RCLC President’s Message
John Walton, RCLC Vice-President
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy has enjoyed strong community support since it was founded nearly thirty years ago in 1992. This support has been critical to the success of our mission to, “preserve the natural coastal landscapes and wildlife habitats of southern Mendocino and northern Sonoma counties for the benefit of our community and future generations.” Thanks to ongoing member and volunteer support, RCLC has continued to protect and steward more lands along the much-loved Mendonoma coast for the benefit of the community and a growing number of visitors. All land trust properties come with obligations to restore and protect its properties in perpetuity. Thus far, these responsibilities have been met through generous financial donations but also, to a large degree, by the amazing volunteerism that has helped RCLC maintain the health and beauty of these community holdings.
As RCLC properties receive more visitors and Mill Bend Preserve’s restoration and development efforts ramp up, we find ourselves in need of additional resources to protect and manage these sensitive areas. Currently, RCLC has one part-time paid staff and ten board members who contribute hundreds of hours each month to the organization’s work. RCLC continually looks for increased efficiencies within its operations, but as an already lean and productive organization, it is proving a challenge to meet growing responsibilities without over-taxing our hard-working volunteers and generous donors.
With an eye toward sustainability, RCLC recently began collaborative conversations with another non-profit land trust to the north–Mendocino Land Trust (MLT). MLT was founded in 1976 and has facilitated around 20,000 acres of land conservation in Mendocino County. Some readers may be familiar with their closest holding, the dramatic Pelican Bluffs Preserve and Coastal Trail. RCLC and MLT have partnered in the past and MLT was instrumental in the acquisition of Mill Bend, helping RCLC gain access to the eventual funders through their contacts and credibility, with their paid staff contributing their time.
Since the Mill Bend purchase in 2021, the collaboration between RCLC and MLT has grown, thanks in part to a recent grant from the Community Foundation of Mendocino. The Foundation awarded RCLC a grant of $7,500 to facilitate resource-sharing between the two land trusts – a proposal the Foundation enthusiastically supported. MLT has a paid staff of seven with expertise in project planning, land acquisition, fundraising, and database management. The grant allows RCLC access to the skilled MLT paid staff, which is enabling us to accomplish more work with increased efficiency. These resources are essential to long-term fulfillment of land trust obligations.
Land conservation is of growing importance now in the age of climate threats to coastal communities, rivers, forests, plants, animals, and people. RCLC will continue to fulfill its role locally and believes that forming strong local alliances, such as the one we are building with MLT, is essential to conservation success in the decades to come. We are so grateful for your support and will do our best to continue to earn it.