What is the Santa Lucia Preserve
Once a 20,000 acre working cattle ranch, The Preserve is now a unique example of large-scale private land conservation, reflecting a carefully designed community in which 94% of the land – over 18,735 acres – is protected and managed for its wild natural beauty and ecological health and diversity. Located on the central coast of California just a few miles from Carmel-by-the-Sea and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, The Preserve’s 30 square miles contain a mosaic of six biomes and 72 distinct plant communities, ranging from native coastal prairie to redwood forest. Our lands include the headwaters of five streams supporting abundant wildlife, from imperiled steelhead trout and California red-legged frogs to over 250 species of native birds. Nearly 300 families own property, live and play within The Preserve, caring for the land and supporting the efforts of the Santa Lucia Conservancy, an independent non-profit land trust which actively manages and sustains the extraordinary natural resources found here. The three pillars of The Preserve – Conservation, Community and Culture – reflect the abiding commitment of its members to preserve this special place for the benefit of all.
The Preserve Design:
Extraordinary thought and planning went into the design of this unique community, with the goal of sustainably integrating the human and natural communities for the benefit of both. Four land use types have been designated within these 20,000 acres, each of which is sited with conservation in mind. Wildlands, encompassing 10,360 acres, are owned by the Santa Lucia Conservancy and managed for their wild natural beauty and biodiversity. Openlands, collectively representing 7,533 acres, are areas owned by individual landowners and protected by covenants that ensure their permanent protection as natural open space. Rancholands, at nearly 465 acres, support recreational facilities including the Ranch and Golf Club facilities, roads, and trails. The Homelands, collectively covering 800 acres, represent 308 residential building envelopes individually owned by the families who call The Preserve their home. A map showing how these land uses fit together is shown below. However, this interweaving of people and nature goes far deeper than lines on a map. The commitment to sustaining the health and beauty of the land is reflected in a hundred ways: the narrow country roads that softly follow the contours of earth – in the decision to limit fencing, night lighting and land clearing to ensure the safe passage of wildlife – in the investments in underground utilities, water conservation and buffers around streams and sensitive habitat. Equally important, perhaps, is the creation of the Santa Lucia Conservancy, a science-based conservation organization dedicated to the care and protection of the natural resources of The Preserve.
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