Friday, March 11, 2011

Living Landscapes Initiative formed by Bay Area Land Trusts

The Living Landscapes Initiative hopes to set aside 30,000 acres in the Redwood Heartland, and Pajaro River Corridor along with other lands around the Bay Area.

Sagging real estate prices and the lethargic housing market have many worried about the future around the Bay Area, but not land conservation trusts. The low real estate prices have presented them with an opportunity to permanently preserve open space by acquiring those lands for low prices created by the stagnant market.

Pidgeon Point was purchased by the Peninsula
Open Space Trust in 1982
Thursday the Mercury News reported that the Save the Redwoods League, the Nature Conservancy, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, The Peninsula Open Space Trust, and the Sempervirens Fund had joined in partnership with the backing of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to form the Living Landscapes Initiative. Their goal is draw upon the resources of all 5 organizations to preserve another 80,000 acres over the next 20 years.

In a press release, Audrey Rust, President of the Palo Alto based Peninsula Open Space Trust said, “By coordinating our efforts more closely, we can go much further than any one group acting alone”. Ruskin K. Hartley, executive director of Save the Redwoods League noted, “The Initiative will protect the area’s unique natural benefits and beauty, including 30,000 acres of magnificent redwood forests. With only 5 percent of old-growth redwoods still standing, we must work diligently to protect these forests into the future.”

Short Term Impact

Unfortunately for hikers LLA isn't likely to result in the opening of any new trails any time soon. Land Trusts operate for the most part by purchasing the land either outright or by purchasing the development potential of the land but do not typically develop trails themselves. The land is usually transfered to a local or state organization for management at some point after the land purchase has been finalized. Once the organization that agrees to manage the land has conducted extensive analysis of the land does trail construction finally begin.

However securing land and ensuring it is appropriately managed is important for the ecosystem and the direct development of usable trails is not the only reward that hikers reap. Keeping wildlife corridors open is important for species diversity and habitat stability.

Notes: Though I do not currently have any affiliations with these organizations I did briefly intern with the Peninsula Open Space Trust.



  1. I hadn't heard about this. Thanks for the news Chris.

  2. I don't normally run a whole lot of news here but periodically something big enough comes up it's worth mentioning. This was one of those times.