SLO adding 154-acre Waddell Ranch to Irish Hills Natural Reserve

The city purchased the 154-acre Waddell Ranch for $1.1 million.
The city purchased the 154-acre Waddell Ranch for $1.1 million.

The county’s outdoor enthusiasts will soon have a new trail and natural reserve to enjoy.

San Luis Obispo finalized the $1.1 million purchase of the 154-acre Waddell Ranch this past week, with plans to conserve the property and open it to the community this spring.

The acquisition will also allow for the completion of a loop trail through the Irish Hills Natural Reserve along the top of Mine Hill, with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

The property, previously owned by Duane Waddell of Cayucos, is a triangular shaped stretch of land adjoining the city’s Irish Hills Natural Reserve. It contains the source of Froom Creek, as well as numerous rare plants, artesian springs and wildlife habitat.

According to a news release, the land was identified as an important conservation opportunity in 1995.

“The Waddell Ranch project is another great example of our mission to protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come,” Becky Bremser of the Trust for Public Land said in a news release.

The $1.1 million purchase was a collaborative effort among the city, Waddell and the Trust for Public Land.

“The city is extremely proud to be able to complete this long-standing conservation priority in furtherance of our local land conservation legacy,” city natural resources manager Bob Hill said in the release. “The property is a small piece of old California, and we are grateful to Mr. Waddell for his past stewardship and commitment to ensuring that this special land will remain open and wild forever.”

Funding for the purchase came from Measure G, the city’s local revenue measure, as well as grants from the California Wildlife Conservation Board and the California Natural Resources Agency.

The city will add the property into the Irish Hills Natural Reserve following a conservation planning process with the community and City Council to determine long-term management goals and protective measures designed to safeguard the landscape.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie