The Skyline Ridge Tree Farm Restoration Project was a multi-year project to restore 13 acres formerly planted with Christmas trees within the 2,143-acre Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve.
The restoration work began in 2003 and was completed in 2010 by District staff, community volunteers, and the California Conservation Corps. The District also partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enhance habitat for threatened and endangered species like the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake.
Parts of the 13-acre restored area were re-graded for better drainage, and the area was replanted with thousands of native plants. Native grass and wildflower seeds painstakingly gathered in the District’s nearby Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve were spread on the site, and hundreds of acorns gathered from the surrounding forest were planted and will eventually grow into four different species of oak trees. Hundreds of other native plants and shrubs, including toyon, madrone, coffeeberry and sticky monkey flower, were also planted.
The restoration ensures Horseshoe Lake and the immediate surrounding area will remain a viable water source and habitat for wildlife as well as a scenic destination for visitors to the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve. The adjacent Skyline Tree Farm, a family-owned business which began in 1958, continues to operate on 63 acres through a lease agreement with the District. Future generations on their way to cut down their Christmas tree at the tree farm will pass by Horseshoe Lake and see a healthy and thriving native oak woodland surrounding it.