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POST Buys 160 Acres for Conservation in
South Santa Clara County near Morgan Hill

September 21, 2011

(Palo Alto, Calif.) — Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) announced today its purchase of 160 acres of steep slopes and chaparral-covered hillsides adjacent to Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve near Morgan Hill. The new conservation property joins a larger network of already protected lands in south Santa Clara County where POST has been actively working in recent years to save open space for wildlife habitat, watershed protection, public access and scenic enjoyment.

POST bought the land in a generous bargain sale from private owners on September 14 for $440,000. POST is partnering with the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (SCCOSA), which will manage the property until it can take ownership within the coming year. SCCOSA plans to add the land to its currently 4,334-acre Rancho Cañada del Oro preserve.

“I’m very enthusiastic about this purchase because it shows the public benefits that result from a collaboration between two strong partners,” said POST President Walter Moore. “By working together, even in these tough economic times, POST and the Open Space Authority can still succeed at saving these critical lands.”

The new property is ideally situated to help create wildlife corridors and expand public trails between three major parks: Almaden Quicksilver County Park, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve and Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. The property is also important watershed land, with a seasonal creek flowing down Edson Canyon, which runs across the property. That creek flows into Twin Falls Creek, which in turn drains into Llagas Creek, a waterway that provides habitat for threatened steelhead trout.

With uninterrupted views of surrounding hillsides, “it’s a little piece of heaven,” said Ramalina Steiner, whose father, a Silicon Valley engineer, bought the land in the 1960s as a weekend retreat for his family. Now living in Washington state, Steiner still recalls heading up to the property from their family home in Santa Clara for camping and hunting expeditions. “We were lucky to have a place to go where we could connect to something bigger, where natural laws made sense, where there was a sense of wholeness” away from suburbia, she said.

Over the years, as family members aged and moved out of the area, they found themselves no longer able to care for the property. “POST was approached because the Steiners wanted to safeguard for future generations the land’s wild, rugged character and all the benefits they had enjoyed there,” Moore said.

“My hope is that long after my lifetime, POST and other conservation groups will be good guardians of this beautiful place that has given me so much solace,” Steiner said.

POST has a long history of saving open space in south Santa Clara County. The nonprofit land trust has partnered with public agencies in the region for more than three decades to make significant additions to parks and preserves, and continues to work strategically to connect islands of open space within larger networks of protected natural lands.