Cambrian: Opinion

Enjoy our new stone bench at the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

A new stone bench has been added at the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve in Cambria, California.
A new stone bench has been added at the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve in Cambria, California. Courtesy

There is a new bench on the Fiscalini Ranch preserve. Located along the Marine Terrace trail, it is toward the north end and takes the place of a small wooden bench donated years ago to give walkers a place to rest and reflect on the nearly mile-long trail.

Shana McCormick designed the bench as an in kind donation to the Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Stone artisans Gustavo Galvan, Enrique Padilla, Rodrigo Mondragon and Rogelio Mondragon carried out her design, crafting a great addition to the unique benches populating the ranch.

The site, overlooking the grasslands and ocean, offers a place for individual or small group contemplation of the natural beauty we are so fortunate to have surrounding us on the preserve. Rooted in the earth, it reminds us of other rock outcroppings that take us back to prehistoric times – a time before farming, dairy and cattle ranching and the need for public open space, a time when game was plentiful and acorns were ground in the bedrock mortars nearby.

This is the first time stone has been used to create a bench on the ranch; up until now, they have all been handcrafted from wood. The stone bench falls within the natural materials guidelines in the management plan for the ranch and will last longer than the wooden ones have lasted.

If you haven’t seen our new bench yet, we hope you have a chance to experience it soon. It’s a great place to rest, relax and enjoy the sunset – maybe a green flash will reward your patience!

Benches are placed on the ranch in recognition of a donation to FFRP’s Management and Operations Endowment. When the East West Ranch, now Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, was purchased as public open space, no funds were allotted for either management or upholding the conservation easement and natural resource protection on the property. FFRP created the Bench Donor Recognition Program to raise the funds needed for these important aspects of caring for the Ranch and public use in the future.

A portion of each donation will go into a bench fund for monitoring and maintaining the bench and its dedication plaque in perpetuity. The remainder will be placed into endowment funds to be used solely for the benefit of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve as open space for the public, now and in the future.

Maps of the ranch, including bench locations, are at entrances and at our office, 604D Main St., Cambria. For bench inquiries, email

Save the Date

Sunday, July 1

1:30 – 3 p.m.

“Beyond the Pretty flowering Plants at the Ranch” Docent Walk

Join naturalist, Al Normandin, as he talks about Lichens, mosses, ferns and other interesting, often overlooked plants on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Reservations required:

Saturday, July 28

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Great Kitchens of Cambria 18th Annual Kitchen Tour

Experience the spirit of Cambria as you visit six unique and wonderful kitchens, each full of inspiring ideas you can apply to your own home, now or in the future. Enjoy an epic progressive feast of small plates, and beverages at each home. Tickets, $40 per person, go on sale June 16. For more information, go to

Jo Ellen Butler is executive director of Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Ranch Update appears quarterly and is special to The Cambrian.