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San Diego County approves adding 228 acres to Ramona Preserve

An undated photo of a hiking trailhead at the Ramona Grasslands County Preserve.
Courtesy of San Diego County Parks and Recreation
An undated photo of a hiking trailhead at the Ramona Grasslands County Preserve.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 Wednesday to add 228 acres to the Ramona Grasslands County Preserve.

As part of an agreement, the county will spend $640,000 to buy the land from the revocable trust of Donald J. Metzler and Diane W. Metzler. Total costs, including staff time, will be $1.03 million, according to county documents.

Located in the Santa Maria Valley, the existing 3,600-plus acre Ramona preserve is popular with cyclists, hikers, horseback riders and wildlife enthusiasts.


It features Diegan coastal sage scrub and riparian habitat and is also home to three sensitive species: the arroyo toad, coastal California gnatcatcher and Stephen's kangaroo rat.

According to information on the board agenda, acquiring the property would expand the South County Subarea Plan preserve area by 228 acres, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 290 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year.

Supervisors in May voted as part of their consent agenda to advance the proposal, in the form of an ordinance. Wednesday board meeting items focus on land use and environmental matters.

Supervisors approved the easement of 220.5 acres of open space in Ramona in September. According to a representative of the Endangered Habitats League's San Diego chapter, that decision also benefited the Grasslands Preserve.

Board Vice-Chair Nora Vargas missed Wednesday's meeting because she was attending a National Association of Counties conference.


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