The Conservancy Board authorizes disbursement of up to $2,000,000 to The Wildlands Conservancy to acquire approximately 7,480 acres of the Lone Pine Ranch property at the confluence of the Eel River mainstem and North Fork Eel River in Trinity and Mendocino Counties for the purposes of preserving and restoring fish and wildlife habitat, public access and recreation, open space, and natural resource protection.
Situated on the Mendocino and Trinity County border, the Lone Pine Ranch is a 26,600 acre property located along the eastern bank of the Eel River. Since the 1940s, Lone Pine Ranch has been owned by the Dean Witter Family who primarily used the property for cattle ranching, timber harvesting, and private recreation. The Wildlands Conservancy (“Wildlands”), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is seeking to acquire the entire Lone Pine Ranch property in fee title and operate the property as a protected nature preserve. In October 2019, Wildlands acquired the northwardly adjacent 3,000-acre White Ranch property for $3,900,000, simultaneously entering into an option agreement for the entire Lone Pine Ranch. This option is set to expire October 18, 2021 with a 30-day closing period.
Acquisition of the Lone Pine Ranch is part of a landscape scale conservation strategy in the Eel River Watershed, complementing conservation land holdings by the Golden State Conservancy at Eel River Ranch and McKee Ridge Ranch and conservation easement acquisitions by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation through the Eel River Peninsula Project upstream of the Lone Pine Ranch. For Wildlands, this acquisition will further their organization’s significant efforts toward the vision of an “Eel River Emerald Necklace”: a system of preserves along the Eel River between Dos Rios and the Pacific that provide for environmental conservation and restoration along with compatible public access.
this acquisition constitutes one of four funding areas on the 26,600 acre Lone Pine Ranch acquisition being undertaken by The Wildlands Conservancy, who secured an Option Agreement for the full property in 2019 and hold that option through fall 2021
Notice of Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Reasons for Exemption
The proposed funding authorization is categorically exempt from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (“CCR”) Section 15313 because this project funds the acquisition of land for fish and wildlife habitat. The proposed project is also exempt under Section 15325 because it is an acquisition to preserve and restore the natural habitat of the area.