With almost 40 million people, California is the most populous state in the U.S. Thousands of acres have been paved with concrete, countless trees have been cut down, and lots of wildlife habitat has been disrupted to accommodate the explosive growth there over the last century.
Aside from the state’s storied national parks, such as Yosemite and Joshua Tree, few large swaths of “old California” land remain intact. Even less of that natural land can be found along the Southern California coast, which is highly prized for homes and other development.
Now, a $165 million gift to the Nature Conservancy will preserve nearly 25,000 acres of pristine land in Santa Barbara County. The land was once the Bixby Ranch, then later became the Cojo Jalama Ranches, a privately owned piece of coastal property that the LA Times once called “the last perfect place.” In 2007, the ranch was sold to a financial firm called the Baupost Group.
But as of Thursday, the region will officially be designated a nature preserve.
Photo: Sam Goodgame/Unsplash