Friday, August 19, 2011
San Mateo County buys Pillar Point Bluff from Peninsula Open Space Trust
Mercury News/Julia Scott, 8/16/11. "One of the best views on the coast now belongs to San Mateo County -- and to the public. The Peninsula Open Space Trust has announced the sale of Pillar Point Bluff, a steeply terraced, grass-covered 140-acre parcel that rises hundreds of feet above the ocean. The privately funded nonprofit sold the land to San Mateo County for $3 million, money the county got through a grant from the state Wildlife Conservation Board. The trust acquired the land in increments from 2004 to 2008. The nonprofit fixed some erosion problems and restored a three-mile trail that spans the top of the bluff from Seal Cove, near the entrance to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, to a southern overlook that gives hikers -- provided they have a good set of binoculars --
a decent view of the Mavericks surf break.
"This piece of land is pretty magnificent. It covers that last piece from Seal Cove to the marine reserve. It protects that whole area as well as the bluffs above it," said assistant county manager Dave Holland, who helped orchestrate the sale in his former role as head of the county Department of Parks. The county has, in fact, managed the bluff-top property for several years instead of POST, at a cost of $30,000 per year, and it will continue to do so, Holland said. "They're not set up to manage public access," he said. "They redid those trails with the understanding that it was coming to the county to manage."
A hiker on the bluff trail can see harbor seals swimming and flopping on the beaches below, as well as auks, red-tailed hawks, rabbits and other wildlife.The current entrance, equipped with a parking lot, is along Airport Street behind the Half Moon Bay Airport, just north of the Pillar Ridge mobile-home community. Holland said the county intends to add a northern trail connection that will allow people to walk directly from the bluff down to the entrance of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, and vice versa, rather than traverse a warren of residential streets, as is currently the case."
Posted by Kathy Meeh