Thursday, Feb 20, 2014
Michelle Durand
  • Land Transfer Will Enable County to Expand Quarry Park

    San Mateo County Parks Poster

    The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors  has agreed to accept a donation of 478 acres of forest and grassy hillsides  near El Granada from Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST).

    The County agreed to accept the land, known commonly as Wicklow, as a gift from POST and is expected to complete the transaction within the next four months, if not sooner.  The land is located about four miles north of Half Moon Bay east of Highway 1 and will be added to the County’s 40-acre Quarry Park.

    “This is great news for anyone who enjoys the outdoors,” said Don Horsley, a member of the Board of Supervisors whose District 3 includes the coastside. “This allows us to preserve this valuable land as open space for generations to come while improving recreational opportunities for our residents.”

    “This latest addition to San Mateo County Parks will continue to enhance outdoor recreation in the Midcoast area, following the County’s Midcoast Action Plan for Parks and Recreation,” said San Mateo County Parks Director Marlene Finley. “The existing facilities at neighboring Quarry Park, including the parking lot and restrooms, make it a natural gateway to the Wicklow addition.”

    POST, the County’s partner on this project, protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around the Peninsula. The Palo Alto-based organization has a long record of conserving threatened natural landscapes in San Mateo County and beyond, saving more than 70,000 acres since its founding in 1977.

    POST commonly works with public agencies such as San Mateo County Parks to ensure permanent conservation and public access to local open lands. POST initially preserved the Wicklow property in 2002 thanks to a generous donation of 462 acres by Mike and Margaret O’Neill and their children—at the time one of the largest and most generous land gifts ever made to POST.

    Mike O’Neill, a prominent Bay Area builder, and his family wanted to see the property—covered in grassy hillsides, coastal ridges and a massive eucalyptus forest—preserved forever. He purchased the land in 1994 and named it after the county where he grew up in Ireland.

    Up to four luxury estate homes could have been built at Wicklow. Previously used for cattle grazing, the property was originally designed in the early 1900s as a “pleasure park” by renowned architect and city planner Daniel H. Burnham. He developed El Granada’s distinctive circular street plan as part of a seaside resort community he envisioned for visitors from San Francisco.

    “It’s wonderful that, with the transfer of this land to San Mateo County, we can now fulfill the original historic intent for this land for the benefit and enjoyment of Midcoast residents and visitors,” said POST President Walter T. Moore. “POST continues to be grateful to the O’Neill family for their generous land donation in 2002. That visionary gift is what makes this project possible today. We can’t think of a better outcome for this splendid, scenic property.”

    About San Mateo County Department of Parks: The San Mateo County Department of Parks provides you with amazing recreational opportunities, while protecting, restoring and enhancing the natural resources of the County. The Department operates 19 separate parks, three regional trails and numerous other county and local trails encompassing 16,183 acres. They are located throughout the County and represent a wide variety of natural settings including a coastside marine reserve, a bayside recreational area, coastal mountain forests, and urban parks. On the Web at


    San Mateo County Parks: Marlene Finley, (650) 599-1394,

    POST: Michelle Mellon, (650) 854-7696 x341 or

    About POST: Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) is a leading private, nonprofit land trust that protects and cares for open space, parks and farmland in and around Silicon Valley. Since its founding in 1977, POST has saved more than 70,000 acres as permanent open space and parkland in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. On the Web at