The Friends of Sweeney Ridge

Photographs by Stephen Johnson
Sweeney Ridge, Sneath Lane Entry Gate.

Help save 9 acres at Sweeney Ridge Trail Head from development!

The 9 acres are located to the left in the above photo. The land begins at the gate and continues down this trail to the swamp marsh several hundred yards down.

We are a concerned group of neighbors and trail users who call ourselves The Friends of Sweeney Ridge and are working in partnership with the Pacifica Land Trust, a non-profit group that helps acquire & preserve open space, in an effort to purchase this land from the City of Pacifica and keep it as it is for all to enjoy.

We need to raise some money to pay costs incurred in securing funds from other sources to purchase this land and to show there is a lot of interest in supporting this effort.

The Friends of Sweeney Ridge needs your help!

This scenic gateway to the Sweeney Ridge trail head, future link to the San Andreas trail and Bay Area Ridge trails are at risk.

Luxury homes are planned for this beautiful valley. Please help the Pacifica Land Trust purchase and preserve this land.

Aerial Map of Site

How to help Pacifica Land Trust preserve this land

Sneath Lane Gateway to Sweeney Ridge Walk-a-Thon.
June 21, 2003. 10am.
Download the entry form (PDF)
Download Ralley for the Ridge 2003 info flyer (PDF)
Download Walk-a-thon sponsor sign-up form (PDF)

Photo of Walkathon, June 16, 2001

August 12, 2002 Update: Moving closer to Preservation

Site Stewardship Program: Help Restore Native Plants

Contact Friends of Sweeney Ridge

More information about Sweeney Ridge

Pacifica Land Trust website

Friends of Sweeney Ridge Newsletter (PDF)

Sweeney Gateway Preserved: An Update from 2007

By Ernie Gomes, Vice-President

Since January of 2001, the Pacifica Land Trust (PLT) and the Friends of Sweeney Ridge (FOSR) have been committed to preserving 7.2 acres of open space near San Andreas Lake, adjacent to the trailhead to the National Park Service’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area.(GGNRA) Sweeney Ridge trail. Their efforts, along with the hard work of many agencies, were rewarded in August of this year, when a permanent conservation easement was transferred to the NPS for the purpose of protecting, preserving and maintaining the property‘s natural, scenic and historic value.

Although the property is located within the city limits of San Bruno, it was owned by the City of Pacifica, and was zoned to allow for the development of 9 homes. The steeply sloped property is located within the hydrological boundary of watershed lands and drains directly into San Andreas Reservoir. In addition, the property provides access to the popular Sweeney Ridge hiking trail.

The PLT saw the preservation of this property as being vital to maintain the hydrological integrity of the watershed lands. The site also serves as prime habitat for endangered species of animals, including the San Francisco Garter Snake, Mission Blue Butterfly, and the California Red Legged Frog. Also, a proposed link from the Sweeney Ridge Trail to the popular San Andreas Trail runs through a portion of the property.

The City of Pacifica was originally unaware that it owned the property. Once discovered, it was declared surplus property and soon developers became interested in building large single family residences there.

It has been a long tough road since Jan. 11, 2001, when flyers opposing the development were first distributed to neighbors’ doors, In March of 2001, the Friends of Sweeney Ridge was formed and immediately became supporters and collaborators with the Pacifica Land Trust. Shortly afterward, the PLT negotiated a Purchase Option Agreement with the City of Pacifica. This opportunity gave the PLT and FOSR time to build a case, establish the importance of preserving the property, and host several fund-raisers to cover the expenses incurred by the PLT, which included option fees, appraisals, and the production of an outstanding “Pretty Book” that showcased the uniqueness of the property.

The enormous public awareness campaign paid off! In 2004, the Pacific Gas & Electric Company was given permission by the state Public Utilities Commission to construct the Jefferson-Martin high voltage power line in San Mateo County. Since this power line would partially run through the San Francisco watershed, the GGNRA asked PG&E to purchase the Sweeney parcel for open space, as mitigation for the environmental impacts. In 2005, PG&E agreed to contribute $800,000 for the purchase, in addition to other mitigation measures. In August of 2007,escrow closed and Pacifica granted a permanent Conservation Easement to the National Park Service. Now, the “Gateway to Sweeney Ridge” will be protected forever.

Congratulations and thanks to all of you who donated money to the Pacifica Land Trust and to those who worked with the GGNRA (and Ranger George Durgerian) as site stewards. Years of stewardship help to establish a strong bond between the local community and the GGNRA. Also, special thanks to all of those who supported the PLT including , Nancy Hornor and Brian O’Neill of the GGNRA, the San Francisco Water Department, Bay Area Ridge Trails, Trust for Public Land, Committee for Green Foothills, the California State Coastal Conservancy, the offices of California Assembly member Gene Mullin, former State Senator Jackie Speier, Congressman Tom Lantos and the Pacifica and San Bruno City Councils. Without the support and collaboration of all of the above, this project would not have been successful.

Pacifica Land Trust
P.O. Box 988, Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 359-7191
For further information:
Last updated - September 14, 2008