Chico, Calif. – A North State organization is marking the 2018 observation of Earth Day with a ‘win’ in the category of conserving open spaces. The event is also a ‘win’, ironically, for those many might not see as colleagues of those seeking to protect the environment; cattle rangers and hunters.
The Northern California Regional Land Trust is forging unique and inclusive partnerships designed to find solutions that work for all stakeholders in a regional effort to protect sensitive lands from development.
Action News Now Anchor Julia Yarbough spent time with members of the Land Trust to learn more of how partnerships create lasting relationships between landowners, conservationists and business interests.
For many years John Sewell has managed the Garner and Rose Ranches. The properties comprise 86-hundred acres of woodland rangeland along the Northern Butte - Southern Tehama county line.
Fearing encroaching development could destroy the landscape, affect water, and threaten the hundreds of plant and animal species which call the region home, Sewell turned to the Northern California Regional Land Trust. After countless negotiating sessions over several years, all parties involved reached a mutually beneficial agreement, placing 86-hundred acres off-limits to development. Forever!
He explained, “These lands are going to be here and stay here forever. The wildlife will be protected, the ranches will be run properly and everybody wins.”
Sewell went on to say, “We were able to get exactly what we wanted for our landowners but also protect the wildlife. It’s very important to me to make sure the ranches are managed and run the same way they have been for hundreds of years.”
One specific species now more fully protected from development, is the largest migratory deer herd in California; the East Tehama Deer Herd. The animals roam the acreage and conservationists say development could threaten their health and future.
While touring the property, members explained to Yarbough, that the concept works because all sides are willing to listen and negotiate toward a common goal. Those involved include conservationists, hunters, cattle ranchers, business owners and State and regional agencies.
The trust secures funding and is able to work closely with land owners to develop financially viable ways for them to conserve their land.
John Hunt is the Conservation Director of the Trust. He has spent more than twenty years working within the conservation field and says he has devoted his life to saving ecological landscapes.
Hunt says the Garner-Rose land agreement was more than five years in the making.
Hunt said, “This is one of the most satisfying projects I’ve ever been a part of. This is the reason I work in conservation; to save substantive pieces of landscape.”
Hunt explains deals such as this benefit more than just those directly involved, but rather all members of the community by adding to the quality of life.
He said, “These properties represent a very large piece of the landscape. The have size, connectivity and habitat values for hundreds of species of wildlife. The values they convey to the community are open space and quality of life. That translates into a sound return on investment, through a fair transaction to private landowners.”
Since its inception, the Northern California Regional Land Trust has hammered out partnerships with a number of popular and heavily visited outdoor spaces in Butte County.
Click here to see a full list of those locations and learn more about the Northern California Regional Land Trust, its primary business sponsors and how to become more involved.