Land News - March/April 2001

Mori Point saved for all time!
The first year of the new millennium has been a banner year for the Pacifica Land Trust, highlighted by the acquisition of Mori Point for public use in partnership with the Trust for Public Land (“TPL”) and significant advances toward the preparation of the Pedro Point Headlands site for open public access.

Mori Point became a reality due to a course of events beginning in July 2000. The then-owners of the property obtained a court order to sell the site at public auction, with $2.5 million as the minimum bid. TPL indicated it was willing to work with the Pacifica Land Trust to put together a public campaign to raise funds sufficient to participate in the auction. TPL found an “angel” who was willing to provide a no-interest loan of $2.5 million for acquisition. The California Coastal conservancy pledged $1.0 million toward achieving the highest bid. On September 21, TPL won the auction, bidding against potential developers, for $3.3 million.

Meanwhile, the PLT had begun an extensive grass-roots fund raising effort throughout Pacifica and the Bay Area to raise additional funds not covered by TPL’s “angel” loan or the Coastal Conser vancy’s participation. Land Trust members were overwhelmed by the support and appreciation shown by the community for this effort. Hundreds of residents contributed to the fund raising campaign and numerous donations were of $1000 and more. Altogether, $100,000 has been raised to date and conveyed to TPL to help cover non-reimbursable costs. TPL recently wrote us: “ We are awed and inspired by the outpouring of support by the Pacifica community in response to the opportunity to save Mori Point!”

All of these efforts resulted in the protection of beautiful Mori Point for all time. The icing on the cake to the incredible sequence of events was the passage of federal legislation placing this property and other property, including the Pedro Point Headlands, into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (“GGNRA”) boundary expansion. This was a necessary step toward future GGNRA acquisition of the properties.

Mori Point Poster
This grand view represents the glory and strength of a community that stood together to protect a treasured wild place. Stephen Johnson’s original photograph of Mori Point was part of our successful fundraising campaign. The photograph has now been memorialized into a breathtaking poster that measures a dramatic 12x54”, perfect for your home or office. This limited edition poster is available from Stephen Johnson's Gallery at 580 Crespi Dr., Suite A2, for $25. Stop by his studio (or go to the web at and purchase a copy of this poster before they sell out! Part of the pro-ceeds benefit Pacifica Land Trust.

Come Celebrate with Us on Mori Point!
April 21, 2001 at 1:00 PM
We are planning an Earth Day celebration at Mori Point. As details emerge, they will appear on the web site. on April 21, 2001 at 1:00 p.m. and in the Pacifica Tribune. We are planning a festive event to celebrate OUR Mori Point. This event will honor our partners in the preservation of Mori Point, the Trust for Public Land, the Coastal Conservancy and Rep. Tom Lantos, and the many donors and heroes.

Pedro Point Headlands
Pedro Point Headlands work continues apace. To date, the Pacifica Land Trust has secured and managed grant funds of more than $185,000 that has been used for restoration and trail development of this valuable and awe-inspiring, but badly damaged, site. We now have a completed draft trails plan, and extensive work has been done to mitigate the erosion caused by years of use by motorcycles and off-trail vehicles. We have made great progress toward erosion control, along with the removal of exotic, invasive non-native plants and replacement by native species. Our goal is to eventually open the area to full public use with well-developed trails. This area now is open only on a limited basis, when nature walks are conducted on the site. Check our website at for opportunities to hike this stunning ocean side area. Pacificans often take their wonderful open hills and headlands for granted, but we have learned that many of these lands are still in private ownership and many are still vulnerable to future development. There is so much to do and so little time. Our goal for this next year is to accomplish as much as we can while building our capacity to do more. We are confident that our community will respond, as the Mori Point experience demonstrates. If the next year is even half as good as last, we’re on our way to a banner new millennium!

