Peninsula Open Space Trust announced today that it has completed its two-part acquisition of a 117-acre property in Los Gatos.
Bordered on three sides by the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, the South Bay landscape is rich with water resources and fish habitat and is strategically located for future expansion as public open space and parkland.
POST bought the property for $1.5 million from Sal Carilli, who had lived on the site since purchasing it in 1976.
A few years ago he approached POST to discuss a potential sale. The Palo Alto-based nonprofit land trust eventually bought the land in two phases, acquiring a portion in September 2011 and the remainder at the end of January.
Like much of the surrounding landscape, the property is heavily forested, with a mix of large trees including Douglas-fir, redwoods and sycamore, as well as coast live oak and bay. Chaparral and sagebrush dot the steeply rising slopes, and trout have been spotted in Hendrys Creek, which runs the full length of the property.
Carilli said one of his favorite things about the site is the amount of water it contains. In addition to a 100-foot waterfall fed by the creek, additional waterfalls appear during the rainy season.
According to Carilli, there are about 25 springs on the land, and at one time it was registered as a place to get free drinking water. “People tell me I have such good health because of the water,” said the active 85-year-old.
“Having the opportunity to protect land that is so abundant in precious water resources is incredible,” said POST president Walter T. Moore. “In addition to preserving existing habitat for trout in Hendrys Creek, there’s the potential to promote habitat for other animals such as bobcats, deer and rabbits, that depend upon this property and waterway.”
POST is holding on to the land until ownership is transferred to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. MROSD has assumed management responsibilities on the property in the interim.
“We all benefit from POST’s long-term commitment to secure the greenbelt, and Hendrys Creek is another in the long history of partnership projects between the District and POST. I am particularly pleased with the very significant habitat and water quality enhancements that will benefit both the wildlife and the residents in this part of the Santa Cruz Mountains,” said MROSD General Manager Steve Abbors.
MROSD purchased an adjacent parcel from Carilli more than 20 years ago and will include this additional land as part of the Cathedral Oaks area of its Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.