For Immediate ReleaseApril 29, 2015
Property within Fairfax and San Anselmo to become part of Bald Hill Preserve
San Rafael, CA – Sky Ranch, a picturesque 16.2-acre property that straddles Fairfax and San Anselmo, will become part of the Bald Hill Open Space Preserve owned and managed by the Marin County Open Space District. The Marin County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal for the district to purchase the former equestrian boarding facility for $630,000 at its April 28 meeting.
The Marin Open Space Trust (MOST) purchased the property in February 2015 from a private landowner and offered to sell it to the district. Sky Ranch is within an area targeted for open space preservation in the Marin County Parks and Open Space Strategic Plan.
“Not only does the expanded Bald Hill Preserve grow to 46 acres with Sky
Ranch, but it connects the preserve to more than 100,000 acres of additional public lands and hundreds of miles of public trails stretching west to Point Reyes and south to the Golden Gate,” said Carl Somers, Chief of Planning and Acquisitions for Marin County Parks.
The property recently was appraised at $1.05 million. The district will use $330,000 from Measure A funding reserves and has applied for a grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy for the $300,000 balance. The conservancy already has indicated support for the project and its board plans to review the grant application in June.
The equestrian boarding area occupies less than a quarter of Sky Ranch; the rest includes oak and bay woodlands and other native vegetation. According to the Open Space District’s draft Vegetation and Biodiversity Management Plan, the area adjacent to Sky Ranch supports unique or irreplaceable remnants of natural biological diversity along with other vegetation types with high biological value. Portions of Sky Ranch also could be classified the same way, according to County staff. Sky Ranch is home to native wildlife such as raptors, rabbits, deer, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions.
Considering that zoning allows for development of several residential units on the property, MOST said it purchased the property to ensure its protection as open space, allow for access for recreation, protect the ridge top and secure wildlife habitat.
Tentative plans for the property include development of a day-use equestrian center to recognize the historic legacy of the property. As part of the purchase agreement, MOST has agreed to remove existing structures except those that support equestrian day-use and donate up to $90,000 toward restoration of natural contours and drainage, erosion prevention, and prevent non-native plant intrusion.
Pat O'BrienInterim Director and General ManagerCarl SomersChief of Planning and AcquisitionMarin County Parks
Marin Civic CenterSuite 260San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6387Email: Pat O'BrienMarin County Parks website