Hollister Ranch Conservancy


Hollister Ranch Conservancy Oak WalkAbout the Conservancy
The Hollister Ranch Board of Directors has delegated the responsibility for preservation of the Ranch environment to the Hollister Ranch Conservancy.  The Conservancy administers a managed access program, started in the mid 1970s, which provides access to scientific and educational groups as well as various university and institute researchers.  Tours by the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, various historical societies, the Audubon Society, and other groups, have been welcomed at the Ranch.  Hundreds of school children come each year to study the tide pools at the Shoreline Preserve.  There is no charge for access and, docents are provided and remunerated by the Conservancy.

The Conservancy also monitors the Shoreline Preserve, publishes informational materials such as the Botanical Resources of Hollister Ranch, which was funded by the conservancy and done in cooperation with the University of California at Santa Barbara.  Other materials published include:  Hollister Ranch, Its History, Preservation and People; pamphlets on botanical resources, the Shoreline Preserve, and Hollister Ranch geology; an intertidal species list; and a recently updated Checklist to the Wildlife of The Hollister Ranch done in cooperation with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.  Furthermore, the HR Cattle Cooperative and the conservancy cooperate on mutually beneficial programs, including preservation of riparian habitats and rangeland resources.

The Ranch is one of the largest natural areas remaining along the southern California coast and this private resource is maintained at no cost to the public.  The flora and fauna are thriving, and the unusually large expanse of connected wild lands and unfragmented habitats help to preserve wide-ranging species such as black bear, mountain lion, deer, bobcats and raptors.

The Conservancy receives no funding from the Hollister Ranch Owners’ Association.  All moneys received from donations and conservancy fund raising events go into a separate account and are used only for authorized Conservancy projects.

For more information, visit the Conservancy website at: www.hollisterranch.orgChildren with Baby Octopus

Hollister Ranch is located between Gaviota and Point Conception and covers approximately 14,400 acres, including eight and one half miles of south-facing coastline.  It is divided into 133 parcels owned by individuals, plus three parcels owned by all the owners in common—two beach parcels running the length of the Ranch and a parcel with the historic Hollister House, barns and employee housing.  The ranch roads are contained in 200-foot-wide pass and repass easements over private parcels.  The Ranch lies at the juxtaposition of the northern and southern California ecosystems, with unusual overlapping of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species.  It embraces a Shoreline Preserve, a 2.2 mile protected intertidal area with pristine tide pools.  Marine mammals regularly haul out at Ranch beaches, and migrating birds use the beaches and ponds to rest and feed.  There are extensive CC&Rs and Ranch rules with the primary purpose of preserving the unspoiled character of the land.  Hunting is not allowed, nor are personal watercraft, motorcycles or similar vehicles.  Access to private parcels is limited to twelve owners and twelve guests at any one time.  Owners regard the Ranch as a natural preserve.

The Ranch, as part of the original Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio, has been a working cattle ranch since the original grazing permit was awarded to José Francisco de Ortega in 1791.  The Hollisters purchased the land in 1866 and held it until 1966 when it was sold and eventually developed, in 1971, as Hollister Ranch—a unique development concept that was designed to keep the Ranch an unspoiled natural resource.  It continues to operate as a working cattle ranch by virtue of management by the Hollister Ranch Cattle Cooperative.

What Is Hollister Ranch?
Hollister Ranch is a 14,400-acre rural community located just east of Point Conception.  It is an area where southern and northern plants and wildlife meet, and its varied topography and geology create an area of high biodiversity.  The Ranch contains nine major native habitats, which support over 800 plant and wildlife forms, including numerous rare or endangered species.  The diverse native habitats found on the Ranch remain relatively intact because of the large size of the Ranch, its remote location, and the CC&Rs, which are structured to preserve the natural environment. 

What Is The Hollister Ranch Conservancy?
The HR Conservancy operates under a charter from the Hollister Ranch Owners’ Association as follows:

Purpose: protect and enhance the natural environment at the Ranch
Goals: 1.  study, management and conservation of the Ranch environment
            2.  provide a program of access to the Ranch for scientific and educational purposes

Conservancy Activities and Accomplishments:

    1. Provides an access program (since the mid 1970’s) for scientific and educational purposes, such as tours by the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, the Audubon Society, historical societies school study groups (K - 12, and college), and scientific research projects by a number of and institutes.
    2. Established a protected Shoreline Preserve (2.2 miles of tide pool area), with information pamphlets and intertidal species lists available to groups accessing the area.
    3. Published a wildlife species inventory and check list.
    4. Egret Landing in Hollister RanchProvides access to the Wildlife Care Network for the release of animals.
    5. Monitors the Shoreline Preserve and other sensitive areas.
    6. Published the Botanical Resources of the Hollister Ranch, which includes plant species, management recommendations, and vegetation, geological and soils maps.  This project was funded by the Conservancy and done in cooperation with the UCSB Herbarium.
    7. Provides wetlands protection.
    8. Funded rangeland enhancement projects in cooperation with the Hollister Ranch Co-op.
    9. Produced a photo CD of Ranch habitats and vegetation types.
    10. Published pamphlets about Hollister Ranch geology and botanic resources, available for tour groups.
    11. Documents Conservancy activities and research projects, and published, in cooperation with Tenera Environmental Services and HROA, the report Managed Access on Hollister Ranch for Scientific  Studies and Educational Activities.
    12. Researched the history of Hollister Ranch and established historical archives, including oral histories; funded and published Hollister Ranch, Its History, Preservation, and People (2004).
    13. Provides Hollister Ranch owners with educational materials about the Ranch environment.
    14. Participated in the National Marine Debris Monitoring Program, and the annual international beach cleanup.