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When I visited her last week, Fran Conley was full of stories.
She lovingly recounted a tale of her mother hauling jugs of water to have drinking water on weekend escapes to their rustic cabin. She fondly reminisced about driving her father out to the family’s property in his final years, and watching his disposition become lighter the instant he set eyes on the magnificent redwoods.
Over the course of five decades, the Krauskopf-Conley family thoughtfully stewarded their 191-acre property in Shingle Mill. Now, thanks to the generosity of Fran, the property belongs to the public and will remain a nature sanctuary in perpetuity.
On June 23, 2017, POST facilitated the transfer of ownership of the property to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD). This was the latest in POST’s inspiring relationship with the Krauskopf-Conley family.
In 2004, the Conleys donated of a conservation easement over the property. Despite the property already being protected in perpetuity, Fran approached POST in late 2016, expressing a desire to go a step further and dedicate the land to the public benefit, for current and future generations to enjoy. POST worked with MROSD to transition the property into public ownership.
Two things set this project apart in my mind.
First, Fran insisted that the donation benefit POST, MROSD, as well as the Sonoma Land Trust (SLT). As a full-time resident of The Sea Ranch on the Sonoma coast, it was important to her that her local land trust benefit as well. At the end of the transaction, POST and SLT ended up with a cash donation, while MROSD acquired the land at a bargain sale price.
Because of the local nature of land trust work, rarely, if ever, do we get to work so closely with, and learn from, other great land organizations like Sonoma Land Trust. This project provided a unique partnership opportunity and built relationships between our two organizations that will still be bearing fruit for years to come.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 75,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.