One of the three largest ranches in the Gaviota Coast planning area will remain in its grand historic condition thanks to the foresight and strong determination of the landowner and the California Rangeland Trust. The Rangeland Trust has successfully placed an agricultural conservation easement on Louise Hanson’s 14,000 acre ranch, forever protecting the scenic beauty, wildlife habitat and local food production provided by the expansive property. The Rangeland Trust is honored to have worked with Mrs. Hanson and her family for the last several years to help her fulfill her wish that the property never be subdivided and continue as a working cattle ranch. This conservation easement is the legal instrument ensuring the fulfillment of her desire to protect the property and the ranch’s legacy.
The ranch is located on the Gaviota Coast region of Santa Barbara County and is visible from both Hwy 1 and Hwy 101. This magnificent property is located in close proximity to the Gaviota State Park, the Las Padres National Forest, the Nojoqui Falls Park and the Gaviota Pass.
Mrs. Hanson, a progressive and strong willed woman, set the stage for women to become successful landowners and ranchers throughout the state. At one time, Mrs. Hanson ran the entire cattle operation herself. More recently, various portions of the land have been leased, ensuring the property continues as a working cattle ranch. Stewardship is a priority for Hanson and has been her entire life.
“I think almost all ranchers are actually part of the environment, we live along with the environment,” Hanson said in an interview of oral history conducted by the Orange County Pioneer Council. “I mean that is part of our life, to preserve it and take care of it and be part of it.”
Mrs. Hanson’s desire to keep the property whole and in cattle ranching completely aligns with the Rangeland Trust’s mission to protect private ownership of working ranches, open landscapes, wildlife habitat, clean air and water, local food supplies and California’s ranching heritage.
“Louise Hanson is an inspiration to us all,” said Nita Vail CEO of the Rangeland Trust. “It is such an honor to support her long time goal of preserving the incredible ranches she has put together and the gift she has given Santa Barbara County and all of California.”
Along with the property’s ranching past, the ranch possesses rich historical significance. Some of the buildings on the property include residences and outbuildings that date back to the early 1900’s. In addition, the area in and around the ranch is known to be the location of many encounters with Native Americans and outlaws in the 1800’s. One such story is of a famous incident involving J.C. Fremont in the 1840’s.
The ranch is home to a tremendous amount of flora and fauna including chaparral, oak woodlands, willow riparian and open range type landscapes. Several special status species call the ranch home too, including the California red-legged frog.
About California Rangeland TrustThe California Rangeland Trust, a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, was created to conserve the open space, natural habitat and stewardship provided by California’s ranches. To date, the Rangeland Trust has protected more than
311,751 acresof productive grazing lands across the state through the use of conservation easements. For more information, visit www.rangelandtrust.org.