OAKHURST — Sierra Foothill Conservancy (SFC) is thrilled to announce its latest acquisition – the 1,729-acre Wright Ranch conservation easement! Located in western Madera County along the Fresno River, the Wright Ranch’s immense conservation values includes working rangeland, annual grassland, oak woodland, chaparral, mixed conifer forest, cultural and historic resources, wildlife and habitat resources, open space, and scenic views – all of which are now protected in perpetuity. With the addition of this project, SFC’s total lands conserved has reached 52,495 acres.
SFC purchased the Wright Ranch conservation easement from partnering landowner, Mr. Michael Wright, utilizing competitive grant funding through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Department of Conservation.
The Wright Family has owned the 1,729-acre ranch for nearly 100 years, spanning three generations. The property is rich in cultural resources and has a fascinating history in mining and lumber operations. The property encompasses local geographic landmarks such as Potter Ridge, French Gulch, the western and northwestern edges of Buckeye Mountain, and over one mile of the Fresno River.
The property’s topography and habitat vary greatly, featuring a combination of mixed conifer forest, blue oak woodland and savannah, annual grasslands, chaparral, and a vibrant riparian corridor. The property provides a home to many species of wildlife, such as black bear, migratory deer herds, bobcat, mountain lion, coyote, and rabbit.
There are even remnants on the property of the historic town of Grub Gulch, a community built by miners during the Gold Rush, along with remains of the Sugar Pine Lumber Mill flume down near the Fresno River. The Wright Ranch conservation easement is strategically located in SFC’s Fresno River Corridor Focus Area, helping to protect and connect private and public lands to create a corridor of conserved lands for the regional benefit of agriculture, habitat, wildlife, water resources, carbon storage, and climate adaptation. This project, in particular, serves as a critical first step in catalyzing conservation directly along the Fresno River.
There is also the potential habitat for many other special status wildlife and native plant species including slender-stalked monkeyflower, orange lupine, Small’s southern clarkia, Mariposa pussypaws, Madera leptosiphon, and Rawson’s flaming trumpet. Additionally, the property secures permanent scenic value for the nearby Goldside Estates housing development as well as travelers along Highway 49 and Road 600.
Mr. Wright decided to pursue a perpetual conservation easement on the property because he desired to see the ranch’s grazing use, open space, wildlife, and other conservation values protected for future generations. By partnering with SFC, Mr. Wright has insured that these conservation values are protected in perpetuity. SFC and our members celebrate this commitment to conservation!
The Following Pictures are Courtesy of SFC Staff
About Sierra Foothill Conservancy
SFC’s Vision: From the snow-capped Sierra to the Central Valley floor, expansive landscapes, important habitats, and clean water resources are conserved and managed to ensure continuing public benefits. SFC supports a thriving land-based economy while promoting a conservation ethic that spans generations. Sierra Foothill Conservancy serves eastern Fresno, Madera, Merced and Mariposa Counties in California’s central Sierra Nevada. To learn more about SFC’s work and how to get involved, including how to become a member or conserve your land, visit https://sierrafoothill.org.
Sierra Foothill Conservancy Mission
The grasslands, foothills, and forests between Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks provide land for farms and ranches, a home for native plants and wildlife, and a source of clean water.
The Sierra Foothill Conservancy honors our natural and cultural heritage by protecting these resources and ensuring that present and future generations will continue to experience and enjoy the land in this region.