Land Trust of Napa County announced the acquisition of 1,278 acres of undeveloped land at the north end of Pope Valley that will become the non-profit’s newest preserve.
“This property has significant natural values and is in a very strategic location that will enhance and connect other protected lands,” Doug Parker, CEO of the Land Trust, said in a news release.
The sellers are the five children of Pat and Wood Grinsell and their spouses who said they were pleased that the property “will be protected for generations to come under the watch of the Land Trust of Napa County.”
The landowners have owned the Grinsell Ranch for two generations spanning over 70 years.
The Land Trust said it paid $1.28 million for the ranch, with the help of the California Wildlife Conservation Board and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
The property is a key component of a planned wildlife corridor extending from the Marin coast across Sonoma and Napa to Berryessa, the Land Trust said.
Conservationists want to connect over 5,000 acres of existing protected lands from Robert Louis Stevenson State Park and Mount St. Helena to Berryessa to ensure that wildlife can move freely into the future, Parker said.
The property is east of Butts Canyon Road and south of Snell Valley Road. It abuts Bureau of Land Management land and the Napa Open Space District’s Spanish Valley property, along with the Land Trust’s Snell Valley Wildflower Preserve.
“The preserve protects the serpentine soils consisting of numerous rare plants and also eliminates the threat of development and fragmentation protecting a key linkage in the North Bay for wildlife movement,” said John Donnelly, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Board.
Napa botanist Jake Ruygt completed a botanical assessment of the property and found 17 special status species. This ranks the property at the highest levels for priority biodiversity in the region.
The property, which partially burned in wildfires in 2014 and this year, includes excellent examples of several natural community types, including Sargent Cypress Forest and Serpentine Riparian Scrub as well as other serpentine habitats. Serpentine soils support, by far, the largest number of rare plant species of any soil type statewide.
Rare species on the property include Green Jewelflower, a rare species that occurs only in northern Napa and southern Lake counties. The botanist’s report also says that this property “appears to be a particular stronghold for Two-carpellate Dwarf Flax,” a species whose entire range is found within only four counties in California. This property’s extensive population may already be a key refugium for this species.
“The Land Trust plans to work toward restoring native plant communities and protecting the property’s several rare plant species through an integrated invasive species management strategy,” said Mike Palladini, stewardship program manager for the Land Trust.
Where appropriate, the Land Trust will also consider the reestablishment of native plant communities by collecting, propagating and planting of native species in previously invaded areas, something the Land Trust has successfully undertaken on other properties.
For more information, visit the Land Trust of Napa County website at napalandtrust.org or contact the Land Trust of Napa County at 707-252-3270.