POST Acquires Two Ridgetop Properties near New Almaden in San Jose
Purchases Link More Than 8,000 Acres of Adjacent Open Space and Parkland
April 2, 2009
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) announced today that is has completed two more strategic purchases of open space in south Santa Clara County. The first is 74 acres of undeveloped land next to Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. The second is 118 acres adjacent to the first purchase and next to Almaden Quicksilver County Park. POST acquired these lands in February and March for $250,000 and $400,000, respectively. Together, they link the 8,000 acres of already protected open space within the adjacent preserve and county park.
These two purchases signal POST’s continued momentum in protecting at-risk landscapes in south Santa Clara County. The properties are part of the natural frame of open lands that mark the edge of suburban San Jose. Both are rugged, barely served by roads or trails, and heavily covered with brush and trees, mostly oak woodland.
“These properties have great potential to create a key trail and wildlife connection between the two large neighboring parks,” said POST President Audrey Rust. “Rocky outcroppings on the land could have become the site of a highly visible private estate home. Now, thanks to these purchases, animals will continue to roam free here, and one day people will be able to hike and enjoy the panoramic views of Almaden Reservoir and beyond.”
Dianne Johnson Schilling, of Portola Valley, and her brother Richard Johnson, of Reno, Nev., sold the 74-acre parcel to POST. The land had been in their family for five generations, since their great-great-grandmother, Alleta Menke, purchased it in the late 1800s. Menke’s two sons had a cabin there and worked for some years at the New Almaden Mine nearby. Schilling and Johnson decided to sell their land to POST because they wanted to see its scenic beauty and natural resources preserved permanently.
“From my home in Portola Valley I can see Windy Hill. That’s what first got me interested in POST,” said Schilling, referring to the Skyline Ridge landmark POST protected in 1979 and later transferred to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD). “The view of the hills brings home to me every day the value of having open natural land nearby. In selling our family land near San Jose to POST, we can help safeguard a backdrop of hills for others to enjoy.”
Based in Palo Alto, POST has a long history in south Santa Clara County, saving land there since 1980. In 1995, POST helped MROSD purchase 1,200-acre Rancho de Guadalupe, now part of Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. POST’s largest project in South County was the 1999 acquisition of 2,427-acre Rancho Cañada del Oro, part of which formed a preserve of the same name established by Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (SCCOSA), while another part was added to Calero County Park. Last year, POST acquired 408-acre Clark Canyon Ranch, in Gilroy, and helped SCCOSA buy 865-acre Blair Ranch, in Morgan Hill.“Sometimes it takes years for parcels to become park additions,” explained Rust. “During that time, they serve the needs of wildlife while contributing to clean air, clean water and a pleasing view. Without POST’s initial involvement, much of the local natural land we enjoy would not look the same today. That’s why we’re pleased to acquire these two latest properties in South County and work with our public agency partners to protect them forever.”