Land Trust of Napa County is pleased to announce the completion of a 24-acre conservation easement, donated by Dr. John Erskine, the son of prominent Bay Area environmentalist Dorothy Erskine.

The conservation easement protects a forested property of mixed hardwood and conifer trees in the hills northwest of Calistoga. Besides protecting habitat, the easement provides scenic views that can be seen from Highway 128. Dr. Erskine, who recently passed away, worked with the Land Trust to ensure protection of the property and donated it through his estate.

The property shares a boundary with the Land Trust’s 571-acre Live Oaks Ranch conservation easement and adds to an important wildlife corridor that stretches south from the 5,272-acre Robert Louis Stevenson State Park to Live Oaks Ranch.

“Protecting these contiguous corridors of land for wildlife is a priority for conservation,” said Doug Parker, CEO of the Land Trust. “This property adds to a corridor that extends south from Mount St. Helena and the 23,000 contiguous acres protected in that part of the county. Based on our motion-activated camera project, the Wildlife Picture Index, we know this area is significant for wildlife and in fact, has the largest numbers of bears of any place in the Bay Area.”

Dr. Erskine was a prominent vascular surgeon who went to Harvard Medical School and was a professor of surgery at UCSF. His family first came to the Bay Area during the gold rush. He was the son of Dorothy Erskine, a leader in the Bay Area over a period of several decades, in city planning, smart growth and open space initiatives. She was a founder of key organizations working in these areas today, including the Greenbelt Alliance and the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association. Among many projects, she worked with leaders in Napa to help create Napa’s Agricultural Preserve in the late 1960’s. To honor her many efforts, the City of San Francisco named Dorothy Erskine Park in her honor, dedicated in 1979 by Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

John inherited the Napa property from his parents and it was there that he scattered their ashes.  John Erskine had a life-long love of the outdoors and exploring the mountains of the West, beginning from early childhood when, with his parents, he would hike along the Sierra.