The Peninsula Open Space Trust has acquired 97.5 acres of land on the western side of the Santa Cruz range near La Honda to preserve as open space, POST announced Jan. 11.
The acquisition will expand the connection between the 2,142-acre Skyline Ridge and the 3,025-acre Russian Ridge open space preserves and improve hiking access to Mindego Hill, POST said in a statement.
The property has undulating grassland, stands of oak and madrone, Douglas fire forests, and year-round creeks, including one that supports steelhead trout. POST said it paid $3 million to buy the property from the family of Jack H. Silva of Santa Clara. POST expects to transfer it within a year to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, the statement said.
Bicyclists may gain a new corridor between Russian Ridge and the Mindego Ridge trail.
"This rolling landscape is a natural extension of Mindego Hill and surrounding protected lands," POST President Audrey Rust said in the statement. "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."
Wild animals found in this area include mountain lions, coyotes, badgers and dusky-footed woodrats, golden eagles and various hawks, possibly the California red-legged frog and perhaps the uncommon and charming long-eared owl.
Small portions of the land were used at one time to farm oats and hay, the statement said.