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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feds Consider Alternatives for San Mateo County Coast Parkland

Rancho Corral de Tierra was purchased by the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) in 2002 to preserve one of the signature, world class landscapes of the San Mateo County coast, and with the intention to transfer the property to the National Park Service for long-term management. POST and the National Park Service are working together to complete the transfer and open the Rancho to public visitation as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). A similar endeavor involved the Phleger Estate, in Woodside, which is now a popular park. The transfer does not have a specific timetable; however, GGNRA is planning for the Rancho in its 20-year general management plan - the park's master plan which creates a broad vision for the next 20 years.

In 2008, the GGNRA developed two alternatives for management of the Rancho.

Click here

to learn more about the alternatives. These generated a good deal of interest in the Coastside community, particularly from equestrians who were concerned that one of the alternatives would close the popular stables. The Park Service has responded by creating a preferred alternative that keeps the equestrian centers, and by initiating a series of public workshops where the future of the Rancho can be further explored in an open format.

This first meeting includes time to discuss comments the Park Service received about the general management plan, and to discuss the evolving preferred alternative. Ideas shared at this meeting will help refine the preferred alternative. A synopsis of the preferred alternative is included below. It will not be finalized until the Draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement is published next winter, when the public will again have an opportunity to comment. The park anticipates publishing the Final GMP/EIS and receiving authorization to implement the plan in 2011.

Preferred Alternative - as revised January 2009
The Rancho would be managed as two distinct zones. The upland areas and land outside the existing equestrian centers would be treated as a Natural Zone. It would be managed to preserve the wild, open character of the landscape and offer trail-based recreation that is light on the land, which would include walking, hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Natural habitats and processes in the zone, which includes four creek corridors, would be restored to the greatest extent possible with the help of community stewards.

Approximately 300 acres of the Rancho are not included in the park. Those acres encompass farmland of "Local Significance" as designated by the State of California Department of Conservation and will remain in agricultural use. The park would connect people to the agriculture history of the Rancho through interpretation of its cultural landscape and adjacent working farms, while not impinging on their operations.


Step 5. Fall 2008 to Spring 2009: Prepare and Distribute a Draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement *

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