In addition to dozens of other accolades received over his lifetime, James Cameron can now count a nature preserve named in his honor. 

The 59-year-old recently sold off 703 acres of largely undeveloped land to the California Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, protecting for future generations what was the largest remaining privately owned open space in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles County. The new Cameron Nature Preserve will link up with trails from the Pacific Coast Highway and allow the authority to develop a key segment of the 70-mile Coastal Slope Trail

Despite the $12 million sale price, the conservation authority scored a huge bargain on the land, which as recently as 2007 was being listed on the open market by Cameron for $25 million. Thankfully, there were no takers — and, owing to its attractive development potential, conservation groups worked quickly to collaborate and secure the land once Cameron expressed interest in selling again. 

"Because it's privately owned, there are some entitlements on that property that, if they had been developed by real estate developers, would've disrupted all the environmental resources and values that that land is being purchased for," County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told KPCC Radio. "This preserves a piece of very important, sensitive wildlife habitat." 

In a report on, Conservation Authority Executive Officer Joseph T. Edmiston praised Cameron for working with the groups to make the discounted sale happen. 

"It was the visionary leadership of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Senator Fran Pavley, the California Wildlife Conservation Board, the California Coastal Conservancy and the generosity of Mr. Cameron that enabled the MRCA to permanently protect this extraordinary open space,” Edmiston said. "Local park agencies have hoped to protect this land for many years. Our state and local leadership has guaranteed that this critical open space will be accessible for future generations.”

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Director James Cameron sells 703-acre property for $12M
The ecologically-sensitive land purchased by conservation groups will now be renamed the Cameron Nature Preserve.