Looking Back: How the Preserve Evolved

A mild climate and abundant marine and terrestrial resources of coastal Cambria have endowed it with an almost ideal environment for ongoing human habitation for more than 9000 years. Both the present-day Salinan and Northern Chumash Tribes have ancestors that thrived in this area. 

During the Spanish Mission era, European agricultural and mining activities were introduced, resulting in large population re-location and cultural disruption. The land later became part of Rancho Santa Rosa, a Mexican land grant. The Rancho was eventually subdivided into several properties, one of which became the Fiscalini Town Ranch. The Fiscalini family owned the property for nearly a century, raising first dairy stock and then beef cattle. It was sold in 1979 and went through a series of development plans. In 2000, the Ranch was preserved in perpetuity through a unique coalition of public and private funding for its purchase. Today, the Cambria Community Services District (property owner) and the Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve (holder of permanent conservation easement) work together to care for this public open space. 

Beginning in 2000, FFRP has worked continuously to maintain and enhance the Ranch. FFRP volunteers, often in collaboration with Cambria Community Services District staff, have transformed the Ranch from degraded rangeland to the treasure we enjoy today. Acres of weeds on the bluffs and marine terrace are now thriving native coastal sage scrub, providing homes for rare natives including the compact cobweb thistle and the monarch butterfly. Volunteers have improved and maintained more than eight miles of trails, expanded the Monterey pine forest by planting hundreds of trees, and built benches, among many other ongoing tasks and programs. From its pine and oak forest, to its marine terrace and coastal bluffs, the Ranch is a vast outdoor classroom in which all visitors, young and old, can enjoy the wonders of nature.