POST Completes Campaign to Save Mindego Hill, Surpasses Goal

Second highest peak on Coastside sold to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for future public use.

July 10, 2008

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) announced today that it has surpassed its fund-raising goal of $6.9 million to save Mindego Hill, 1,047 acres of open ranchland near La Honda on the San Francisco Peninsula. More than 1,300 people contributed $7.2 million to POST’s GoMindego campaign, launched in October 2007 when POST purchased Mindego Ranch from private owners.

POST transferred the land today to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) for permanent protection. The property, which provides extraordinary recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat, is poised to become part of MROSD’s Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve.

POST originally bought the land for $28.5 million and has now sold it to MROSD for $22.5 million. Of this amount, MROSD paid $15 million plus $7.5 million it received from the California Coastal Conservancy towards this purchase. The $7.2 million raised by POST’s campaign covers the remaining balance, plus additional costs related to the acquisition of Mindego Hill.

“When we bought Mindego Hill last year,” said POST President Audrey Rust, “we needed to raise the necessary funds to ensure its protection as quickly as possible. In just nine short months, we have been able to rally the public to protect this landmark property along Skyline Ridge.”

Mindego Hill’s recreation potential, natural resources and urgent threat of development made it a high priority for conservation. Its 2,143-foot summit is the second highest on the Coastside, offering sweeping 360-degree views of adjacent Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve as well as San Gregorio Creek Valley, Pomponio Creek Valley and the Pacific Ocean as far south as Monterey Bay.

“Donors new and old to POST, as well as public agencies and foundation partners, all recognized how special a place Mindego Hill is,” said Rust. “It has been at the top of our list for high-priority protection for nearly 30 years. With gifts from private donors ranging from $15 to $1 million, everyone who contributed to this effort should feel proud to have saved this glorious part of the Peninsula.”

Mindego Hill lies close to Silicon Valley near the intersection of Skyline Boulevard and Alpine Road. It is named after Juan Mendico, a Basque farmer who established a homestead and cattle ranch here in 1859. Nearly a century later, in 1954, the True family purchased the ranch and owned it for more than 50 years when, in 2006, family members decided to approach POST about purchasing the land for long-term conservation.

Funds raised by POST’s GoMindego campaign include $2.3 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; a $500,000 challenge match from an anonymous foundation; $100,000 from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; and $50,000 from the San Francisco Foundation. A gift of $250,000 from the Palo Alto-based Foundation for Global Community put the campaign over the top.

As it works to open Mindego Hill to the public, MROSD plans to hold six reservation-only docent-led hikes on the land this fall and winter. Steve Abbors, MROSD’s General Manager said, “Mindego Ranch is a stunning addition to the central California greenbelt, and we are looking forward to our role in protecting it and making it available for public enjoyment.”

Said Rust, “Thanks to the generous community support we’ve received, the public will soon be able to savor Mindego Hill’s breathtaking views and explore its many hiking trails, which connect the land with nearly 33,000 acres of surrounding protected open space. Now we can truly say this land is protected forever.”