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Santa Monica Mountains Visitor Center Opens

Visitors can use interactive maps at the new center to plan hikes on local trails.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Santa Monica Mountains Visitor Center was held at King Gillette Ranch on Saturday.

The horse stables at the property built by razor mogul King C. Gillete in the 1920s were transformed into a site where people can learn more about the nature of the mountains and use interactive maps to plan hikes on local trails.

The National Park Service, California State Parks, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority will operate out of the facility.

The four agencies purchased the ranch from SOKA university in 2005 for $35 million after pooling funds together.

"Today we're seeing an example of good government," said Mary Sue Maurer, mayor of Calabasas.

The Anthony C. Beilenson Visitor Center is named after the former congressman who authored legislation in the 1970s establishing the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

"Our new visitor center is exactly where it should be," said Beilenson.

Construction of the new visitor center was funded with $9.5 million from the  American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, as well as in-kind contributions from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

King Gillette Ranch is located at 26800 West Mulholland Highway. Operating hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Check out the accompanying video for an inside look at the new visitor center.

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