Bay Area leaders are moving quickly to acquire a large swath of land just south of Livermore that has attracted global interest from potential buyers for its pristine wilderness, and what could become California’s newest state park.
More than a dozen local legislators have urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to buy N3 Ranch, a nearly 51,000-acre property near Del Valle Regional Park that spans across parts of Alameda, Santa Clara, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. The working cattle ranch was listed for sale in July 2019 for $72 million.
The purchase would be partly funded with $20 million either dedicated from this year’s state budget surplus or included in one of several resource bond bills that are currently pending, as the group has suggested doing. A $30 million match by the Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land would help towards completing the transaction.
Newsom set aside $20 million for the purchase of a new state park last week but hasn’t specified where it would be. Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) and other officials said they want to strike fast before the coveted property is sold to a private party.
“This is a matter of urgent concern because this irreplaceable property is for sale now,” Glazer said in a statement. “Non-profit conservation groups have assembled funding commitments that could finance more than half the cost. We need to move on this quickly.”
Deer, tule elk, wild pigs, turkeys, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, gray foxes and hundreds of bird species roam freely on the land, which has a significant source of drinking water and more than 200 miles of established trails for hiking, mountain biking and ATV riding. Covering nearly 80 square miles of backcountry terrain, the N3 Ranch would also be one of the state’s largest public parks. There are also 14 historic cabins that officials said “could support a unique hut-to-hut experience similar to Yosemite’s or those found in Europe but in the heart of the Bay Area.”
Asm. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) called the N3 Ranch, which was last on the market 85 years ago, “a critical asset in the efforts to protect our open spaces and fight climate change.” Bauer-Kahan and Glazer (D-Orinda) are both among the local lawmakers that recently signed a declaration supporting the acquisition.
“Californians deserve this opportunity to be provided clean air, clean water and access to parklands. I am proud to be working with my colleagues to preserve this natural treasure,” Bauer-Kahan said.
The state has some competition for the property, however; a real estate broker told Bay Area News Group this week that a number of potential buyers have shown interest, including some from overseas.