Tuesday, May 31, 2011

3 million grant to help preserve Rockville Trails between Vallejo and Fairfield

Group approves $3 million grant to help preserve Rockville Trails between Vallejo and Fairfield

By Tony Burchyns / Times-Herald

Posted: 05/25/2011 07:06:38 AM PDT

A major Bay Area Ridge Trail supporter has approved a $3 million grant toward the purchase of rural Solano County land for a future park, open space advocates said Tuesday.

The California Coastal Conservancy funds are part of the Solano Land Trust's effort to raise $13.5 million to buy the Rockville Trails Estates property.

Once targeted for a subdivision, the land nestled between Vallejo and Fairfield is being eyed as a potential regional park and trail system.

"In approving the grant at this early stage, the Coastal Conservancy has shown its leadership, guidance and support of the project," said Solano Land Trust Executive Director Nicole Byrd.

"Their willingness to step forward before other funding sources are lined up demonstrates their belief in the importance of this open space, as well as their trust that we can be successful in meeting the challenge of raising the entire acquisition price," Byrd added.

Coastal Conservancy executive officer Sam Schuchat said "Rockville Trails is a spectacularly beautiful property that will be a valuable addition to the Bay Area's protected natural lands."

Schuchat added "Its purchase will enable construction of a portion of the Bay Area Ridge Trail, ensuring that the public will get to enjoy this area for generations to come."

The land trust announced in March that it was seeking funds from public and private foundations, as well as individuals, the buy the land.

The property is between Green Valley Road and Suisun Valley Road, on the edge of the 800,000-acre Blue Ridge-Berryessa Natural Area.

The property was designated as "highly suitable" in the Upland Habitat Goals Project of the Bay Area Open Space Council, a project that identifies land with high bio-diversity in need of conservation.

The conservancy has worked for many years with the land trust and has provided considerable funding for natural lands in Solano County, conservancy spokesman Dick Wayman said.

This month, the land trust expects to buy the first 330 acres with money from local assessment districts in Solano County and the city of Fairfield, associate director Deanna Mott said. The organization plans to purchase the remaining 1,170 acres by year's end.

Contact staff writer Tony Burchyns at tburchyns@timesherald online.com or
(707) 553-6831.