Open space pur­chases will cre­ate new trail con­nec­tions, wildlife cor­ri­dor

The Mercury News Weekend - - LOCAL NEWS - By Judy Peter­son jpeter­son@ba­yare­anews­group.com

Nearly 500 acres in the Santa Cruz Moun­tains are being added to South Bay open space pre­serves, af­ter the recent pur­chase of two prime pieces of land that will even­tu­ally con­nect with 200 miles of trails.

The prop­er­ties are just south of San Jose’s Al­maden Reser­voir and in­clude por­tions of Bar­rett and Alami­tos creeks that drain into the reser­voir. The creeks pro­vide drink­ing wa­ter for peo­ple and wildlife.

“Rain­bow trout in Bar­rett Creek were so plen­ti­ful that fish­er­men used to catch them by the hun­dreds,” said Vice Pres­i­dent Marti Tedesco of the Pen- in­sula Open Space Trust, which an­nounced the pur­chase this week. “There are a lot of dif­fer­ent species and creek-type an­i­mals that use the creek for wa­ter and pas­sage, in­clud­ing sala­man­ders, frogs, toads, bob­cats, moun­tain lions, pu­mas and deer.”

The prop­er­ties were pur­chased by the Penin­sula Open Space Trust, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Author­ity and the Mid­penin­sula Re­gional Open Space Dis­trict for $4.82 mil­lion. The Gor­don and Betty Moore Foun­da­tion con­trib­uted $1.65 mil­lion to­ward the pur­chases.

The prop­er­ties bor­der the Ran­cho Canada del Oro and Sierra Azul open space pre­serves, and will pro­vide a per­ma­nently pro­tected cor- ri­dor for wildlife to travel the Santa Cruz Moun­tains.

Even­tu­ally, they’ll link 31,000 acres of pro­tected lands that in­clude Al­maden Quick­sil­ver and Calero county parks.

“The vi­sion is that the prop­er­ties will link with 200 miles of ex­ist­ing trails in the sur­round­ing pre­serves,” Tedesco said. “That wouldn’t have hap­pened with­out th­ese prop­er­ties.”

There are some un­in­hab­it­able cab­ins and struc­tures on both prop­er­ties that need to be re­moved, and the Bar­rett Creek area in par­tic­u­lar re­quires sig­nif­i­cant restora­tion and cleanup.

That will prob­a­bly take three to five years, so it will be quite some time be­fore the ar­eas are open to the public, Tedesco said.

JUSTIN GAR­LAND

The Santa Cruz Moun­tains will be added to the South Bay open space pre­serves, con­nect­ing over 200miles of trails.

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