Harvey and Gladys Nyland Property
The Harvey and Gladys Nyland Property sits just outside the City of San Juan Bautista and is a space steeped in history. The 540 acres of oak-studded grasslands, wetlands, and seasonal streams once supported the Indigenous Amah Mutsun people who were taken to this mission and other missions as part of the Spanish conquest of California. The property is still largely intact, and cattle graze here as they did hundreds of years ago. It’s also a vital wildlife corridor, with concrete culverts under the Highway 156 providing safe passage between the property and open grasslands to the north. The Harvey and Gladys Nyland Property is home to raptors, grassland birds, and waterfowl along with mountain lions, black bears and bobcats. But with over nearly 2 miles of frontage along Highway 156, the property was both highly scenic and vulnerable to development.
When the property’s fourth-generation owners decided to sell the ranch, they reached out to Trust for Public Land to ensure its continued health and historic ranching uses. We teamed up with San Benito Agricultural Land Trust, Amah Mutsun Land Trust, and Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to work together to ensure the permanent protection and stewardship of the land. The four organizations collaborated on a joint management plan for the ranch that promotes indigenous land stewardship practices, sustainable cattle grazing, and preserves the property’s diverse ecological and historical values.
One of the unique and intentional outcomes of this conservation project is the presence of a cultural easement for the Amah Mutsun people to return to their lands. The cultural easement will provide the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band special access to the property for cultural, spiritual, and ceremonial traditions. Their guidance will also facilitate restoration, conservation, and stewardship of the lands and waters using traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge and methods.