Santa Cruz coastline will be protected

A beautiful sunset sky reflects golds and pinks on the cliffs along the Pacific Ocean near Santa Cruz, CA. (The Trust for Public Land, Photo Credit:Â Frank S. Balthis)

The Coastal Commission has approved a landmark deal that will preserve 10 square miles of land in northern California.

The 6,800 acres of undeveloped shoreline, wooded areas and farmland in northern Santa Cruz County–known as Coast Dairies ranch–will be transferred to the state and federal government, which will operate it as open space and preserve portions for agriculture.

Much of the land will be opened to the public.

The coastal panel’s unanimous vote at a meeting Thursday [April 12, 2012] in Ventura protects 7 ½ miles of coastline that had been one of the three largest pieces of private coastal property between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Mexican border, according to the agency.

The Trust for Public Land acquired the property, a former Spanish land grant, in 1998 and will retain 700 acres of dedicated farmland.

It took more than ten years for all the details to be worked out.

“This is a major culmination of lots of good faith and hard work for everyone,” Commissioner Steve Blank said. “We all win here. The people of California win here.”