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People come from all over the world to drive along scenic Highway 1, which runs parallel to the California coast, to experience breathtaking views of the land and sea. A stretch of this highway just north of Cambria will forever include the sight of a natural marine terrace backed by towering Monterey Pines. This is Leffingwell Ranch, a 175-acre property that is permanently protected by The Land Conservancy.

In addition to its exceptional scenic views, Leffingwell Ranch features a vibrant native Monterey Pine forest that boasts an exceptional range of young and old pines, as well as associated oaks and healthy understory species. Considered rare, Monterey Pine is native to three very limited areas of Coastal California, one of which is Cambria in San Luis Obispo County. The three remaining wild stands of Monterey Pine are under threat from Pine Pitch Canker, a fungal disease that kills the trees and leads to the infection of others. In some stands, 80–90% of trees are infected.

The Land Conservancy recently established voluntary agreements with a willing landowner to permanently protect the Monterey Pines and other wildlife that currently thrives at Leffingwell Ranch. The property also includes nearly two miles of Leffingwell Creek, which runs through a deep canyon of wild and seemingly ancient habitat. On a recent site visit, our staff observed a pair of raptors high up in the tree canopy teaching their young to fly.

“The chance to play a part in the protection of such an outstanding property is what makes our work so gratifying and rewarding.”- Bob Hill, Former Executive Director

Leffingwell Ranch remains under private ownership, but the landowner has agreed to conserve the natural features of the land by prohibiting unnecessary building developments, the removal of natural vegetation, and the planting non-native plant species. Future generations will appreciate today’s efforts to protect the unique wildlife and stunning scenery of this special place.

Leffingwell Ranch Project Highlights

  • Conserves 175 acres of Monterey Pine forest
  • Safeguards scenic views along Highway 1
  • Protects two miles of Leffingwell Creek
  • Preserves healthy native wildlife habitat
  • Safeguards two miles of Leffingwell Creek
  • Creates a buffer to San Simeon State Park

Project Funding Partners

  • California Coastal Commission
  • Leffingwell Ranch LLC

The spectacular natural sights of the Central Coast are quietly being threatened by development. To protect more local lands that preserve our scenic views, make a donation to our Visionary Vistas Fund.