MORGAN HILL, Calif. (April 5, 2023) – Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) today announced the purchase of 1,986 acres of Lakeside Ranch for $22.36 million. This conservation purchase increases to more than 10,000 acres the amount of natural and working lands in and around Coyote Valley, an environmentally critical landscape north of Morgan Hill, that have been permanently protected since 2015. One of the largest remaining intact ranches in the South Bay, Lakeside Ranch is proximate to protected lands on three sides. The property contains critical watershed and wildlife passage and is home to unique and endangered species.
This acquisition significantly expands the open space that connects San José and Morgan Hill, providing numerous environmental benefits to the surrounding communities and offering the potential for eventually expanding outdoor recreation in the area.
Lakeside Ranch shares a two-and-a-half-mile border with the nearly 2,500 acres of the Tilton Ranch properties — protected in 2020 and 2021 by POST, Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency and Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority — which in turn connect to the existing 348-acre Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Rancho Cañada del Oro Preserve (5,428 acres) and Calero County Park (4,471 acres) are proximate to the west and north of Lakeside Ranch.
Lakeside Ranch is a glorious property, with striking views, mature oak woodlands and grasslands that are home to
many native species. It is rich in biodiverse habitats and directly connects thousands of acres of protected land, creating a significant wildlife linkage across the region. This is a keystone conservation acquisition that will help to boost landscape-scale climate resilience and benefit the surrounding communities,” said Walter T. Moore, president of POST. “We are grateful to our donors and funders – especially the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has been generous in its support of our conservation efforts and an exceptional partner offering financing on Lakeside Ranch.”
The Property History
Since the 1950s, Lakeside Ranch has belonged to a privately held company. It was partially operated as a cattle ranch and was once home to a private equestrian stable. Grazing will continue on roughly 1,900 acres of the ranch after the change of ownership. The ranch sits on ancestral lands of numerous Indigenous peoples, who stewarded the land for millennia and whose descendants, members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, still reside in the region.
The Conservation Vision
Situated in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the expansive property has for decades been a top conservation priority, cited in numerous regional plans and studies. It provides connectivity for wildlife moving between the Santa Cruz Mountains in the west, the Diablo range in the east and the Gabilan range to the south. Protecting these pathways from development ensures continued wildlife passage between habitats, which is essential to maintaining biodiversity throughout the entire region. Llagas Creek runs through Lakeside Ranch, flowing south to the Chesbro Reservoir and beyond to the Pajaro River, which flows south to Monterey Bay.
Lakeside Ranch supports a large variety of natural land cover types, dominated by oak woodland habitat. It includes habitat for numerous animal species and many California endemic plant species targeted for conservation by the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency. These include the western pond turtle, Santa Clara Valley dudleya, pink creamsacs, serpentine leptosiphon, Hall’s bush mallow, most beautiful jewelflower and smooth lessingia.
POST is working closely with the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency (VHA), its partner in protecting the adjacent Tilton Ranch complex, to develop a plan for the long-term stewardship of Lakeside. The management plan and future transfer of the property may involve conservation partners in addition to VHA. POST will own and manage Lakeside until those arrangements are finalized.
POST’s purchase of the 1,986-acres Lakeside Ranch for $22.36 million is supported by a significant program-related investment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
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About the Peninsula Open Space Trust
POST protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. As a private nonprofit land trust, POST has been responsible for saving more than 86,000 acres since its founding in 1977. POST works with private landowners and public agencies to create a network of protected lands so that present and future generations may benefit from the careful balance of rural and urban landscapes that makes our region extraordinary. Visit openspacetrust.org for more information.
About Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area. Visit Moore.org and follow @MooreFound.
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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 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more