On December 4, 2014, the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District announced that the Pebble Beach Company agreed to sell the 851 acre Rancho Aguajito property to MPRPD for $7.45 million. The acquisition was made possible by California State Parks authorization to use Proposition 117 funds. Rancho Aguajito is east of the City of Monterey, and adjacent to and north of Monterey County’s Jacks Peak Park.
The California Native Plant Society reports the property as having, “Natural stands of Monterey Pine Forest form plant and animal communities found nowhere else on earth.” This biologically significant property is part of the largest contiguous Monterey Pine habitat remaining on the planet, and supports ten rare and endangered species including Yadon’s Piperia, a federally listed endangered plant species native to California’s Central Coast.
According to MPRPD General Manager Rafael Payan, “This addition to MPRPD’s list of parks will protect one of the Central Coast’s most iconic yet endangered habitats. The property’s location adjacent to Jacks Peak County Park will provide an array of benefits ranging from the protection and scientific monitoring of the landscape’s critical habitats and wildlife corridors to hiking and environmental education.”
As part of the acquisition, the MPRPD Board renamed the property the Joyce Stevens Monterey Pine Forest Preserve in recognition of the tireless dedication of Joyce Stevens to preserve this unique stand of Monterey Pine Forest habitat.
Plans for park planning and public access will be announced as they become available.