Mill Bend campaign crosses the finish line
“I hear a champagne cork popping” quipped one board member after the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy’s treasurer, Bob Rutemoeller, announced to the RCLC board that the $2.7 million goal had been reached.
With an outstanding response from the local community, RCLC now has the funds needed to preserve the magnificent Mill Bend site at the mouth of the Gualala River as a permanent, protected park.
RCLC launched the final $600,000 phase of its Campaign to Preserve Mill Bend in June after securing $2.1 million in government grants. “The community response has been amazing”, says Tina Batt, president of the local land trust. “More than 500 people have stepped up to make sure this beautiful piece of land is preserved as a park forever”.
RCLC hopes to close escrow on the property before the end of 2020 and has already started planning for the long-term preservation and restoration of the historic Mill Bend site.
The acquisition and stewardship of this property is a major undertaking for RCLC, an all-volunteer organization. As RCLC begins its work on the restoration of Mill Bend and the creation of trails and public access improvements, Tina notes that “we have recognized that we will need to hire professional staff to oversee and coordinate the next phase of planning for the Mill Bend project”. RCLC is currently seeking a part-time Mill Bend Project Manager and has posted the position on its website.
The 113-acre Mill Bend site, located south of Gualala on both sides of the Highway One Bridge, extends along the Gualala River estuary at the mouth of the Gualala River. It is the gateway to the Gualala River watershed and the first step in long-term plans for a community-desired Gualala River Park.
Founded in 1992, Redwood Coast Land Conservancy is a local land trust based in Gualala and supported primarily by local volunteers and by donors near and far.
In partnership with the California State Coastal Conservancy and other agencies, RCLC has set aside and protected multiple scenic public access areas along the southern Mendocino Coast, including the Gualala Bluff Trail, Cooks Beach and Hearn Gulch Preserve. RCLC also holds local conservation easements for habitat protection and enhancement.
RCLC recently presented an online community forum entitled “Mill Bend, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” to bring community residents up to date on next steps for Mill Bend and to gather input on community preferences. To view a recording of the presentation, go here.
A heartfelt thank you to all for your inspiration and contributions! In the midst of a pandemic, fires and other upheavals, it’s good to know a dedicated group of people can still save a piece of our treasured coast.
Contributions for the Mill Bend conservation project can be made to the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy on its website www.rclc.org/give/donate/ or by sending a check to P.O. Box 1511, Gualala, CA 95445.