The Open Space Authority Board of Directors voted to accept the generous gift of a 116-acre property from the Julian McPhee family. The property, located in the water-rich area of the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in the Upper Uvas Creek Watershed adjacent to Uvas Canyon County Park, presents an opportunity to expand recreation in the eastern foothills and provide visitors with a unique redwood experience.
“This property has been in our family for many years and was used as a weekend getaway,” said Rick Lavalle, grandson of Julian McPhee. “We are so pleased that the land will be protected in perpetuity and provide wildlife habitat, scenic views and future hiking and recreation for the public.”
The Authority’s General Manager, Andrea Mackenzie, stated, “The Open Space Authority is very excited to accept this generous gift of property on behalf of Santa Clara County residents. The property is ideal for its multiple conservation values including water and habitat protection. The land presents an opportunity to expand recreation in the eastern foothills and provide visitors with a unique redwood experience.”
The Open Space Authority’s Valley Greenprint identifies this property as having very high conservation values in terms of biodiversity and water resources. It includes habitat for fish native to the area such as rainbow trout and riffle sculpin, and potential habitat for the California red-legged frog and the Foothill yellow-legged frog. The property is located within a critical landscape linkage that connects habitat in the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Gabilan Range. The area receives the highest amount of rainfall in the County and contains a tributary to Uvas Creek and a main stem of Croy Creek. In the long term, the property provides an important opportunity to implement the County-wide Trails Master Plan.