Cambrian: Opinion

Ranch update: Take the ‘hi’ road on Saturday

Isn’t it extraordinary that such a small town as Cambria has 437 acres of open space and parkland in its midst? Try to imagine San Francisco without Golden Gate Park or New York City without Central Park! Unthinkable, you say? Well, for many it is just as unthinkable to imagine Cambria without the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, when only 10 years ago the idea was more dream than reality.

People now come from far and wide to visit Cambria, and when they discover the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, its trails, habitat and beautiful views, they think it’s mind boggling that such a quiet little community managed to pull off such a feat.

Now it’s time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of such a great accomplishment and you can be a part of the event. If you were part of “Hands Across the Ranch” in November 2000, you know how exciting it was. If you were not able to participatethen, now is your chance to join hands with friends and neighbors and join the fun.

We are asking that everyone meet at the north and south ends of the Marine Terrace Trail (the emergency road) at 11 a.m. sharp, Saturday, Nov. 13 (a change in date and time since last month’s column). Rain on that day will cancel the celebration.

We are encouraging families with children of all ages to take part. “Hands Across the Ranch” will be followed by refreshments and activities about the Ranch.

These will include making “mud balls” to help restore native plants, acorn grinding like the Native Americans who once inhabited the area did, and temporary tattoos.

There will also be a “Memory Table” with scrapbooks and photos of the early days and where participants can meet to talk about their experiences. Paper and pens will be provided for people to share thoughts, experiences and memories about the Ranch. If you have photos you would like to add, there will be an opportunity to add them.

These pages will later be bound into a book.

To help avoid some congestion in the neighborhoods adjoining the Ranch, there will be a shuttle to the north end of the trail and back from the East Ranch at Rodeo Grounds (turn off Burton Drive, just the other side of the bridge from The Brambles in East Village). Shuttles will begin at 10 a.m. Extra parking is also available at Shamel Park, where the shuttle will also stop when space is available. If you do drive, please carpool with others and avoid parking in front of mailboxes and driveways.

Also on Nov. 13, right before our celebration, there will be a free docent walk on the “The Role of the Raptor; Turkey Vultures.”At 9:45 a.m., you can meet “Mr. Handsome,” a live turkey vulture, and learn about his role in nature. The talk will end just in time for “Hands Across the Ranch” nearby and you will already have your parking space! To reserve a place for this talk, call 927-2202 or visit

Although the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve was purchased by and for the public in 2000, many residents and visitors don’t knowwhy and how it happened. It has been my intention, in writing this series of columns for The Cambrian, to share with readers some background about our community’s amazing accomplishment.

I hope you have found it interesting and that it has answered a few questions about how this beautiful open space came to belong to all ofus.

In December I will write about some of our hopes and plans for the future of the Ranch.

Jo Ellen Butler is executive director of Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. RanchUpdate appears in The Cambrian monthly inthis, the 10th anniversary year of acquisition of what was then known as the East West Ranch. Contact FFRP at, 927-2856, or P.O. Box 1664, Cambria 93428.