*Photo of a section of the 154 +/- acres on the slopes of Mount Diablo that Save Mount Diablo hopes to permanently conserve by raising over $1 million within the next two years per the terms of the option agreement recently signed with the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association. Photo by Ted Clement.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA—On December 31, 2019, New Year’s Eve Day, two local nonprofits, Save Mount Diablo and the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association, signed an Option Agreement, 15 years in the making, to work to permanently protect 154 +/- acres of one of the most strategic and important properties remaining on Mount Diablo’s main peaks.
The property, east of Clayton, stretches across the north face of North Peak from the pastoral Three Spring area almost to the spectacular Falls Trail, including beautiful Cardinet Oaks and upper Young Canyon.
In particular, the organizations signed an Option Agreement with Save Mount Diablo paying a $50,000 Option Payment which will give the local land conservation organization two years to raise over $1,040,000 so that it can then purchase a perpetual Conservation Easement on almost 154 critical open space acres owned by the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Association on the northeast slopes of Mount Diablo.
The Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association will keep about 47 acres, where the Association’s buildings are located, out of the proposed Conservation Easement area.
Per the signed Option Agreement, once the funds are raised and the closing occurs, Save Mount Diablo will own a perpetual Conservation Easement on the 154 +/- acres while Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association will retain ownership of the land and continue to manage and enjoy it.
A Conservation Easement is a legal agreement whereby a landowner transfers a partial property interest to a conservation organization or government agency to permanently limit a property’s uses and extinguish the land’s development rights in order to protect the property’s conservation values for the public’s benefit.
Officials of Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association and Save Mount Diablo on the land working out the details of the deal in 2018. Photo by Seth Adams.
Ted Clement, Executive Director of Save Mount Diablo, stated, “This property has been a high priority for us since 1971. We give a standing ovation to the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association for giving us an opportunity to permanently protect another important section of Mount Diablo. Mount Diablo has been a very special and sacred mountain for peoples of this area for eons, and still is, so we are hopeful that our communities will help us raise the necessary funds to protect this land.”
“We at CMDTRA are thrilled to finally move forward with making the conservation easement into a reality, preserving our treasured open space for future generations. We are so thankful that Save Mount Diablo has created this unique opportunity to not only protect the land, but also creating funding to preserve the equestrian culture in the Bay Area,” said Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association President Elaine Baker.
The map below shows the approximate boundaries, in red shading, of the perpetual Conservation Easement that Save Mount Diablo looks to acquire from the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association:
As you can see on the map above, the proposed 154 +/- acres to be conserved are surrounded on three sides by Mount Diablo State Park and contiguous with Save Mount Diablo’s conserved Young Canyon property and its North Peak Ranch acquisition project, which the organization is buying over ten years. This connectivity makes the protection of the 154 +/- acres highly strategic as it is a way to secure and build upon already protected wildlife habitat corridors, scenic view corridors, and watershed lands.
Over the years, a number of houses and other structures have been built near the 154 +/- acres to be conserved per the recently executed Option Agreement highlighting the importance of protecting this strategic land while there are two willing parties, a willing landowner, Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association, and a willing conservation organization, Save Mount Diablo.
The 154 +/- acres to be conserved per the Option Agreement have numerous conservation values beneficial to the public. The land is part of a substantial wildlife habitat corridor in the Mount Diablo area. Further, the property, which rises from 1,100’ to 2,010’ on the face of 3,557’ North Peak, provides stunning scenic vistas to passersby on various public roads, such as Marsh Creek Road, and to the public recreating at Mount Diablo State Park which is next to the 154 +/- acres, with views stretching from Carquinez Strait and Suisun Bay to Lassen Peak and the Sierra Nevada Range.
*Map showing Save Mount Diablo’s Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association, North Peak Ranch, and Young Canyon conservation acquisition projects
Much of the property is steep and rugged and its biodiversity is very high because it includes the complicated geology of Mount Diablo’s main peaks which support dozens of rare plant species like the Mt. Diablo globe lily and rare wildlife such as the Alameda whipsnake. Members of the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association sometimes see mountain lions on the equestrian trails that cross the property.
Further, the oak woodland and grasslands on the property act as a carbon sink. In August 2019, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a new report, Climate Change and Land, focusing on land being under increased pressure from humans and climate change but also noting land is a critical part of the solution to climate change. Land conservation mitigates against climate change in lasting ways. For example, forests and other undeveloped lands absorb greenhouse gases, thereby acting as carbon sinks, keeping those gases out of the atmosphere.
The money that Save Mount Diablo will raise for this proposed acquisition project will be part of the organization’s Forever Wild Capital Campaign. This Campaign has an ambitious $15 million goal to help Save Mount Diablo expedite its land acquisition efforts, while also giving the organization the resources to steward and defend its conserved lands in perpetuity. To date, $12,963,485 has been raised against the $15 million goal. These funds have enabled Save Mount Diablo to do strategic land acquisition projects, like its Curry Canyon Ranch and North Peak Ranch projects, while also building a sizable permanent Stewardship Endowment Fund for the ongoing care of the organization’s protected lands.
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 not-for-profit 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/.
Save Mount Diablo (SMD)
SMD is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds 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 recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org.
High Resolution Images, Flyers, and Press Release Files: http://bit.ly/CMDTRA
Image Credits & Captions:
- Image of trees: A section of the 154 +/- acres on the slopes of Mount Diablo that Save Mount Diablo hopes to permanently conserve by raising over $1 million within the next two years per the terms of the option agreement recently signed with the Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association. Credit: Ted Clement.
- Group photo: Officials of Concord Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association and Save Mount Diablo on the land working out the details of the deal in 2018. Credit: Seth Adams.
- Map of proposed conservation easement: The proposed conservation easement is surrounded on three sides by Mount Diablo State Park and contiguous with Save Mount Diablo’s conserved Young Canyon property and its North Peak Ranch acquisition project, which the organization is buying over 10 years. Map by Save Mount Diablo.
- Aerial photo map: Aerial view showing Save Mount Diablo’s Concord Mt Diablo Trail Ride Association, North Peak Ranch, and Young Canyon conservation acquisition projects. Map by Save Mount Diablo.
- All other images: Credit Save Mount Diablo.
Ted Clement, Executive Director, Save Mount Diablo;
T: (925) 947-3535 x15, C: (925) 451-8108, firstname.lastname@example.org
Caleb Castle, Communications Manager, Save Mount Diablo;
T: (925) 947-3535 x17, C: (925) 451-8376, email@example.com