Funding Goal Reached to Conserve Iconic Pacific Coast Ranch

More than 400 acres of undeveloped coastal bluffs and more than a mile of Pacific coastline near Point Arena, California will be set aside as open space for wildlife and public enjoyment, The Trust for Public Land announced today.

A $98,000 donation from The Wyss Foundation confirmed today supplements state and federal investments to enable the acquisition of Phase II of the Cypress Abbey Ranch and the expansion of the adjacent 1,140 acre Stornetta Public Lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

“Thanks to the remarkable stewardship of local communities and landowners over many generations, the bluffs around Point Arena remain one of America’s most stunning landscapes,” said philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss, who established The Wyss Foundation in 1998 and lives in Wilson, Wyoming. “I’m proud to support the many local partners who are working to ensure these lands remain open and accessible for everyone to explore, so that future generations may continue to experience the breathtaking beauty of the California coast.”

The protection of the Cypress Abbey Ranch will further enhance a legislative proposal, put forward by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., to expand the California Coastal Monument to include the Stornetta Public Lands. Under Huffman’s proposal, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week, the Cypress Abbey Ranch would be added to the monument once the acquisition is complete.

“Thanks to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, investments from the State of California, and the generous support of The Wyss Foundation, we will conserve one of the Pacific’s most spectacular coastlines for the public to enjoy for generations to come” said, Sam Hodder, California Director of The Trust for Public Land. “The Cypress Abbey Ranch will help fulfill the vision for the California Coastal Monument that Congressman Huffman has put forward today and that local communities have worked so hard to advance.”

The property is Phase II of a three phase acquisition. Phase I was completed on January 10, 2012 and its 123 acres are now in BLM ownership. Phase II is comprised of 409 acres and must be completed by September 2013. Phase III is comprised of 20 acres of inholding properties and is expected to be completed in 2014.

The proposed acquisition contributes to 10 miles of protected Pacific coastline and adds to over 3,300 acres of protected open space including the adjacent Stornetta Public Lands (1,140 acres), Manchester State Park (1,500 acres), Stornetta Conservation Easement (589 acres), and Phase I acquisition (123 acres).

Completion of the Cypress Abbey Ranch Phase II acquisition will create the opportunity to build a 10 mile segment of California Coastal Trail connecting the community of Pt. Arena to Manchester State Park via Stornetta Public Lands.

To date, the following funds have been committed to the Phase II acquisition: $4.5 million from federal offshore oil and gas revenues through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), $500,000 from the California Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, $151,370 from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Environmental Enhancement Fund, $98,630 from The Wyss Foundation, and $50,000 from a private donor. The property will be purchased by September 30, 2013.

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.

The Wyss Foundation helps Western communities conserve iconic parks and landscapes for the public to experience and explore. The Foundation’s work has included support for the Montana Legacy Project’s efforts to permanently protect former Plum Creek timber lands in the Crown of the Continent as working forests, open for hunting, fishing, and recreation. Through the Wyss Scholars and Wyss Fellows programs, the Foundation also helps young people gain the education and experiences needed to pursue successful careers in natural resource stewardship.