POST acquires Skyline property near Russian Ridge preserve

Press release

By on Wed, January 12, 2011

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) has acquired 97.5 acres adjacent to the publicly owned Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve near La Honda. POST, a nonprofit land trust, purchased the property on December 17, 2010, for $3.09 million from private owners and expects to transfer it in the coming year to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) as an addition to the public agency’s Russian Ridge preserve.

POST worked closely with MROSD to arrange this purchase from members of the Silva family, who recently inherited the property from their father, the late Jack H. Silva of Santa Clara. The land sits on the western flank of Skyline Ridge, four miles southeast of La Honda. It includes nearly a mile of frontage along Alpine Road and is surrounded on all sides by protected land, including 3,025-acre Russian Ridge OSP to the north and west and 2,142-acre Skyline Ridge OSP to the south and east. It sits next to the Mindego Hill portion of Russian Ridge OSP that POST saved from developers in 2007 and transferred to MROSD in 2008.

“This rolling landscape is a natural extension of Mindego Hill and surrounding protected lands,” said POST President Audrey Rust. “Our purchase of this strategically located property helps expand the connection between Skyline Ridge and Russian Ridge preserves and creates an opportunity for a future staging area and trail connection to Mindego Hill. It also gives MROSD time to leverage public funding for this property and ensures that the heart and soul of Skyline Ridge remains protected from development.”

Panoramic views of landmark Mindego Hill, the San Mateo Coast and the Santa Cruz Mountains serve as a dramatic backdrop to the property’s undulating grasslands, oak woodlands and madrones. The headwaters of Alpine Creek here flow into San Gregorio Creek, which supports threatened steelhead trout. Dense Douglas fir forests line steep creek canyons, while several springs provide year-round water.

Wild animals including mountain lions, coyotes, badgers and dusky-footed woodrats call the land home. Raptors such as golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks and sharp-shinned hawks soar overhead. The property is a likely migration corridor to nearby ponds on Mindego Hill for the California red-legged frog and may provide potential habitat for the long-eared owl, a state species of special concern. The land is subject to a Williamson Act contract, and small portions of the land were once used for oat and hay farming.

MROSD and POST have a license and management agreement in place so that MROSD can manage the property pending its anticipated future transfer to the public agency from POST. The new property provides an additional trail loop opportunity for bicyclists in MROSD’s Russian Ridge OSP from the existing Mindego Ridge Trail, which is currently open to the public for hiking, equestrian and bicycle use up to the boundary of Mindego Ranch.