PLT Officers and New Board Members
Mike Vasey is the current president of the Pacifica Land Trust having assumed the helm from Chris Powell, who put in two outstanding years of leadership. Julie Lancelle became the new Vice President, Margaret Goodale the Secretary, and Nick Sobranis is once again Treasurer. Thanks to Nick Sobranis, Judy Johnson, and Bob Pickerell for their past ser vices as officers.

Two new individuals, profiled below, have been selected to fill vacancies on the board of directors. The Land Trust is interested in interviewing other interested applicants for board positions. Please contact PLT’s president, Mike Vasey, at 650.359.7034 if you wish to be considered.

Stephen Johnson is our newest board member. He is an internationally recognized digital photography pioneer, renown landscape photographer and author of several books, including At Mono Lake, Making a Digital Book and the critically acclaimed The Great Central Valley: California's Heartland. In 1994, he embarked on an ambitious six-year major endeavor, With A New Eye, a ground breaking all digital photographic look at American national parks. This project, now in final stages, has already yielded preview exhibitions, scores of magazine articles and many posters. Steve and his wife, Mary Ford, are active participants in Pacifica’s environmental community; they both contributed time and their extensive talents to create the mailers for the Mori Point fundraising effort. Steve’s gallery, where you can view many of his works, is located at 580 Crespi Dr., Suite A2 in Pacifica.

Bernie Halloran joined the Board last year. He is a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and specializes in human aging research. His studies focus on the endocrine changes associated with aging, osteoporosis and the effects of mechanical loading on bone. He has authored more than 100 journal articles in the scientific literature on aging and bone, and has written numerous book chapters on human aging. He is also a NASA investigator and principle investigator on a NASA shuttle flight scheduled for April of 2002. Bernie and his wife Eulalia are active participants in the newly formed San Pedro Creek Watershed Coalition (Eulalia is vice president) and in city efforts to improve the Pacifica State Beach. Bernie is also a active member of the City’s Flood Control Committee and was instrumental in the city’s choice to install tertiary waste water treatment.

PLT Gets Green Light to Save Sneath Lane Property
by Michael Vasey

Moving quickly and decisively, the PLT submitted a proposal to the City of Pacifica to save 9.2 acres of surplus property at the end of Sneath Lane.

This latest project is a perfect example of how local land trusts can offer communities a win-win option for resolving land use issues that otherwise are destined for prolonged controversy and unattractive outcomes. Having discovered surplus property located in the city limits of San Bruno and needing funds for a variety of civic purposes, the City of Pacifica put out a Request for Proposals designed to attract residential developers to buy a 9.2 acre parcel at the end of Sneath Lane.

The PLT was contacted just two weeks before the RFP due date by a concerned resident who pointed out the importance of this parcel to the community. After researching the situation, the PLT held an emergency meeting and decided to make a proposal to buy the property for fair market value, preserve its open space values and meet Pacifica's need for operational funds. On February 26, the Pacifica City Council met in closed session and agreed to work with the PLT to explore acquisition of the pro p e rty for open space purposes. The Sneath Lane property is located on the east side of the Sneath Lane gate entry to the GGNRA, running along the trail south towards San Andreas Lake and then up to the Sweeney Ridge Discovery Site. The view from the gate down the canyon is beautiful and this view-shed would be forever disrupted by development of houses next to the access trail. The Sneath Lane gate is an important trail-head and might serve as a tie-in for a future trail around the east side of San Andreas Lake. The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council has written a letter of support to Pacifica urging it to work with the PLT to purchase the property for open space. The GGNRA likewise is urging Pacifica to sell the property for open space because of the obvious impact it would have on the eastern boundary and access point for Sweeney Ridge. Further, the San Francisco Water Department is concerned about impacts of erosion and water quality on a water system that drains directly into the San Andreas Lake reservoir. They have indicated that they are interested in helping to acquire the parcel. Finally, the parcel has some outstanding biological features, including a sag pond wetland that may well support protected species.




Pacifica Land Trust
P.O. Box 988
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 359-7034

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Last updated - March 13, 2002