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AGUA DULCE, CA-Local government officials have agreed to buy a key parcel near the entrance of a popular park in this fast-growing LA suburb to keep it from being developed.

The two-acre parcel stands on Escondido Canyon Road, at the main entrance to Vasquez Rocks park. The mountainous park is visited by more than 1 million picnickers, hikers and cave-explorers every year.

The area has seen an increasing amount of development over the past decade, as builders began looking beyond the borders of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys for space to construct new homes and commercial projects. The county, which is paying $260,000 to a private owner for the two-acre parcel, purchased 155 acres in the same area earlier this year in an effort to establish a nature center.

Vasquez Rocks is not only one of the county’s busiest parks, but also is a popular spot for TV and film-production companies. Its rocky and mountainous terrain has served as a backdrop for countless Westerns, war movies and sci-fi flicks.

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