$2.5 million purchases completes acquisition
After a century in private hands, Mount Konocti's tallest peak and more than 1,300 acres of surrounding land became public property on Friday.
"We just bought a mountain," Lake County Public Services Director Kim Clymire said shortly after the final papers were signed."It's a dream come true," said Lake County Administrative Officer Kelly Cox. The $2.6 million purchase will preserve Clear Lake's most recognizable backdrop and open the land and its spectacular views to hikers."On a clear day, you can see Mount Lassen," Clymire said.The purchase completes a two-part deal struck between Lake County officials and the Fowler Family Trust. It includes 4,400 foot-tall Wright Peak, the tallest of four major peaks on Mount Konocti, and two lesser summits, South and Howard peaks.Last year, the county purchased the second-tallest peak — Buckingham — along with 176 acres for $1.2 million.That purchase included a cell tower facility whose operator pays the county about $100,000 a year, money that will be used to improve and maintain the property.The county's new acquisition is adjacent to 821 acres of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management.Between the county and state, all but about 1,000 acres of Mount Konocti is now in public ownership, Clymire said.An access road to the Mount Konocti property, located near Kelseyville, needs to be altered before the land can be opened to the public, Cox said.Use of the property also must be decided. Motorized vehicles and hunting will be prohibited, a condition of the purchase agreement. Public access also will be limited to day use, with some possible exceptions, Clymire said. The county has been holding public hearings to determine the best use of the property. Officials also are working out public access agreements for Wright Peak, which offers Mount Konocti's best views, including of Lake Berryessa, Mount Lassen and the Sutter Buttes. The peak's top five acres and a fire lookout belong to CalFire, Clymire said.The county also wants to extend public access from its property on Mount Konocti to Clear Lake State Park. Only a few land parcels stand in the way, Cox said. Federal and state officials are interested in helping the county link the two parks, he said."We all have the same goal," Cox said.
8/3/2008--great photo of