CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Sept. 22, 2022) — On September 6, 2022, the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors authorized entering into an option agreement to purchase the 768-acre Finley Road Ranch property. East Bay Regional Park District Board member Beverly Lane announced the option to purchase on Saturday, September 10 at Save Mount Diablo’s 50th anniversary Moonlight on the Mountain gala.
The property is one of the largest remaining pristine but unprotected open space landscapes adjacent to Mount Diablo State Park. It is located on the southern flank of the park at the mouth of Riggs Canyon, which extends deep into the park and the adjacent Morgan Territory Regional Preserve.
The proposed acquisition by the Park District would secure a site for the eventual development of a staging area at the entrance to the canyon, greatly improving recreational access into this relatively remote area that is laced with an extensive trail network.
Park District Board member Beverly Lane, who represents the communities surrounding the property, remarked that, “Finley Road Ranch is an opportunity for the public to easily reach Mount Diablo and Morgan Territory Regional Preserve. It’s a spectacular property, most of it unseen by anyone other than the owners for over a hundred years. Finley Road Ranch is the key to letting people into Riggs Canyon. Its views are splendid, too—the valley, the mountain, it’s one of those spots that people are going to be eager to hike to and enjoy. Thank you to Save Mount Diablo for their important contribution toward the purchase option.”
Save Mount Diablo
San Francisco Bay Area–based land trust Save Mount Diablo is supporting the Park District in this acquisition effort through its advocacy work with state and local elected officials and funding agencies. Save Mount Diablo has also contributed $50,000 of its own funds to help with the cost of the initial option payment.
“We are so pleased to support our good partners at the Park District by donating $50,000 as 25 percent of the at-risk option payment to help secure the purchase option for Finley Road Ranch, which will provide time to raise the funds needed to acquire and protect the property,” said Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director. “We have partnered with the East Bay Regional Park District and California State Parks for decades to create the Mount Diablo to Morgan Territory wildlife and recreation corridor. This property will open up Riggs Canyon and make many miles of trails and thousands of acres easily accessible so that the public can better connect with nature. We also stand ready to help the Park District raise the remaining funds required to acquire this special landscape.”
The Park District paid $200,000 for the option to purchase the property, which may be acquired for $11.4 million. The district has until November 22, 2022, to exercise the purchase option, but may extend the option through March 24, 2023, for an additional $200,000 payment.
Lane reflected that, “I’m retiring this fall after 28 years as an elected member of the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors. I do feel that it’s been an honor to be on this Board. One of the things that the Park District has done is to help define what’s urban and what’s not. The Park District has really helped ensure that the natural beauty that we have all around us is protected. In a lot of ways this is my opportunity to say goodbye to the Park District with another great success. There have been many successes but among them, the development of the Iron Horse Regional Trail, the creation of Thurgood Marshall Regional Park in Concord, and now the opportunity to conserve Finley Road Ranch and its promise of a future staging area will be among the most important.”
The East Bay Regional Park District is the largest regional park system in the nation. Save Mount Diablo is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo.