Parks for the People - San Mateo County Main Panel

Expansive open space, natural habitats, endangered and threatened species, historical importance, and valued coastal recreation areas make San Mateo County sites ideal additions to the GGNRA. Expansion of the GGNRA into San Mateo County was considered and planned for during the initial campaign to establish the park. The San Mateo County lands were added to the GGNRA as the community fought to preserve the open space on the peninsula site-by-site.

 

Sweeney Ridge

Where: 1,100 acres overlooking Pacifica, between Highways 1 and 35
When: 1984
Who/How:

  • 1960s - 1980s: Local citizens worked to protect the site from housing developments and a proposed eight-lane freeway that would have bisected the ridge.
  • 1984: The Trust for Public Land purchased the site and transferred the land to the GGNRA. First land in San Mateo County to be added to the GGNRA.

Why:

  • Includes the San Francisco Bay Discovery Site, where Spanish Captain Juan Gaspar de Portolá first glimpsed the San Francisco Bay in 1769.
  • U.S. Army Nike Site SF-51C featured radar systems and control units for Nike missiles that were located on Milagra Ridge, SF-51L, during the Cold War.
  • Home for red-tail hawks, bobcats, quail, indian paintbrush, central coast riparian scrub, and numerous other natural resources.
 
Nike Site SF-51C and a Mission Blue butterfly
Left: Nike Site SF-51C, Integrated Fire Control Area, Sweeney Ridge, circa 1960s Right: An endangered Mission blue butterfly rests upon a silver leaf lupine

Left: Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, GOGA 34804.05 Right: GGNPC

 

Milagra Ridge

Where: 240 acres of ridgeline land located between Highways 1 and 35 near Pacica
When: 1984
Who/How:

  • 1960s - 1980s: Housing developments and a proposed eight-lane highway threatened the site. The local community, including the group Friends of Pacifica, spoke out against the development, and the land was preserved as open space.

Why:

  • Has been used by many groups of people including the native Ohlone, Spanish settlers and farmers, agricultural enterprises, the U.S. Army, the National Guard, and the Pacica Police Department.
  • The U.S. Army occupied the site from 1942 to 1974 and constructed the Nike Site SF-51L surface-to-air missile launch facility during the Cold War.
  • Milagra Ridge is a delicate "island ecosystem" surrounded on all sides by development and unconnected with other open space.
  • The site of indigenous plants and animals, including rare and endangered species such as the San Bruno elfin butterfly, the San Francisco garter snake, and the California red-legged frog. The silver leaf lupine is a host plant for the Mission blue butterfly whose habitat corridor runs directly through the site.
 
Nike Site SF-51L on Milagra Ridge and Red legged frog
Left: Nike Site SF-51L, Launch Area, Milagra Ridge, circa 1960s. Right: A California red-legged frog at Mori Point.

Left: Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, GOGA 35344 Right: GGNPC

 
Phleger estate
A creek runs through the diverse forest of the Phleger Estate.

Photo by Craig Stocks, courtesy of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Phleger Estate

Where: 1,232 acres near Woodside adjacent to Huddart County Park When: 1995
Who/How:

  • 1990s: The land was considered for 550 housing units.
  • 1991: Polly Phleger Goodan sold the estate to the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) after her parents' deaths; the family wanted the estate to remain intact and be accessible to the public.
  • 1995: POST transferred the land to the GGNRA; P.L.102-29 officially added the estate to the park.

Why:

  • Once the site of a large native Ohlone settlement.
  • Expanse of old-growth and second-growth redwood and mixed evergreen forest with streams running among them. Some of the trees are over 100 years old.
  • Wildlife includes mountain lions, bobcats, eagles, deer, hawks, and steelhead trout.
 
Mori Point A Plocamium cartilagineum, or Cockscombe, marine specimen
A Plocamium cartilagineum, or Cockscombe, marine specimen that
was collected from the Mori Point intertidal habitat in 2001 by the NPS.

GGNRA, Natural Resources Botanical Collection

Mori Point

Where: 105 acres located in Pacifica, west of Sweeney Ridge and Highway 1
When: 2000
Who/How:

  • 1960s - 1990s: Proposals for development on Mori Point included a conference center, a golf course, a casino, housing developments, restaurants, and highways.
  • 2000: The Trust for Public Land, supported by the Pacifica Land Trust and the California Coastal Conservancy, outbid developers at the Mori Point land auction. P.L. 106-355 officially added Mori Point to the GGNRA.

Why:

  • Originally part of the San Pedro Spanish Land Grant.
  • The Mori family settled their family farm in the 1890s. From the 1920s to 1965, they ran Mori's Point Dine and Dance, a tavern and dance hall that was popular during prohibition. The facility burned in1966.
  • The presence of threatened and endangered species, including the San Francisco garter snake, the California red-legged frog, the Mission blue butterfly, and the rare Linanthus rosaceus plant, propelled the public effort to save Mori Point from development.
 
Rancho Corral de Tierra
The wild landscape of Rancho Corral de Tierra.

Hayduk/NPS photo

Rancho Corral de Tierra

Where: 3,800 acres of land east of Highway 1, between Montara and El Granada
When: 2011
Who/How:

  • 2002: Purchased by the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) when threatened with plans for private subdivisions and golf courses.
  • 2011: POST transferred the open space to the GGNRA.

Why:

  • One of the original Bay Area Ranchos given in 1839 to José Tiburcio Vásquez and Francisco Guerrero. Vásquez served as a soldier in San Francisco and was administrator and major domo of Mission Dolores.
  • Various creek corridors pass through the coastal land. The site has riparian, coastal scrub, and coastal chaparral habitats supporting a diverse array of animals and plants, including many rare and endangered species such as the San Francisco garter snake and the Montara manzanita.
 
 

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022

Phone:

(415) 561-4700
Pacific West Region Information Center (415) 561-4700 Special Event & Commercial Film Permits (415) 561-4300

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