The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Wednesday approved the roughly $8.7 million purchase of 2,151 acres of land to preserve habitat and extend wildlife corridors in the community of Campo.
County officials described the purchase from Star Ranch Enterprises LLC as the largest in a decade.
The land is located just north of Campo Stone Store Museum, northwest of state Route 94 and south of Buckman Springs Road. The property connects to hundreds of acres owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and is also near Naval Base Coronado's Mountain Warfare Training Camp Michael Monsoor.
According to the county, the parcel is home to chaparral, wetland and riparian habitats that support a variety of protected species, including the arroyo toad and Least Bell's Vireo bird.
The Star Ranch purchase may also allow for connections to other regional trails, such as the Pacific Crest.
The purchase price covers county staffing, title and closing and land improvement costs.
Dan Silver, executive director of Endangered Habitats League, said the land acquisition "has been a long time in coming.''
The property is extremely important for biological and historic reasons, Silver said, adding the county should consider building an interpretive center on the property.
"If we're going to keep that heritage, we need to preserve properties like this,'' he said.
Frank Landis, of the California Native Plant Society, said the county is also helping to restore wetlands, calling Star Ranch "the most important acquisition opportunity in south San Diego County.''
County officials said keeping the land from being developed will also contribute to the County’s drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating nearly 3,000 metric tons of emissions.