A newly purchased 97.5-acre property on Skyline Ridge will open an additional trail to bicyclists and hikers, the nonprofit land trust Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) has announced.
Known as the Silva property, the land is next to the Mindego Hill portion of Russian Ridge, which the trust saved from development in 2007. It is on the western flank of Skyline Ridge, four miles southeast of La Honda. (View map)
POST purchased the property from the family of the late Jack H. Silva of Santa Clara for $3.09 million on Dec. 17, 2010. The land previously required an easement to cross from Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve to Mindego Hill.
The parcel will be added to the Russian Ridge preserve and will be transferred to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for management sometime in 2011.
The property includes nearly a mile of frontage along Alpine Road. It is surrounded on all sides by other protected open space, including the 3,025-acre Russian Ridge to the north and west and 2,142-acre Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve to the south and east.
The property offers panoramic views of Mindego, the San Mateo coast and Santa Cruz Mountains. It also may support or be home to endangered and threatened creatures by providing a migratory corridor for California red-legged frogs and potential habitat for long-eared owls.
It has rolling grasslands and oak-and-madrone woodlands that support golden eagles, coyotes, badgers and mountain lions. Dense Douglas-fir forests line steep creek canyons, and the headwaters of Alpine Creek flow on the property into San Gregorio Creek, which supports threatened steelhead trout, according to POST.
"This rolling landscape is a natural extension of Mindego Hill and surrounding protected lands," POST President Audrey Rust said.
"Our purchase of this strategically located property helps expand the connection between Skyline Ridge and Russian Ridge preserves and creates an opportunity for ... a trail connection to Mindego Hill. It also ... ensures that the heart and soul of Skyline Ridge remains protected from development."