The Cambrian

Longtime Fiscalini Ranch Preserve director plans to retire, nonprofit seeks new leader

Watch surfers catch waves at Moonstone Beach in Cambria

Surfers enjoy the waves at Moonstone Beach on a gray day in Cambria, California.
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Surfers enjoy the waves at Moonstone Beach on a gray day in Cambria, California.

After two decades with Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve (FFRP), executive director Jo Ellen Butler has announced her intention to resign as soon as the nonprofit group can find a new leader.

FFRP holds and upholds the conservation easement on the 430-acre oceanfront property of marine terrace, hilly forested areas and trails. The former ranchland belongs to the people of California, although the deed reads the Cambria Community Services District.

Butler said in a recent email interview that she hopes her replacement will be someone “who loves the environment, this community and the people here. This new person will be charged with carrying out our five-year strategic plan that is focused on preservation, public access and education, partnerships in community and building organizational capacity.”

She said the Friends group hopes to find a full-time director, but “if there is a stellar candidate who can only work part-time, our board will consider that.”

For the past 15 years, Butler’s official work schedule was approximately 20 hours a week.

Her commitment to the property extends further back in time than to the establishment of FFRP, however. Butler was a founding and active member of the group that sought and raised grants, donations and other funding to buy for $11.1 million in 2000 the oceanfront ranchland for the community, not for development.

Before that, she also helped bring the ranch-buying opportunity and risks to public attention by deliberately trespassing and being arrested for being on the property on which people had been hiking illegally for decades.

Butler said she hopes people “share this job opportunity with anyone they know who might be a good fit.” Find details at and inquire at or by calling the FFRP office at 805-927-2856.

What’s next for the about-to-be retiree? She said she’ll be “on the preserve working as a volunteer! I love the ranch and plan to be on the property almost every single day, either working it or just walking its beautiful trails.”

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