Embedded in the DNA of Midpen is the preservation and protection of open spaces to create a greenbelt of connected habitats and natural ecosystems. Midpen regularly purchases parcels of privately owned land surrounded by our open space preserves, known as inholdings. In late 2022, Midpen purchased two inholdings from San Jose Water Company within Sierra Azul, adding an additional 102.3 acres to the preserve.
This purchase was aided by Senate Bill 492, authored by former State Senator Jim Beall, which exempted Midpen purchases of San Jose Water Company lands from California Public Utilities Commission review. Additionally, the San Jose Water Company is required to invest all net proceeds from the transaction into water system infrastructure that serves the public.
The two parcels west of Mount Umunhum will allow for the permanent protection of forested lands and wildlife habitat within the Upper Los Gatos Creek watershed, and further the connection of wildlife corridors. This purchase also advances Measure AA Portfolio #22, Sierra Azul: Cathedral Oaks Public Access and Conservation Projects, as it secures additional property that could provide future opportunities for public access to the Cathedral Oaks portion of Sierra Azul.