we would have lost the FEMA funds.

To those who already donated, we thank you! If you haven’t donated yet, please consider donating today.

USE THE FORM BELOW TO DONATE FOR THE BRIDGE

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