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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

10,000 Acre Conservation Easement funded by State in 2007 in the Lower Sierra Nevadas, Part of Linkage that is Threatened by Tejon Ranch Project

Parker Ranch


Winding through the Tehachapi Mountains just one hour north of Los Angeles exists what is arguably the most vital wildlife corridor in North America.

A vast collection of open landscapes, the corridor links the 2,000-mile-long Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountain Ranges to the east, and the 800-mile-long Sierra Madre, Traverse and Peninsular Mountain chain to the west.

At the base of this corridor is Parker Ranch — nearly 10,000 acres of rangeland dotted with blue oaks, buckeyes and scores of wildflowers each spring.

Working closely with the Parker family, The Nature Conservancy recently purchased a conservation easement on the ranch to protect it from development, regardless of future ownership. The easement will ensure this key segment in the wildlife corridor — and the Parker family’s ranching heritage — are preserved for generations to come.

..."Parker Ranch is truly a biological crossroads, linking meadowlands to valleys and hillsides to mountain ranges,” said E.J. Remson, project director with The Nature Conservancy.

But land development near Parker Ranch is pressing in from all sides.

"If this ecological link is broken, the repercussions on wildlife could be felt well north of the Canadian border, and deep into Mexico,” said Remson.


Jim Dodson said...


This makes no sense. The option to acquire a strong conservation easement across the northern portion of the Tejon property to complement the TNC effort was an important consideration in the deal made with the Ranch Company. This is a good thing.

Rex Frankel said...

I'm not certain what you you think doesn't make sense, but I'll guess. I did not, and would not disagree with saving the north portion of Tejon Ranch. It's a good thing that the Nature Conservancy and the State funded the purchase of development rights on this 10,000 acres that links Tejon Ranch to the Sierras. What I question is that once wildlife crosses from the Sierra Nevadas to Tejon Ranch, it will eventually run into the new urban sprawl that your deal negotiated for the Sierra Club is facilitating on the south end of Tejon Ranch. I believe, and so do many experts, that this 30,000 acres of new development at the south end will serve as a barrier, or a "disconnect" in this property which currently serves as the keystone parcel that connects the Sierras and Yosemite to the Coast range, Big Sur, the Santa Monica Mountains, and all the way to the Mexico border.

I am not saying there should be absolutely zero new development on this huge parcel. But the way your deal is designed is tragically destructive to the south and west wildlife corridors on Tejon Ranch.

Rex Frankel, editor, Rare Earth News