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MENLO PARK, CA—Peninsula Open Space Trust has acquired an option to purchase 1,719 acres of coastline, prime agricultural land and grassland on the San Mateo Coast for $39 million. It is believed to be the most ever paid by a nonprofit land trust to purchase open space in the Western United States.

The property, known as the Bolsa Point Ranches, includes three separate ranches, all located on Highway 1 just south of Pescadero. Combined with neighboring parkland and open space, the purchase will create close to 54 square miles of contiguous open space. Post president Audrey Rust says the organization is working to “prevent development and preserve the open, rural character of the Coast.” Because of the existing number of separate, legal lots involved, these lands could have been developed into 51 very large, very expensive trophy homes, he notes.

Post acquired the option to purchase Bolsa Point Ranches by agreeing to pay $39 million over the next 18 months. The initial installment of $13 million will be borrowed from the firm’s land acquisition fund, moneys the organization needs to replenish through private contributions. When Post recoups its expenses through donations and grants, it intends to turn the property over to a public agency that will manage it, arrange for appropriate access, and make these beaches public, Rust says.

The agricultural land on the Bolsa Point Ranches will continue in field crop farming, the president adds. Existing structures on the property, including barns, equipment sheds, and farm labor housing, will be evaluated for potential restoration or removal.

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