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Burnt Ranch, California

31 Acres | June 15, 2005
Crow and Linda Munk, donors
Conservation Easement

Ask Crow and Linda Munk to whom the woods covering their land belong, and there is no hesitation—they are there for wildlife, now and forever. In June 2005 the Munks protected 31 acres of their land near Burnt Ranch, California, by donating a conservation easement to the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust. This property will now be a permanent safe haven for the animals who live there.  Recreational and commercial hunting and trapping are prohibited, as they are on all properties covered by HSWLT conservation easements.

While this wild land and the pristine river running through it are a developer’s dream, an understanding of its true worth led them to seek permanent protection of the land as wildlife habitat. The Munks’ concern for the wilderness and their “footprint” on it evolved some 30 years ago when they decided to live as simply as possible. They began with a three-month hike through Marble Mountain wilderness— with six kids in tow—and today live in their self-sustaining home surrounded by butterfly gardens and meadows on the permanent sanctuary they protected with WLT.

The Munk Wildlife Sanctuary is deeply forested with Douglas fir, gray pine, Oregon ash, tan oak and mandren. The lush abundance of the forest provides food and shelter for a wide variety of wildlife, including mountain lion, bobcat and fox. Steelhead and salmon inhabit the New River, which runs through the property and provides a year-round water source.

The property is a birder’s paradise, home to such species as pileated woodpecker, spotted owl, peregrine falcon and Cooper’s hawk, to name just a few.

The Munks began considering permanent protection of their land when they were in the process of estate planning. They researched their options at the Land Trust Alliance and determined that the Wildlife Land Trust’s wildlife-focused values and mission were closest to their own beliefs. Donating the conservation easement was a way for them to preserve an oasis of beauty for their family and a permanent sanctuary for the wild animals they love. Now, at least for these protected acres, the future will still be clean, clear, and wild, like the river running through them.

Although this sanctuary remains privately owned, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has an obligation to perform periodic inspections to ensure that the wildlife habitat remains in good condition and that the terms of the conservation easements are being met.  These inspections, and the handling of any destruction or violations, cost heavily in professional staff time, consultants, and travel expenses. In addition HSWLT needs a reserve of funds for the substantial legal fees needed if enforcement of violations involves court action.

HSWLT has promised to protect this property as sanctuary forever -- and that promise will be kept.  If you can help with the cost of stewardship for this and the other properties HSWLT protects, please donate here.

Bobcat Close-up

America's "little leopard" tends to shun developed areas, but does make occasional forays into yards.

 

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