What is the Ridgewood Ranch Conservation Area?
The 5000 acre Ridgewood Ranch, located 7 miles south of Willits, CA is the historic home of thelegendary racehorse and American icon, Seabiscuit and is owned by the Golden Rule Church Association.The Ridgewood Ranch Conservation Area will encompass 4636 acres - 7 square miles - of the ranch.It will include the historic buildings and all of the outstanding natural resources on the property,including farm and grazing land, redwood and fir forests, oak woodlands, streams and scenic vistas.Permanent Conservation Easements will be placed on the land by the Mendocino Land Trust at a price well below fair-market value. (A conservation easement limits development & protects resource values through a permanent deed restriction.)
What will happen if the Property is not conserved?
Ridgewood Ranch contains highly developable land. If the Ranch is not conserved, it is very likely that substantial portions of the property will be subdivided and developed in the near future. The Mendocino Land Trust and the Golden Rule Church Association are committed to a different vision for the property: Saving Seabiscuit's historic home for the public to enjoy and permanently protecting the Ranch's creeks, oak woodlands, redwood groves and wildlife habitat. The productive forest and farmland will also be conserved, enabling the landowners to continue their excellent stewardship while ensuring economic sustainability.
What is the value to the public of protecting Ridgewood Ranch?
Rich natural resources will be protected forever, as will the scenic vistas of expansive oak woodlands, forest and farmland bordering three miles of Highway 101. Significant historical buildings and cultural resources, including Seabiscuit's stud barn, Charles Howard's home, Northern Pomo village sites, early settler gravesites, and an early 20th century hydroelectric system, will be protected with the goal of preservation. Permanent public access to the Conservation Area will be assured. Ridgewood Ranch has been a valuable resource for historical tours, conservation research, school and youth group activities and community gardening projects. Thousands have toured Seabiscuit's home and enjoyed its rich history and pastoral beauty. Many more will be able to share this opportunity in the future.
What will be protected?
- Seabiscuit's stud barn, Charles Howard family home, and more than twenty other historic sites on the Ranch.
- Over 5 miles of Forsythe and Walker Creeks,16 miles of tributaries, and 570 acres of associated riparian areas.
- 2 acres of old growth and 17 acres of second growth redwood, 1,900 acres of oak woodlands containing eight different oak species.
- 180 acres of prime farmland and 2,000 acres of grazing land, 900 acres of Douglas-fir, mixed hardwood forest managed for long-term sustainability.
- Extensive wildlife habitat for steelhead, golden eagle, great blue heron, bear, mountain lion, fox, deer, yellow-legged frogs, and numerous other species.
- Vernal pools (seasonal wetland ponds) of the rarest type found in California; unique and rare plant species.
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