After 10 years of fighting the good fight–trying to protect 2,000 acres from development in northern San Diego County–Golden Door, just this week, announced its acquisition of a 1,988-acre property that will be focused on environmental stewardship efforts. This purchase of the rural site known as “Newland Sierra,” finalized in November 2022, ensures that the critical open space, wildlife, and precious habitat areas of the property will be protected for generations to come.
“Newland Sierra is this mountainous raw undeveloped parcel of two thousand acres–literally as nature intended it,” shares Kathy Van Ness, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Golden Door. “It’s made up of mountains and valleys and California Oak and Scrub and home to bobcats and road runners, and all kinds of wildlife. One of the most beautiful things about the land is what nature left us. There are rocks the size of a submarine . . . to blow it all up and flatten it is not the right thing. I’m in the hospitality business and I just saved two thousand acres, and I’m proud of it.”
While the conservation plan is far from finalized, Van Ness says that this is not intended as just a private preserve for Golden Door guests. “It’s completely in line with our ethos [the iconic spa property donates 100 percent of its net profits to philanthropic causes], and it made perfect sense that we should step up,” she says, adding that, “Protecting this property reflects our deep commitment to sustainability, which we believe is part of our responsibility to our community and beyond. Caring for the incredible resources on this site is a way we can truly contribute to our shared climate action goals.”
A Win-Win for the Region
The Golden Door’s victory is music to many an ear in San Diego, including Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors. Fletcher applauded this unique win-win opportunity for the region. “This acquisition is poised to create lasting, meaningful positive impacts on climate action and sustainability in the San Diego region, supporting the North County Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP),” he said. “There are very few examples anywhere of a land purchase of this magnitude for the purpose of environmental protection. It is truly extraordinary that Golden Door made this happen in San Diego County, helping advance the work our County is doing to create a healthier future for our residents, including our wildlife and habitat, and our planet.”
“I’m in the hospitality business, and I just saved two thousand acres, and I’m proud of it.” –Kathy Van Ness, GM, COO, Golden Door
The potential development of the Newland property garnered much attention from environmental groups that now are pleased with the purchase by Golden Door. “This is the most successful conclusion to years of uncertainty for this important resource, historically known as Merriam Mountains, and brings great hope for the future,” said Dan Silver, Executive Director of Endangered Habitats League. “Golden Door has been a tireless advocate and now the stage is set to move forward with the critically important Multiple Species Conservation Plan for wildlife protection in North County.”
“The future is, the land will be protected and we will find the right stewardship, right conservatory,” attests Van Ness. “We will find the right people to manage this land for the rest of its life.”
The Golden Door’s immediate goal is to begin the process of selecting a highly qualified land stewardship organization to help care for the critical open space, wildlife, and habitat areas of this property consistent with Golden Door’s commitment to sustainability and climate action.