Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on Wine Coast Country back in February. With permission, we have republished it here below for you to enjoy.
With over 70 unique activities and attractions in for the Stewardship Traveler people have been asking about the highlights. Every WineCoastCountry location has many wonderful Stewardship Travel opportunities to help you connect better, learn more, and find fun opportunities to make a difference when you visit. Plan your trips around these great experiences.
Number 2: Explore the beautiful historic Fiscalini Ranch Preserve in Cambria
This is one of my favorite hiking spots – where we take all our visitors, where I find peace, and where hundreds of stewardship traveler families come each year to connect with nature. It’s hard to believe it was once slated for development as part of Cambria’s housing “infill.” I have to admit that as I hike the hills and look at the spectacular views, I enjoy playing with the idea of finding the exact spot where “my” house would be sited. Since I could never actually afford to buy a piece of coastal view property, I’m glad the ranch was preserved so that we can all enjoy it.
Cambria is a charming seaside village located on the coast about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Like much of the surrounding area, the first inhabitants were native Chumash and Salinan tribes until the arrival of the Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s. The coastal town of Cambria was settled in the 1800s primarily by European immigrants, and was formally named in 1869. The Swiss-Italian Fiscalini family bought the heavily forested 430-acre property and cleared it for cattle grazing. It continued to be a working cattle ranch until the early 2000s.
In the 1980s and 1990s the ranch was sold to real estate developers with plans to build a substantial residential commercial project. A number of local, regional, state and national conservation organizations joined together with individuals to purchase the land and preserve it as open space. They finally succeeded in November 2000. Yes, it really does take a village to preserve a ranch!
Today, the non-profit organization, Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, holds the conservation easement and works with the local Community Services District to provide trails and access for residents and visitors. It has a scenic wheelchair accessible trail along the coastal bluff, while other trails allow dogs off leash. The removal of the cattle provided more habitat for birds, native plants and other wildlife. It’s a beautiful place, worthy of a visit. Annually on Thanksgiving weekend, volunteer stewards are invited to plant native Monterey pine seedlings to help re-establish the forest. Monthly walking tours offer further information about the cultural and natural history of the area.
For a virtual tour of the Fiscalini Ranch visit: http://www.winecoastcountry.com/tours/cambria-fiscalini