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By Sharan Street
Published Oct 16, 2023

Thanks to the work of Peninsula Open Space Trust, the Estrada Ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains, overlooking Silicon Valley’s urban sprawl, has been preserved for future generations. Thanks to the work of Peninsula Open Space Trust, the Estrada Ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains, overlooking Silicon Valley’s urban sprawl, has been preserved for future generations. Image credit: Teddy Miller   Peninsula Open Space Trust

This Land Is Our Land

What’s your favorite view? The redwood forest? The endless skyway? The golden valley, or the diamond deserts?

If you’re like most humans, your ideal vista will be some sort of natural landscape—a preference described by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm as biophilia—“the passionate love of life and of all that is alive.” American biologist Edward O. Wilson used the term for a 1984 book in which he proposed a genetic predisposition for the desire to affiliate with nature. In this week’s newsletter, we salute those humans whose love of nature has led them to protect the natural world around us.

From Private to Public

Many of us have felt the loss of a beloved view: lush woodlands bisected by interstate highways, meadows plowed under to build shopping centers, patches of urban open space lost to infill development. There’s one sure way to protect the view, and that’s to buy the land—or at least the right to develop it. Land trusts are nonprofit groups that work with landowners to protect open space for various reasons—to maintain agricultural resources, protect habitat for endangered species, or to preserve areas beloved by members of the community. Read more in Kimberly Hickok’s article about how land trusts work.

What Is a Land Trust?

Peninsula Open Space Trust worked with landowners to preserve Estrada Ranch, one of the last large properties under family ownership in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
There’s one good way to save open space from development, and that’s to buy property outright. Land trusts are key to that solution.

Caring for the Commons

Once land has been acquired, there is still work to be done in maintaining public access and managing natural resources. Bryan Largay, conservation director of Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, talks with Naomi Friedland about the challenges his organization faces. One interesting point Largay brings up is how public lands would benefit from public support—either financial support through donations or volunteer labor. It’s a point that really resonates with us.

A Conversation with California Conservationist Bryan Largay

Conservation director Bryan Largay helps the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County choose its priorities.
The conservation director of Land Trust of Santa Cruz talks about the highlights of his work, and some of the issues he sees in maintaining California’s parks.

Take a Hike!

About 45 percent of California’s100,206,720 acres is owned by the federal government, and that doesn’t even include state-owned land, county parks, and open-space preserves owned by land trusts. We’ve listed 15 websites that offer easy-to-use guides to some of this vast territory.

15 Sites Where You Can Learn About Beautiful Sights

Frog Lake was saved for future generations in 2020 when the Truckee Donner Land Trust teamed up with two partners—Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy—to purchase the Sierra Nevada property from the Smith family.
The Golden State has a wealth of unspoiled land managed by the feds, the state, and nonprofit organizations. These websites will help map out an adventure.

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Image of City of Lodi seal. City of Lodi   (10/13/2023)

Lodi Energy Center Hydrogen Project

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The results are in! Over 900 of you participated in our 2023 Restaurant & Retail Survey to let us know what dining, shopping, and entertainment options are most-wanted here in Tracy. The winners are… Top Dining Picks : The...