PALO ALTO, Calif. (Feb 5, 2020) – Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) today announced the protection of 540 acres of ranchland and 38 acres of farmland in San Gregorio, purchased for $13.5 million from a local landowner. Located near the intersection of Highways 1 and 84, the deal will ensure continued agricultural use of the land and offer opportunities for the public to enjoy the area’s rural character. The acquisition also protects a critical watershed with abundant biodiversity, benefitting the larger region. A generous grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation helped make this acquisition possible.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a dearth of affordable working lands in our area,” said Walter T. Moore, president of POST. “This property is an ideal opportunity to continue our work to preserve the rural character and working lands heritage of San Mateo County. We now know that these lands are vital to the broader ecosystem and are thrilled that the sellers have entrusted POST with the property to preserve it for future generations of people and wildlife.”
The farm parcel, which POST has named Rising Acres, is the eighth farm protected on the San Mateo Coast through POST’s Farmland program. It features a half-mile of frontage on San Gregorio Creek, an important corridor for Coho salmon and steelhead trout. The land will be subject to an agricultural conservation easement that POST will place on it to permanently preserve the land for agricultural use.
“We plan to work with a farmer who will help us revitalize this farm,” said Ben Wright, POST’s director of land transactions. “Local farmers are great partners and stewards of the land that are committed to caring for the land and community. We hope this partnership will lead to the farmer buying and managing the land for the long-term.”
This new acquisition is part of POST’s Farmland program, which works to reverse the trend of disappearing farmland on the San Mateo Coast through a combination of land acquisition, legal land protection and strategic investments in infrastructure and restoration.
The 540 acres of ranchland, named Gordon Ridge after the ridgeline along its northern boundary, is a spectacular property with rolling hills, views of the ocean and extensive wildlife habitat. POST’s acquisition allows for continued conservation grazing by cattle to help manage flammable vegetation, improve soil health and enhance the diversity of native plants and animals. To this end, POST has extended a lease with the existing ranching tenant on the property. The protection of Gordon Ridge also opens the door to explore opportunities to build trails through the property and connect with adjacent open space in the future.
“This is a rare opportunity to preserve many of the things that make our coast so special,” said Wright. “Coastal grasslands and agricultural lands are some of the most threatened landscapes in San Mateo County and around our country. The ability to protect another historic farm on San Gregorio Creek is an added bonus. Habitat preservation, healthy grasslands, productive working land and future public access all add up to a win for everyone.”
Protection of working lands on the San Mateo Coast has been a focus for POST since the 1980s. For many members of the surrounding communities, the protections allow for continued economic activity through agriculture. For everyone who passes through, they are immediately recognizable as the stunning scenic views along California’s iconic Highway 1, from Half Moon Bay south to the Santa Cruz County border.
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 78,500 acres since 1977. POST works with private landowners and public agencies to connect people and nature. Visit openspacetrust.org for more information.
Driven by the belief that sustainable and environmentally responsible farming is good for the land and contributes to the vitality of local communities, POST’s Farmland Program works with farmland owners and operators to secure farmland and natural resources, protecting the San Mateo Coast’s agricultural heritage and sustaining future generations. This program is made possible by donations raised through FFI. Visit openspacetrust.org/farmland for more information.
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 79,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more