THE SAN MATEO DAILY JOURNAL: Push to protect 'urban oasis'

The San Mateo Daily Journal
Bill Silverfarb - correspondent
February 12, 2015
link to original article

A broad effort is underway to make San Bruno Mountain a priority for conservation as cities and environmentalists team with San Mateo County to leverage grants to preserve the “urban oasis.”

San Bruno Mountain Watch and the county parks department has applied to designate the park’s 2,326 acres as a Priority Conservation Area with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal   San Mateo County, cities and environmentalists are seeking to designate San Bruno Mountain as a priority for conservation.

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal
San Mateo County, cities and environmentalists are seeking to designate San Bruno Mountain as a priority for conservation.

The conservation program was established by ABAG, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in 2007 to identify Bay Area lands for environmental conservation and protection.

If San Bruno Mountain, the Bay Area’s largest urban open space, is designated a priority, it will allow the county, cities and nonprofits to apply for regional grants to conserve and improve access to the park that is circled by Brisbane, Daly City, Colma and South San Francisco.

Monday night, the Daly City Council unanimously endorsed the county’s effort to make the mountain a priority for conservation that will include privately-owned Daly City parcels that will be dedicated to the county for conservation.

Daly City Councilman David Canepa said the endorsement is an important first step in protecting open space.

Additional funding will help pave new trails and walkways to increase access to San Bruno Mountain, part of which is a state and county park.

Canepa is on the air quality board.

"This is a clear message that San Bruno Mountain matters," Canepa said.

The park is especially critical for Daly City residents, he said, who live in the county’s densest city.

"Open space is vital to quality of life. The ultimate goal is to see no development whatsoever and to maintain it as an urban oasis,” Canepa said.

Seven properties in San Mateo County have already been designated Priority Conservation Areas including:

  • Miramontes Ridge;
  • Ravenswood;
  • Teague Hill;
  • Purisma and El Corte de Madera Creek;
  • Tunitas Creek and La Honda;
  • Windy Hill and Coal Creek; and
  • Russian Ridge, Skyline Ridge and Long Ridge.

If approved, San Bruno Mountain would become the eighth.

The nonprofit San Bruno Mountain Watch is also looking to preserve 20 acres on the northeast side of Sign Hill in South San Francisco. The land, habitat for the Mission Blue Butterfly, is up for sale now.

"This designation can make it possible for us to think big, by seeing what we can do to connect bike lanes, and walkways from the Pacific Ocean and Bay to San Bruno Mountain. While San Francisco and San Mateo counties are experiencing an economic boom, it is important that we protect existing open space," Canepa said.

ABAG’s executive board will decide in July whether to add San Bruno Mountain to its Priority Conservation Area list.

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