The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County has announced plans to preserve 900 acres behind Pismo Beach and open it to the public.
Called the Pismo Preserve, the land would extend a mile inland and be bounded on the northeast side by Price Canyon Road.
The property has about 10 miles of dirt roads and single-track paths that would provide a ready-made trail system for hikers, cyclists and equestrians, said Kaila Dettman, the Land Conservancy's executive director.
"It is the backdrop to the city of Pismo Beach," she said. "We see this as an amazing amenity for the community."
The owner, Brad Wilde of Pismo Beach Coast View LLC, is offering to sell the property for $10 million. The conservancy has tentative offers for that amount but needs to raise an additional $1.7 million to cover other expenses in order to complete the deal by an Aug. 1 deadline.
Other expenses include spending about $1.4 million on public access improvements including a parking lot off Mattie Road and an operating endowment. If all goes as planned, the conservancy hopes to open the property to the public by the spring of 2015.
The property historically has been used as ranchland with grasslands, oak woodlands and chaparral. Several creeks run through the property providing sycamore and willow riparian corridors. Ridges immediately above Pismo Beach offer sweeping views of the coastline from Point San Luis to Point Sal.
The land is next to Spanish Springs, one of two developments proposed for Price Canyon.
The Pismo Preserve would provide valuable recreation and open space amenities for those developments.
"Large development projects highlight the need for communities to set aside wildlands for conservation while they still exist," states a brochure the conservancy has made for the project.
The property would be open from sunrise to sunset, and access would be free. Only passive recreation, such as hiking and biking, would be allowed. No campgrounds are planned.
Based on the extensive use of other nearby open-space reserves, such as San Luis Obispo's Johnson Ranch, the conservancy estimates that the proposed Pismo Preserve would see more than 3,000 visitors a month.
For more information about the Land Conservancy, visit the website http://lcslo.org/.