Conversations between the Fred and Pat Frank and The Land Conservancy began over a decade ago. After continued family discussions, strategy sessions, and financial planning, the Frank family was finally prepared to act. Fred and Pat Frank are committed to a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, energy independence, and environmental and economic sustainability.

Hidden Springs is made up of 55 acres of mixed agricultural and natural areas. The site is home to an operating, family-owned tree farm with a 50+ year history. The landowners wanted to focus on economic sustainability and energy sustainability/self-sufficiency over the long term.

Site includes one mile of Graves Creek, a tributary to Salinas River; diverse oak woodlands; a sustainable Christmas tree farm and small organic garden; a cultural institution that serves as the local vendor of Christmas trees; and the last agriculturally zoned property within the limits of the City of Atascadero.

The Land Conservancy’s goals were to keep a family farm that has been worked for multiple generations economically viable by reducing land value and taxes while simultaneously achieving our mission to permanently protect their land from future development or degradation.

Within the 55 acres protected by the conservation agreement, there were 18 legal lots where each lot had the potential to be developed as a home site. Encroachment of development along neighboring properties was a significant threat to the landowners (a farm surrounded by a city).

The Land Conservancy helped a local farming family preserve their land, keeping it intact and in the hands of the next generation without burdening them with major taxes. The Land Conservancy will continue to monitor the site per a voluntary agreement with the property owner. The Franks will continue to use the land for their tree farm operation and small organic garden. Fred Frank’s granddaughter is now involved in raising crops and livestock, marking the fourth generation to work the land. The Franks are also considering expanding their sustainable energy-production options such as solar and wind-generators.

The entire Frank family believes in the permanent protection of the land that had supported their ancestors and would continue to provide for future generations. To learn more about Hidden Springs Tree Farm, click here.

Project Partner

  • City of Atascadero