Purchases land, uses conservation easement
By Queenie Li and Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo
In December 2019, Save Mount Diablo and the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association (CMDTRA) signed a two-year option agreement, giving Save Mount Diablo time to raise over $1.04 million to permanently protect almost 154 acres of open space on Mount Diablo’s North Peak with a conservation easement.
Save Mount Diablo raised the necessary funds. And on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, the parties closed escrow, with Save Mount Diablo successfully purchasing the conservation easement and thereby forever protecting this highly strategic land.
“We are so happy and grateful to start 2022 by permanently protecting almost 154 acres on Mount Diablo! The land that we just conserved is contiguous with Mount Diablo State Park and other lands protected by Save Mount Diablo. I want to thank our terrific Save Mount Diablo supporters and our wonderful partners at Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association for making this possible,” said Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director.
This Mount Diablo open space land that was protected by Save Mount Diablo on January 11 had been vulnerable. More than 15 houses and other buildings had been constructed near the approximate 154 acres just conserved with a Save Mount Diablo conservation easement.
A conservation easement is a perpetual legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified organization, like a nonprofit land trust or government agency. It restricts future activities and development on the land to protect its conservation values for the benefit of the public.
The newly protected land will continue to be owned by the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association with Save Mount Diablo overseeing its conservation easement with annual monitoring.
“It is with great happiness and a sense of future vision that the Conservation Easement Agreement between the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association and Save Mount Diablo is signed. This agreement will assure that future generations will be able to fully enjoy the natural beauty of this area of California without the threat of development. Save Mount Diablo took into consideration the history of our equine needs while sculpting the agreement,” said Diane Jorgensen, CMDTRA Board member.
“It is almost surreal that after more than 15 years in the making, we are finalizing the Conservation Easement between Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association and Save Mount Diablo. This agreement affords us the security of knowing that a beautiful piece of the mountain will be forever protected from urban development without sacrificing land ownership,” said Elaine Baker, CMDTRA Board President. “The heritage of horses on Mt. Diablo can continue indefinitely. We are eternally grateful that Save Mount Diablo has been so supportive and patient, tirelessly navigating us through the entire process. I hope that other landowners will follow in our footsteps to protect their land too.”
“I would like to thank Ron Brown, Seth Adams and Ted Clement for their patience, determination and love for Mt Diablo that facilitated the formation of the unique Save Mount Diablo/CMDTRA Conservation Easement,” said Chris Barnhart, CMDTRA Board Treasurer. “This partnership allows all of us to protect this vital, beautiful piece of Mt Diablo for perpetuity while allowing CMDTRA to retain ownership and the right to use the property as we always have in the past and will in the future. This agreement took over 15 years to finalize. Save Mount Diablo was very supportive of the needs of CMDTRA and are a wonderful group of caring and dedicated people who are dedicated to preserving Mt Diablo in perpetuity for future generations to come. It is with pride and love for Mt Diablo that CMDTRA has agreed to place the Conservation Easement on 154 acres of CMDTRA land.”
The $1.04 million needed to purchase this permanent conservation easement, along with additional transaction costs, was raised through Save Mount Diablo’s Forever Wild Campaign, which was completed in 2021.
The mile-wide property is part of the “Missing Mile,” a square mile of privately owned open space land on Mount Diablo’s North Peak. The property is adjacent to Save Mount Diablo’s Young Canyon property and our North Peak Ranch project and is also surrounded by Mount Diablo State Park on three sides.
It rises from 1,100 feet to 2,010 feet with views from the Carquinez Strait and Suisun Bay to Lassen Peak and the Sierra Nevada Range.
The property’s rich biodiversity is due to the complicated geology of Mount Diablo’s main peaks, including serpentine soils that host dozens of rare plant species like the Mount Diablo globe lily.
The now protected property will help secure the extremely important Mount Diablo high peaks area local ecosystem and preserve the scenic value the mountain affords to countless numbers of people.
The Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association will keep a separate approximate 47 acres where the association’s buildings are located, next to the almost 154 acres of open space just conserved with Save Mount Diablo’s conservation easement.
About Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association (CMDTRA)
Nestled on the northeast slope of Mt. Diablo, you’ll find one of the best kept secrets in the East Bay—the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association. CMDTRA is a family-oriented nonprofit organization founded in 1941 dedicated to horsemanship, land preservation, and fun! In 1959, CMDTRA purchased more than 500 undeveloped acres on Mount Diablo and began building trails, a clubhouse, residences, and other horse-related recreational facilities. In 1965, CMDTRA sold 312 acres to Mount Diablo State Park and retained about 200 acres. Learn more at https://www.cmdtra.org/.
About Save Mount Diablo
Save Mount Diablo is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission
to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, watersheds, and connection to the Diablo Range through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide educational and recreational opportunities consistent with protection of natural resources. To learn more, please visit www.savemountdiablo.org.