Low-key sales to be allowed on Ranch

ktanner@thetribunenews.comMay 16, 2013 

Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch expects to soon extend its ability to interact with visitors and area residents, thanks to a contract recently approved unanimously by the Friends board on May 9 and the Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors on April 25.

The contract allows Friends volunteers to man temporary tables near the north and/or south bluff-trail entrances, to answer questions, provide informational materials about the ranch and even sell low-key, ranch-related merchandise, such as T-shirts or baseball caps with ranch or FFRP logos. Funds from those sales are to be restricted to ranch-maintenance costs.

The volunteers would wear attire and/or badges that would identify them as being from the Friends group.

Friends also will be allowed to install slotted metal tubes into which people can deposit donations to the nonprofit group which maintains the ranch, is committed to its ongoing restoration and protection, and holds a conservation easement over it.

The services district owns the approximately 430-acre former ranch property with more than a mile each of ocean front and creek riparian habitat, extensive areas of native Monterey pine forest, many protected species and miles of designated hiking trails.

But don’t expect to see those tubes, volunteers or tables immediately.

The tubes must be ordered and installed, according to Friends Executive Director Jo Ellen Butler. In the meantime, the group is seeking volunteers to help man the tables, which likely won’t be set up until summer, and then perhaps only on weekends, at least at first. Expansion or continuation of the program beyond that would depend on how successful it is and how well it’s received, she said.

According to Friends Chairwoman Alese Bell, the volunteers will never make the first move. Instead, visitors to the preserve will have to approach the volunteers to interact with them.

“We’ll just be sitting there, and if they’re interested,” the visitors can ask questions. “We don’t want to be a nuisance to the people who live here” or the visitors or anybody, for that matter. “We just want to be available” to provide “an expanded idea of the history of the ranch, what it took to save it and how it benefits the community of Cambria” and so many others.

For details or to volunteer, contact the Friends office at www.ffrpcambria.org, email ffrpcambria@sbcglobal.net or call 927-2856 and leave a message.

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