Ranch Near Beale Air Force Base Protected from Development

March 6, 2013

Plans for developing thousands of homes on the edge of Beale Air Force Base have been permanently halted, The Trust for Public Land announced today.

Conservation easements were bought to protect a 2,453-acre cattle ranch, known as Yuba Highlands, next to Beale, north of Sacramento. Six years ago, Yuba County had approved plans for a 5,000 home subdivision on the property. A conservation easement on the property means the land will continue to be used as a working cattle ranch and cannot be developed. Public access may be allowed in the future.

Officials at Beale became worried that homes soclose to the base would interfere with operations. At the same time, members of the community opposed the development and stopped it through a referendum. But future development threats remained and the Air Force, Yuba County, and state agencies came together to permanently protect the land.

"My family's been ranching in this area since 1871 and my grandmother was born on the property next door," said Sue Hoek, daughter of Neil Robinson. "My family is happy to see this property continue as a working ranch instead of becoming a site for 5,000 new homes with all the associated issues that come with a development."

"Conserving this ranch was important to the community," said Sam Hodder, California Director of The Trust for Public Land. "Yuba County, the Department of Defense, and the State of California came together and found a solution here that works for everyone."

The Defense Department contributed $2.6 million to the acquisition with matching funds provided by the State of California's Wildlife Conservation Board, Caltrans, and a landowner donation of land value. The Pentagon money is from a fund that supports cost-sharing partnerships to conserve land and protect military test and training capabilities.

"This project improves the viability of the Spenceville Wildlife Area as both a wildlife area and as a recreational resource," said John Donnelly, of the Wildlife Conservation Board. "This Conservation Easement complements Spenceville's protected 11,942 acres making for a significant assemblage of protected private and public lands in an area of high resource value."

"Beale Air Force Base has a very important role in Yuba County," said Yuba County Supervisor John Nicoletti. "This project responds to the desires of a broad community of interested parties and supports ongoing functionality at the Base. Yuba County strongly supported this ultimate outcome."

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.