RCLC President’s Message
Tina Batt, RCLC President
How does a small volunteer group find the will to raise a big sum to preserve cherished land?
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy’s recent Mill Bend success story reminded me of an earlier experience and the lessons I learned about the power of community.
I recently had the opportunity to speak about my vision for the future of conservation with Doug McConnell who was filming a webinar for my former land trust, the John Muir Land Trust.
As one of the founders, I had the honor of working with a small and determined community under tremendous pressure to accept high end housing development on land that once belonged to John Muir.
The community was very clear about wanting to have some say in the conservation of their natural resources-both land and water. So, we formed the land trust. Congressman George Miller sponsored the federal legislation to fund the acquisition of the 325-acre Mount Wanda property across Highway 4 from the John Muir Historic Site, and we raised $75,000 from the community, an amount that felt insurmountable at first.
The land was finally preserved. Mount Wanda is now a popular hiking destination in the East Bay for visitors from all over the world.
Ultimately, it was the involvement of all those people that counted the most. I learned the power of community determination and commitment to conservation of local landscapes and natural habitats.
I’ve had the honor to experience the same thing here on the north coast. Kathleen Chasey led the charge and submitted the state and federal grant requests to fund the Mill Bend acquisition.
The Allemall Foundation stepped in as the interim conservation buyer, and the community finalized the deal by contributing over $600,000 towards the management of the property in perpetuity.
This was a requirement of the granting agencies. They wanted to see that the Mendonoma community had the willingness and ability to support the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy’s vision of creating a new park at the mouth of the Gualala River, restoring the estuary habitat and providing conservation-friendly public access for everyone.
A park is forever and our community knows that. Your support and investment have made it possible for the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy to fulfill our collective vision of, ““Protecting the Land, Restoring the River, Sustaining Our Community.” Thank you!