Golden Gate National Recreation Area is poised to assume responsibility for nearly 4,000 acres on the San Mateo County coast just south of San Francisco. Rancho Corral de Tierra (Rancho), one of the largest undeveloped pieces of land on the San Mateo peninsula, was planned for subdivisions, "ranchettes" and a golf course. Instead, its awe-inspiring views, important watersheds, miles of public trails, and diverse wildlife is now open to the public as part of our nation's natural legacy.
How Rancho Corral de Tierra was Preserved as Open Space
The Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), the preeminent land trust in San Mateo County, gathered the support of private donors to leverage $14 million in grants from the Coastal Conservancy and the California Wildlife Conservation Board. POST then purchased the parcel, listed at $50 million, for $29.75 million. Federal legislation to add the ranch to GGNRA passed Congress in December 2005. This opened the way to $15 million in federal matching funds and enabling much of the property to be opened to the public.
Date of inclusion into GGNRA
While visiting Rancho, please note that the National Park Service management of the area has just begun. Many of the existing trails are very steep and eroded and may be difficult to traverse until they are repaired or re-routed. Please use caution when visiting and respect private property.
GGNRA will manage 3,858 of the 4,262 acres of Rancho, with POST retaining ownership of the agricultural lands, including Cabrillo Farms and Ocean View Farms.
Rancho holds four watersheds: from north to south, Martini, Montara, San Vincente and Denniston Creeks all have their headwaters on Rancho. These stream systems provide important riparian habitat for a number of threatened and endangered species and offer wildlife a vital source of water, increased cover, and feeding and nesting opportunities.
Comprised of coastal scrub and coastal chaparral habitats, Rancho's isolated and relatively undisturbed condition provides unique and productive habitat for a diverse array of plant and animal species.
The property supports numerous federally-listed threatened, rare and endangered plant and animal species and a number of other special species of concern, including:
- Peregrine falcon
- Hickman's cinquefoil
- San Bruno elfin butterfly
- Montara manzanita
- San Francisco garter snake
- Montara bush lupine
- California red-legged frog
- San Francisco wallflower
- Coast rock cress
Historically known as "Rancho Corral de Tierra Palomares" (Earthen Corral), the property encompasses the majority of the 1839 Mexican Land Grant to Francisco Guerrero y Palomares where he built the first adobe on the San Mateo Coast at Denniston Creek.
Read 2010 Historic Resource Study for Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Mateo County, by Mitchell P. Postell, President San Mateo County Historical Association
- Go directly to chapter on Rancho Corral and Montara Lighthouse