The nonprofits Coastside Land Trust and the Peninsula Open Space Trust have purchased the Halsted family’s 26-acre property along the coast of Half Moon Bay. It includes sections of land just south of Redondo Beach Road, and sits adjacent to POST’s 199-acre Wavecrest property, west of its Johnston Ranch property. The transaction cost $1,590,940.
“We’re just delighted,” Coastside Land Trust Executive Director Jo Chamberlain said. “The properties are exquisite. They’re perfect coastal prairie lands we hope to restore completely … Now it’s permanently preserved as open space.”
By owning and managing the property, the trusts want to expand public access to open space while protecting rare coastal prairie habitat for sensitive species. Raptors have been known to winter there, and occasionally short-eared owls appear at dusk or dawn. The endangered red-legged tree frog may also be found there.
Coastal prairie is a type of plant community that includes native grasses and flowers. The plant system was once abundant between Southern Oregon and Southern California but has diminished under human influence.
“It’s mostly being used for agriculture or has been eroded away in our county, so there’s not a lot of it available,” Chamberlain said. She added that the Coastside Land Trust will work to rehabilitate the coastal prairie species at the Halsted property. “We’ll nudge them along a little more.”
Coastside Land Trust has watched over the Halsted’s property for the last decade, picking up trash. It approached the owners multiple times over the years to see if they’d be interested in selling. Once the family expressed interest, serious discussions began in early fall.
Coastside Land Trust then called on POST to provide financial and technical support to complete the purchase by winter.
Part of the funding came from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Coastside Land Trust also raised more than $200,000 for the project, and plans to raise an additional $230,000 to attain sole ownership of the property.
“The hope for the property is we will continue to encourage healthy plants and make sure people are able to use the trails and enjoy … the great outdoors and wildlife that we can attract as a result of that,” Chamberlain said.
One of the long-term visions of the trusts is to expand the California Coastal Trail, a network of public trails that spans the 1,200-mile-long California coast. Up to 60 miles could be completed along the San Mateo County coastline.
The Halsted property is the latest acquisition that POST has had a hand in, amounting to tens of thousands of acres throughout the Peninsula where the organization’s goal is to preserve open space. Since 2015, POST’s Coastside purchases have included 58 acres around Tunitas Creek Beach, an 18.5-acre property from the Andreotti family trust, 300 acres at Potrero Nuevo Farm, 13 acres at Pie Ranch, the Cordes family’s 96-acre farm south of Pescadero, 21 acres around the bluffs of Pillar Point and a 74-acre property in San Gregorio.