Photo: RCLC volunteer Marcia Nybakken stands by closed access gate to the Mill Bend property in Gualala. Photo courtesy of RCLC
To improve security at the Mill Bend boat launch site, the gate to the access site will now be closed to vehicle traffic sunset to sunrise, according to Redwood Coast Land Conservancy which owns the property.
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy is now partnering with Sonoma County Parks staff who will lock the gate each night. Pedestrians and boaters will be able to enter the area and haul in kayaks or canoes.
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy, Mendonoma’s local land trust, is managing the 113-acre Mill Bend property with the goal of providing both responsible stewardship as well as public access to the site.
A mountain lion was sighted on Mill Bend the week of July 25, 2021. Hikers and visitors are advised to be alert when visiting areas where a big cat has been spotted. Do not run if you see one. Keep young children and pets close.
These large predators are a normal part of the ecosystem and have a wide range of territory so it may have moved on by now. Please report any sightings to Redwood Coast Land Conservancy by calling (707) 884-4426 or emailing email@example.com
Photo above by Mendocino Land Trust, Board members from MLT and RCLC meet to tour Mill Bend
Press Release: July 19, 2021 For more information, please contact Amy Wolitzer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is good news for the future of conservation along the Mendocino Coast. Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, the Mendocino Land Trust and the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy will be teaming up to maximize use of their staffing to achieve conservation goals. The two organizations have received a nonprofit operations relief grant to help make up for time and staffing lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy (RCLC) was founded in 1992 to preserve and restore coastal properties from the Russian River in northern Sonoma County to the Navarro River in southern Mendocino County. Until recently, it was almost exclusively a volunteer-run organization. The Mendocino Land Trust was founded in 1976. Based out of Fort Bragg, it has been instrumental in the conservation of more than 20,000 acres throughout Mendocino County and is well-known as a nonprofit leader in establishing and maintaining public access trails.
MLT currently has six staff members, including a conservation manager with a demonstrated talent for writing successful grant proposals to fund environmental restoration and public access projects.
Partnering with other conservation organizations has been a win-win for MLT in the past. “RCLC is working on the most exciting conservation and public access project on the coast,” says MLT executive director Conrad Kramer, referring to RCLC’s acquisition of the Mill Bend property and its plans to restore and improve it for public access. “It will be a win for the environment, a win for outdoor recreation, and a win for the local economy. We are happy to help them with it. Triple wins are what land trusts do.”
The staff-sharing arrangement will serve both organizations as they work to coordinate land acquisition and management activities in the region. This partnership will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of both organizations, as well as support joint organizational capacity building with a cost-effective solution.
Future collaborative conservation projects include preparing a Conceptual Area Protection Plan for the Gualala River Watershed. This plan will assess the extent of endangered and listed species of concern. Completion of the plan will qualify both the RCLC and MLT for state funding to acquire priority properties in the study area, as they become available.
“RCLC is thrilled with the opportunity to collaborate with MLT and we’re grateful for the generous contribution by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County that made it possible. Working together we will greatly expand our abilities to preserve our natural coastal landscapes and wildlife habitats for the benefit of our community and future generations,” said Christina Batt, RCLC Board President. Visit www.rclc.org/mill-bend-conservation to learn more about RCLC’s Mill Bend conservation project.
Photos: Hi-resolution files available upon request – email email@example.com
By Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT, March 29, 2021
(Excerpt reprint courtesy of The Press Democrat)
Standing above the Gualala River, his gaze toward the opposite bank and a sharp hairpin turn in the river known as Mill Bend, Dave Shpak recounted more than a century of environmental abuses there as somberly if they were still taking place. In a way, they are.
Though the last of three industrial-scale lumber mills — two right at the edge of the river and a third, up the hill — ceased operations in 1963, the estuary has only just begun recovering from decades of degradation that altered the river bed, diminished the aquatic habitat and denuded the surrounding embankments of native plants to make room for sawing logs.
But Shpak and the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy, for which he started working this past winter, are now in charge of 113 acres of land along 1.5 miles of river just up from its mouth, a property now known as Mill Bend Preserve. They’re currently in the throes of long-term planning that puts the health of the landscape and the life it supports above all else.
Published by the Independent Coast Observer, February 4, 2021
Photo by Gail Jackson
The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy (RCLC) announced the close of escrow on the Mill Bend properties last Friday, January 29, completing the purchase of the 113-acre site at the mouth of the Gualala River.
RCLC, the local land trust based in Gualala, will now take ownership of Mill Bend and determine how best to preserve and restore the scenic and environmentally sensitive river property while providing public access to the community. “Completing this purchase is a huge milestone for us,” said RCLC President Christina Batt, “and is the result of an amazing three-year community effort to acquire Mill Bend to make sure it will be protected forever.”
“RCLC is so grateful for all the hard work that went into completing the Mill Bend acquisition,” she added. “Kathleen (and Lloyd) Chasey let the effort from the very start with the support of Cindy Kennedy and Friends of Gualala River. Their collective leadership made this critical conservation project a reality.”
Batt also thanked the Allemall Foundation, state and federal grant funders, “the many local residents who contributed funds and volunteered their time, and the many organizations who partnered with us to make this purchase happen.”
RCLC purchased the land from the Allemall Foundation, the interim conservation buyer who stepped forward to hold the property when it was put on the market in 2017 by Gualala Redwoods, Inc. so RCLC could line up funds to make the purchase.
As reported in the Jan. 8 issue of the ICO, Dave Shpak has been hired by RCLC as the Mill Bend Project Manager. He will be working with planning consultants, the Mill Bend Technical Advisory Committee and other volunteers to develop a series of plans ranging from the location of trails and parking to the restoration of the river’s salmonid population.
Sometime in the late spring, RCLC plans to present another in the series of public forums the organization has periodically held, Batt said, to provide updates and to gather ongoing community input. The results of a survey taken on the interests and preferences of the local community in September are available on the RCLC website, www.rclc.org.
Although state and federal grants provide funding for major Mill Bend projects, RCLC relies on local contributions to support its ongoing stewardship of Mill Bend, Cooks Beach, the Gualala Bluff Trail, Hearn Gulch Preserve and other projects. RCLC is in the midst of its annual campaign to raise funds to support that work. More than $65,000 has been raised toward the 2021 goal of $85,000, but $20,000 is still needed to support RCLC’s work in the coming year. Contributions can be sent to RCLC at P.O. Box 1511, Gualala, CA. 95445 or made online at www.rclc.org.
Founded in 1992, RCLC is a local, volunteer-run land trust based in Gualala, California. In partnership with the California State Coastal Conservancy and other funders, RCLC has set aside and protected multiple scenic areas along the southern Mendocino Coast for public access and habitat protection. RCLC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which acquires land or conservation easements in order to preserve, protect, and restore natural areas for recreation, education, and research. Funding comes from public and private grants, donations from the public, and nonprofit and business partners.
Visit www.rclc.org to learn more or to make a donation. Redwood Coast Land Conservancy can be contacted at P.O. Box 1511, Gualala, CA. 95445.