Last year we protected a 182-acre inholding within the El Sereno Open Space Preserve, located on the peak and slopes of El Sereno mountain. It felt good to celebrate another significant win for South Bay land conservation and to have secured another key piece in our growing network of protected open spaces. And we’re thrilled to have just recently transferred this inholding to partners at the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen) for long term management and care.
You don’t need to have visited this preserve to appreciate its value. Chances are you have enjoyed the view of its expansive open space when looking west to the ridgeline from Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga or perhaps when driving down Highway 280. This 1,361-acre preserve is a key part of the iconic backdrop for these South Bay communities and a critical ingredient to the quality of life for millions of South Bay residents.
If you have visited the preserve, you’re familiar with the incredible vista points that are gained from hiking, biking, and horseback riding on trails that reach over 2,000 feet above the Santa Clara Valley. From the ridgeline you can see the Lexington Reservoir, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve and south to the entrance of Coyote Valley.
The steep topography and canyons of the property and surrounding preserve provide chaparral and forested habitats suitable for mountain lions, deer, coyotes, bobcats and a variety of resident and migratory birds. The protection of this property also provided permanent contiguous land connections for public access. By purchasing this property, POST succeeded in closing a gap in ownership of the Aquinas Trail located within the preserve (a section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail – find the map here).
When Midpen initiated the purchase of this 182-acre inholding within their El Sereno Open Space Preserve property in 2020, they knew it’d be contingent upon securing a sizable grant from the California State Wildlife Conservation Board. But this funding, like so much of life that year, was unfortunately delayed due to the pandemic.
Worried about losing their chance at this opportunity, Midpen turned to us at POST to lend a hand. With their support, we acquired the property and have since acted as the interim landholder while they worked to secure the funding needed to reimburse POST for the full purchase price. And, with their funding recently secured, we were able to transfer this land to Midpen for permanent management — a textbook assist.
We know protecting this land is enough cause for celebration. But what we’re especially proud of here at POST is not necessarily just that the land is now conserved but how we went about conserving it and the partnership we have developed over many decades with our friends at Midpen.
It’s perhaps one of the best examples locally of how well a publicly funded (Midpen) and a privately funded (POST) organization can work together to achieve a common goal. By working together and leveraging our collective assets, expertise and knowledge we can achieve so much for our communities and the land that surrounds us – something decades of experience and relationships have perfected.
Learn more about what we do here.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 80,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more