California Rangeland Trust announces the first conservation agreement completed in 2015 — the protection of historic Flentge Ranch. Located in Parkfield in the Cholame Hills of Southern Monterey County, Flentge Ranch is a family-operated ranch that includes 3,300 acres of open rangeland, just a few miles from the King Ranch subdivision. As part of a stretch of four ranches also conserved by the Rangeland Trust, protection of the Flentge Ranch is significant because it ensures more than 50,000 acres of wildlife corridor will remain undeveloped open landscape.
The conservation easement, which was fully funded by the Rangeland Trust, also ensures the family’s legacy will continue and protects a great diversity of habitat including hard and soft chaparral, blue, live and valley oak woodlands, vast grasslands and more than 250 plant species that also call the ranch home. The easement protects habitat for mountain lions, foxes, bobcats, coyotes, rabbits, rodents, birds, and insects. Conserving the Flentge ranch was a high priority for the Rangeland Trust based on the family’s need and the connection of wildlife corridors and natural resources through to surrounding ranches, most of which are protected by conservation easement. A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a private landowner and the Trust to preserve agricultural land and open space in perpetuity.
The ranch was purchased by Henry Flentge in 1889 and has been managed by his direct descendants, the Hamann family, since that time. At one point, the family faced a threat of selling a portion of the land that has been in their family for generations.
“As the ranch dwindled in size from over 4,000 acres down to about 3,000 when original family members died and portions had to be sold for taxes, we were afraid the day would come when it could all be gone, leaving only memories,” said Duane Hamann, the family patriarch. “This constant foreboding has now come to rest, thanks to the California Rangeland Trust removing the fear forever and securing the remaining ranch for generations to come.”
The plentiful springs on the ranch benefit the wildlife on Flentge ranch as well as neighboring ranches, even during drought years. Water is currently shared with two neighboring ranches, demonstrating the significance of conserving this broad stretch of connected land and its resources.
“This is a prime example of what happens when blocks of rangeland are conserved. Water flows as it should, animals have an open habitat to live in and trees and plants can flourish in open landscapes, “ said Nita Vail, CEO of California Rangeland Trust. “These broad conservation efforts benefit the entire community because of the quality of life, natural resources and beauty they bring to everyone.”
“Maintaining and caring for the ranch is considered an honor by all the family,” Duane Hamann said. “We take our stewardship of the land seriously and are deeply grateful for the partnership with the Rangeland Trust which has made its continuation possible.”
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.