When a 190-acre golf course along the Carmel River went up for sale, a coalition of local nonprofits and public agencies knew whom to call to save the property from development. The coalition contacted The Trust for Public Land, because it knew we could marshal the resources and expertise needed to act quickly and close the deal.
The acquisition of the former Rancho Cañada golf course for protection by the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District will secure water for wildlife, help prevent flooding, and provide new opportunities for recreation.
The land, which includes a mile of river frontage, absorbs water when the river runs high, protecting downstream neighborhoods from flooding. It is home to numerous threatened and endangered species, including steelhead, red-legged frogs, and tri-colored blackbirds. And it is part of a network of protected land stretching south 150 miles from Carmel to San Luis Obispo.
The Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District will move its headquarters to the former golf course and oversee its restoration. A network of trails will provide access to the river and connect to the adjacent Palo Corona Regional Park. The district and the local Santa Lucia Conservancy plan an outdoor classroom and environmental education programs for visitors and school groups.
Also important for the water-starved Monterey Peninsula, public ownership will allow water formerly used for irrigation to be returned to the river, protecting native steelhead by stabilizing flows downstream.
Partners on the project included the Santa Lucia Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, and the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District.