Land Trust Anniversaries

45th Anniversary

In 2021, Land Trust of Napa County celebrated its 45th Anniversary.

To honor all of the landowners, donors and volunteers who have helped the Land Trust protect 86,000 acres across Napa, we want to share pictures of recent highlights over the last few years.

We’d also like to extend a warm thanks to all of our supporters over the years, especially those who’ve continued their generosity during the pandemic.

The largest project

In 2017, Land Trust of Napa County completed protection of over 7,000 acres around Mount St. Helena, the largest conservation project ever completed in the Land Trust’s 45-year history. The 7,260-acre conservation easement added to Robert Louis Stevenson State Park and other protected lands to create 22,000 acres of contiguous protected land.

Prescribed burns

Over the last few years, the Land Trust has completed several controlled burns in partnership with CAL FIRE. These projects reduce fuel loads and invasive species, while facilitating the recovery of native wildflowers. After the controlled burn and the spring rains, the native wildflowers can begin to compete against the invasive grasses that were burned away.

Pacific Union College forest protection

In late 2018, Pacific Union College worked with Land Trust of Napa County and CAL FIRE to establish a conservation easement on 864 acres of heavily forested land. The PUC Forest supports significant wildlife habitats and rare plants, provides a major wildlife corridor between other conserved areas and protects the upper reaches of Moore Creek, a key source of water for Lake Hennessey, the main water supply for the City of Napa.

Grazing on Wantrup Preserve

Like properties across Napa, the preserve’s 730 acres of oak woodlands can experience a heavy buildup of invasive weed thatch, which can overwhelm native plants and create fine fuel loads for wildfires. Since 2017, the Land Trust has used goats and sheep to strategically graze the area.  The approach was tested in the LNU fire, when the fire advanced from a neighboring property, but when it hit the grazed area on Land Trust land, it died down and was easily extinguished.

Wragg Ridge Preserve

In 2018, Land Trust of Napa County acquired its second largest preserve, Wragg Ridge. The 1,910-acre preserve near Lake Berryessa contains extensive oak woodlands and wetlands that provide habitat for rare species, including the federally listed California Red-legged Frog.

Redwood research

A team of researchers from Humboldt State University studied an isolated grove of redwoods on Land Trust preserve land in 2016. These redwoods are the most interior old growth redwoods in the species’ range.  The team began an ongoing research project to learn about the success of this stand at this site, which is relatively hot and dry for redwoods. As part of this research, the oldest tree was found to be 800 years old, probably the oldest living organism in Napa County.

Wildlife research

Since 2017, the Land Trust has been using an array of motion-activated cameras deployed across nearly 5,000 acres to gain a better understanding of wildlife and their movements. With three years of data catalogued and analyzed, the Wildlife Picture Index Project has yielded some exciting results. “In addition to showing healthy levels of overall mammal diversity, this initial data indicates that we have the highest numbers of black bear in the Bay Area,” said Land Trust Stewardship program manager Mike Palladini.

Berryessa Ranches

Over the last five years, the Land Trust worked with ranchers to complete six separate conservation easements next to Lake Berryessa. In total, the easements protected over 12,800 contiguous acres, including most of the land rising above the lake along the entire length of its ten-mile-long eastern shore. These easements ensure the future of open space and sustainable ranching in the area.

Sattui’s donation 

Dario Sattui donated an easement to the Land Trust over this property in the hills above the City of Napa. The easement eliminated the potential for houses and a winery, protecting scenic views, agriculture and natural values. The easement protects oak woodlands and Kreuse Creek on a property adjacent to Skyline Wilderness Park. 

40th Anniversary

In 2016, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Land Trust. Supporters and volunteers gathered at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, who hosted and donated wine for the occasion – thank you again to Bill Phelps and family. It was a wonderful evening at their renovated winery, on their beautiful 480-acre property permanently protected by a Land Trust easement.
We were fortunate to have two founding members of the Land Trust in attendance – Harold Kelly and Duane Cronk –  along with a number of others who have done so much for conservation and the Land Trust over the years.

Over 160 donors, volunteers, community members and advocates from throughout our history attended the party.

We announced that as of June 2016, the Land Trust had completed 211 conservation transactions with landowners across the county, protecting over 57,000 acres. We couldn’t have done any of this without the support of a large number of volunteers – who have served on our board and committees, monitored easements, pulled invasive species, and more – and without the landowners, members and supporters whose contributions have been central to every conservation success. Thank you all for everything that you have done and are doing for conservation!

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