A part of Hol­lis­ter Peak is pro­tected but not avail­able to hik­ers

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY NICK WIL­SON nwil­[email protected]­bune­news.com Nick Wil­son: 805-781-7922, @Nick­Wil­sonTrib

A scenic 540-acre swath of land on the south side of Hol­lis­ter Peak will be per­ma­nently pro­tected from fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

The vol­un­tary con­ser­va­tion ease­ment, which in­cludes the en­tire south­ern slope of Hol­lis­ter Peak from Turri Road to the peak’s craggy sum­mit, was an­nounced Wed­nes­day by The Land Con­ser­vancy, which fos­tered the agree­ment with landown­ers Jeff and Joan Buck­ing­ham.

The pre­served ranch is named Cerro Alto, af­ter Hol­lis­ter Peak’s orig­i­nal name. The agree­ment still won’t open Hol­lis­ter Peak, which is all pri­vately owned, to pub­lic ac­cess. But The Land Con­ser­vancy has per­mis­sion to host do­cent-led hikes on the ranch each year with the sup­port of the landown­ers. Ex­ist­ing live­stock op­er­a­tion also will be al­lowed to con­tinue there.

The pro­tected area is highly vis­i­ble from the Los Osos Val­ley and Morro Bay, with a rec­og­niz­able wind­mill on Turri Road that stands at the base of the hill­side.

“The ranch is a truly spe­cial piece of our county,” Kaila Dettman, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of The Con­ser­vancy, said in a state­ment. “Through this part­ner­ship with the owner, we have been able to pro­tect lo­cal food, iconic views and homes for wildlife. The ranch is one of many beau­ti­ful places from San Luis Obispo to Los Osos that are part our ef­fort to pre­serve a path through the Los Osos Val­ley.”

Jeff Buck­ing­ham said it has been a long­time goal of his to pre­serve the scenic land.

“When I first ar­rived at Cal Poly in the sum­mer of 1979, I went ex­plor­ing and found Turri Road where I paused for a mo­ment in front of the ranch my fam­ily now calls home,” Buck­ing­ham said in a state­ment. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be amaz­ing to live here and be able to keep this place look­ing just this way for­ever?’ With the help of The Land Con­ser­vancy, we have done just that.”

Res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment is lim­ited to two homes; sub­di­vi­sion of the prop­erty is pro­hib­ited un­der the ease­ment terms.

The Cerro Alto con­ser­va­tion ease­ment was funded by the Camp San Luis Obispo Army Com­pat­i­ble Use Buffer (ACUB) Pro­gram.

The Land Con­ser­vancy has now con­served more than 1,600 acres in and around Los Osos Val­ley, ac­cord­ing to its press re­lease, in­clud­ing an ease­ment com­pleted in Septem­ber 2018 at Kan­dar­ian Farms, a 130-acre prop­erty lo­cated along Los Osos Val­ley Road.

THE LAND CON­SER­VANCY

Newly pre­served land in the Los Osos Val­ley in­cluded 540 acres around Hol­lis­ter Peak.

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