Save Mount Diablo (SMD) and the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association (CMDTRA) have signed an option agreement to work to permanently protect about 154 acres east of Clayton.
The site is one of the most strategic and important properties remaining on Mount Diablo’s main peaks. It stretches across the north face of North Peak from the pastoral Three Spring area almost to the spectacular Falls Trail, including beautiful Cardinet Oaks and upper Young Canyon.
The $50,000 option payment, signed on Dec. 31, gives the land conservation organization two years to raise more than $1,040,000 to purchase a perpetual conservation easement on the open space.
CMDTRA will keep about 47 acres where its buildings are located. The association will retain ownership of all the land and continue to manage it. However, the conservation easement will permanently limit the property’s uses and extinguish any development rights.
“This property has been a high priority for us since 1971,” said Ted Clement, executive director of SMD. “We give a standing ovation to the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association for giving us an opportunity to permanently protect another important section of Mount Diablo.
“Mount Diablo has been a very special and sacred mountain for peoples of this area for eons and still is,” Clement added, “so we are hopeful that our communities will help us raise the necessary funds to protect this land.”
CMDTRA president Elaine Baker was equally enthusiastic.
“We at CMDTRA are thrilled to finally move forward with making the conservation easement into a reality, preserving our treasured open space for future generations,” she said. “We are so thankful that Save Mount Diablo has created this unique opportunity to not only protect the land but also create funding to preserve the equestrian culture in the Bay Area.”
The area is surrounded on three sides by Mount Diablo State Park and contiguous with SMD’s conserved Young Canyon property and its North Peak Ranch acquisition project, which the organization is buying over 10 years.
Protecting the 154 acres will build upon already protected wildlife habitat corridors, scenic view corridors and watershed lands.
Over the years, a number of houses and other structures have been built near the area – highlighting the importance of protecting this strategic land while there are two willing parties.
The property, which rises from 1,100 feet to 2,010 feet, provides stunning vistas to passersby on various public roads, such as Marsh Creek Road, and to the public recreating at Mount Diablo State Park.
Much of the property is steep and rugged, and its biodiversity supports dozens of rare plant species like the Mt. Diablo globe lily and rare wildlife such as the Alameda whipsnake. Meanwhile, the oak woodland and grasslands on the property can help mitigate climate change. Forests and other undeveloped lands absorb greenhouse gases, thereby acting as carbon sinks that keep those gases out of the atmosphere.
SMD’s fundraising for the property is part of its Forever Wild Capital Campaign. The group has an ambitious $15 million goal to help expedite its land acquisition efforts, while also giving the organization the resources to steward and defend its conserved lands in perpetuity. To date, they have raised $12,963,485.
Learn more about Save Mount Diablo at the website www.savemountdiablo.org.