Cloverdale Ranch Vista and barn

Newest Midpen Preserve Protects Natural and Working Lands

(Teddy Miller/POST)

This summer, Midpen is celebrating the initial purchase of lands that will become Midpen’s 27th open space preserve: Cloverdale Ranch, a unique ecological and agricultural jewel on the San Mateo County Coastside near the rural town of Pescadero.

The lands, first protected by our nonprofit partner Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), contain large, intact coastal grasslands, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in North America. The property also has abundant water resources, both natural and human-made. 

Together, the natural habitat and plentiful water support a diverse community of native wildlife and plant communities, including grassland-dependent species such as American badgers, burrowing owls and grasshopper sparrows. The property is also home to rare, threatened and endangered water-dependent species like Coho salmon, steelhead trout and California red-legged frogs. With Cloverdale Ranch Open Space Preserve situated between 31,000 acres of other protected lands, this vast property also provides critical corridors for wildlife to move safely through the area, including wide-ranging mammals, fish and birds. 

A rare California red-legged frog (Matt Chaney/Midpen)
A California red-legged frog

These rich resources have also supported people for thousands of years, starting with the Native Americans who tended this wild landscape since time immemorial. Cloverdale Ranch Preserve is also known for its rich agricultural history that continues today. Through our public-private partnership, Midpen and POST are helping to preserve farming and ranching on the Coastside to produce locally grown food and protect the region’s agricultural heritage. The existing conservation grazing leases in uplands areas are transferring to Midpen, while POST retains the surrounding row-crop agricultural lands as part of its farmland program.

Wilbur’s Watch is currently the only public trail in Cloverdale Ranch Preserve. Accessible from a small parking area off Highway 1, this out-and-back trail gently climbs for about a mile through coastal scrub to a lookout with interpretive signs and panoramic coastal views.

Community Field Days in July

Balancing the protection of the natural and working lands with creating additional public access at Cloverdale Ranch Preserve will take time. In the interim, Midpen is offering guided access opportunities provided by trained volunteer docent naturalists. The first opportunities are Community Field Days on July 8 and 22. They will include information about Midpen and Cloverdale Ranch Preserve and a guided hike to a scenic hilltop overlooking the preserve and coastline. They will require reservations.

“These guided outings are designed for the community to connect with the beautiful, ecologically rich open space that is in their backyards, and experience and learn about the many tangible and intangible benefits they provide," shares Midpen Interpretation & Education Program Manager Ellen Tjosvold.

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