LIVERMORE (AP) — About 3,100 acres (1,250 hectares) of open space in the San Francisco Bay Area could soon be preserved as a state park under a $31 million deal struck by Bay Area lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom. The deal would to keep the area from becoming part of a neighboring off-road vehicle park.
The agreement, which could be approved by the lawmakers this week, has been cast as a way to safeguard the ecological and cultural significance of the land east of Livermore, Democratic Sen. Steve Glazer of Orinda, who has advocated for the land's preservation since 2018, said in a statement Monday.
If the agreement is approved, the land known as the Tesla parcel would be closed to motorized recreation. The parcel borders the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area, which had planned to expand into the land, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Scientists say the land is a "biologically unique habitat," and Native Americans consider it a "sensitive historical site," Glazer's office said in a statement Monday.
Under the agreement, the state would reimburse the Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund for the price of the land and other related costs and pay for the development of a new off-roading park in a different location.
"This is a win-win for all involved," Glazer said. "Our community and region gets to preserve this natural and cultural treasure while the off-road enthusiasts will keep their current park and receive funding to develop another park on land that's more suitable to that kind of recreation."
The land is home to several threatened and endangered wildlife species. It is designated a California Native Plant Society Botanical Priority Protection Area and has been deemed an Audubon Important Bird Area.
It is named after the historic town and Tesla coal mine that were established on the site in the 19th century. Today, there are Native American archaeological and ceremonial sites on the land, Glazer's office said.
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