Conservancy announces completion 72,000-acre preserve centered in the Tehachapi mountains. Article published in the Tehachapi News written by: John Cox on 12/28/2021
The Nature Conservancy announced the completion Tuesday of a 72,000-acre wildlife corridor allowing threatened species to roam freely between the southern Sierra Nevada and Castaic, including access to the Tehachapi Mountains, the Mojave Desert and the Transverse Mountains near Tejon Ranch. Statement by Tyler Schiffmann
A 13-year effort to piece together a wildlife corridor connecting the southern Sierra Nevada with a conservation easement at Tejon Ranch concluded with the acquistion of a final property in one of the largest private nature preserves in California. It wil be named the Frank and Joan Randall Preserve, named for Orange County philanthropists. It combines nine Kern County ranches, some of which will continue to operate with the promise that their land will never be developed.
It is rich in geographical and ecological diversity, the patchwork of lands ranges in elevation from 800 to nearly 8,000 feeet, going from hilly savanna to pine forest. It is intended to give threatened species such as mountain lions and California condors freedom to roam in the face of climate change, fragmentation and encroaching development.
Existing land uses within the new preserve will remain largely unchanged, including some but not all of the ranches whose owners sold to the conservancy or signed perpetual conservation agreements. THE FAMOUS TEHACHAPI LOOP RAILROAD DEVELOPMENT, WHICH IS SURROUNDED BY THE ASSEMBLAGE, WILL NOT BE AFFECTED BY IT. The final deal was the purchase of the 28,000-acred Loop Ranch. The property includes about 10 miles of frontage along Highway 58.
One of its goals is to introduce new wildlife crossings along Highway 58 in the Tehachapi area. They will work with Caltrans to study and later implement a series of underpasses or overpasses so bobcats, deer and other animals can safely traverse the thoroughfare.
Principe said ranchers with whom they negotiated the sale transactions decided the time had come to leave the business, in most cases because their children did not wish to continue ranching. Ranchers agreed not to develop the land, for a price, but may continue to raise livestock on their property indefinitely.
The saying is: ONCE IT'S GONE, IT'S GONE.