Peninsula invests in open space 

After more than 50 years, the bobcats, coyotes and woodrats inhabiting 160 acres of rugged terrain near Half Moon Bay have wandered from the arms of a family to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for $1.4 million.

The plot of land is an island surrounded by private property that Dan and Natalie Sare sold to the open-space district after it had been in their family since at least the 1950s. It is just a portion of their 587-acre backyard just off state Highway 92 where Dan Sare grew up.

Now what is considered the gateway of land to the coast will be gated, patrolled and preserved as part of the 992-acre Mills Creek Open Space Preserve, just less than a mile away.

“It’s just because it is surrounded by private property. We need to keep it closed for now to be responsible landowners,” district spokeswoman Lee Ann Maze said. “The property provides a lot of habitat for wildlife and that’s definitely our priority.”

The open-space district is a public agency that works to preserve 26 open spaces and about 58,000 acres of land from Los Gatos to Half Moon Bay.

And Natalie Sare said it is what her father-in-law would have wanted after he, decades ago, fought to keep the land from turning into a correctional facility, bought it and passed it on to Dan when he died.

“He told Dan, ‘Always do whatever you need to do to make sure that you continue to farm on the property.’ That’s what we’re doing,” she said.

In 1972, her husband started planting six tree seedlings — Monterey pines, redwoods and four types of firs — that grew into the 160-acre Santa’s Tree Farm at 78 Pilarcitos Creek Road.

And about 2 of those acres and about 40 of the 100,000 trees are growing on the parcel that is now open space, but the Sares will be able to keep it that way under an agreement with the open-space district.

“It’s a pretty incredible piece of property that’s so close to the highway but once you get into it, it feels very wild,” Maze said.

Gateway of land to the coast

160 Acres sold to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
$1.4 million Cost of the 160-acre plot
587 Acres owned by Sare family that parcel came from
992 Acres of Mills Creek Open Space Preserve, which will now include the acquired 160-acre Sare plot

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