Conservation group acquires land with Mount Diablo's 2nd tallest peak


Save Mount Diablo announced Thursday that it has purchased an 88.5-acre property on Mount Diablo in unincorporated Contra Costa County for $1.1 million.

The conservation organization will pay the sum over 10 years to acquire the land, which touches Mount Diablo State Park, from its private owners.

North Peak Ranch, as it's called, lies a few miles east of Clayton. It holds Mount Diablo's second tallest peak, according to the conservation group.

The group's officials said the land is home to important resources, such as serpentine mineral soils that are associated with rare plant species.

Steve Benkly and his wife, Brenda, originally bought the land in 2000 when Save Mount Diablo was also in negotiations to purchase it.

The private owners remained involved with the conservation group and refused to offer it up to developers, Save Mount Diablo officials said.

Bankley, a builder himself, said he and his wife have "seen the area get overdeveloped." He added that they "didn't want to see this beautiful parcel developed into four or five houses."

"Save Mount Diablo is doing a fantastic job preserving what should have been preserved a long time ago (for) future generations," Bankley said in a statement.

The Bankleys will retain 6.2 acres of the space to continue living in a small farmhouse there, according to the conservation group.

The other 88.5 acres is intended to become a part of the about 20,000-acre Mount Diablo State Park, the group's officials said, but the state park system has to start accepting new lands before that happens.

— Bay City News Service

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