California plans to sell man-made nature preserve to help restore redwoods

Enlarge Image Hermes Landscape Development/Corbis via Getty Images

Two man-made nature preserves in California may soon become the state’s newest wave beaches.

The state could sell an acre of land in Mendocino County to a winery to save an endangered population of redwoods, Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday in a statement.

The sale would help to restore habitat for the redwoods, which are most visible from the ground, in a real-world scenario. It comes after Brown, who will be leaving office after this year, last year signed an executive order to help preserve the popular trees.

“When the natural world is violated, it affects everybody,” Brown said in a statement. “We are slowly helping redwoods to recover, but we have to preserve their habitat now, too.”

The bluff land in question lies on the coastal bluffs south of Eureka. The natural area there is largely undeveloped, but it has a business enclave that’s constructed on a four-lane highway. The winery wants to buy a 2-acre area near an old railroad bridge near the current highway over the bluffs for $6.6 million, according to Bloomberg.

The state will use $9.9 million in grant money to buy the land from the owner, according to the statement, and Brown will use $1.2 million from an escrow account established by the state’s Office of Historic Preservation to purchase the land from the winery. It’s set to close next month.

Land preservation is a thorny issue for some California politicians. For example, legislation passed in 2013 which put a five-year cap on placing restrictions on property development in a bevy of coastal areas. This bill sparked a lawsuit by the California Restaurant Association, which argued the restriction violated the state’s Unconstitutionally Clause in the First Amendment.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra didn’t agree with the California Restaurant Association, and said the law had passed muster by both the state Legislature and the state Supreme Court. The challenge was ultimately lost.

However, some restrictions have been put on the state’s ability to subdivide land, such as the latter’s new three-year cap on requiring new residential development to be 60-feet back from the coastline.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

First published, 7.25.17.

Update, 9.23.17: Adds comments from Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Solving for XX: The industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about “women in tech.”

Special Reports: All of CNET’s most in-depth features in one easy spot.

Leave a Comment