Pismo Preserve is a done deal after supervisors OK final $400,000

An oak tree frames the view from the proposed 900-acre Pismo Preserve.
An oak tree frames the view from the proposed 900-acre Pismo Preserve. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

It’s a done deal.

San Luis Obispo County supervisors Tuesday enthusiastically and unanimously approved the final $400,000 needed to complete the purchase of the 900-acre Pismo Preserve. Dozens of supporters of the project wearing bright green T-shirts gave the five supervisors a standing ovation after the vote.

Several supervisors and members of the public said conservation of the scenic ranch will help San Luis Obispo County become a world-class tourist destination. Supervisor Debbie Arnold, the board’s most fiscally conservative member, said the preserve is well worth the investment.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to create a park in a very appropriate place,” she said.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County plans to sign the $12 million purchase agreement in early September and open the park to the public next summer.

The property is currently an undeveloped ranch with 10 miles of ready-made roads and trails that would be available to hikers, cyclists and equestrians. The oak-studded ridge behind Pismo Beach and Shell Beach is included and offer visitors panoramas of the coastline.

“This will help reduce traffic on other trails in the area and create more opportunities,” said Supervisor Adam Hill, whose district includes Pismo Beach.

The final stop for the project is Thursday in Sacramento when the state Wildlife Conservation Board is scheduled to approve $4 million for the purchase. The board’s staff is recommending the allocation be approved, in part due to the large amount of support the project has received in terms of local donations, said Kaila Dettman, executive director of the Land Conservancy.

“The support that we have received from people from all parts of the county has been phenomenal,” she said.

Of the $12 million needed to purchase the preserve, $8 million has come from state sources with $2.3 million from local governments and regional agencies and $1.7 million in donations from foundations, businesses and individuals.

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