Great Places

The Nature Conservancy Preserves 24,000-acre Coastal Ranch at Point Conception with $165 Million Gift from Esri Founders

Santa Barbara, CA

The Nature Conservancy announced today the purchase of eight miles of rare connected coastal habitat in Santa Barbara County. Jack and Laura Dangermond, conservationists and co-founders of Esri, have made a transformative and timely philanthropic gift of $165 million to The Nature Conservancy. This private donation enabled The Nature Conservancy to purchase and permanently protect one of the most iconic pieces of California, the over 24,000-acre Cojo/Jalama Ranch at Point Conception in Santa Barbara County. Theirs is the single largest philanthropic gift in The Nature Conservancy’s history.

Collaborating with key partners and stakeholders, The Nature Conservancy will embark on an 18-month planning process to understand all that is contained on the 24,000 acres, how to bring into balance and protect the various resources from ecological, cultural, and historical perspectives, and to develop a comprehensive plan that will shape the long-term use and management of the new preserve. In the meantime, it will remain a private working cattle ranch.

“This is an incredibly rare, ecologically important place with eight miles of coast and centuries-old coastal oak woodlands,” said Jack Dangermond, president and co-founder of mapping and spatial-analysis technology company, Esri. “This deserves to be preserved and managed by an organization like The Nature Conservancy.”

Visible from space as the exact point on the coast where California bends inward, this iconic piece of California will be named The Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve, and join the portfolio of protected lands owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. The land, home to two private working cattle ranches, is noted to be in tremendous ecological condition and features a confluence of ecological, historical, and cultural values across Native American, Spanish and American histories that have co-evolved for millennia. The area is also home to at least 39 species of threatened or special status.

Its biological richness is related to its place on the map, a rare spot where cold northern Pacific waters mix with warmer waters creating a richly biodiverse area in the marine environment. The coastline is marked by jagged cliffs and isolated rocky sea shelves where marine mammals swim undisturbed. Adjacent to a marine protected area, the property connects the coast to the mountains and contains crucial wildlife corridors, for mountain lions, bobcat, and bear, and habitat for 14 endangered species including the snowy plover, red-legged frog, and monarch butterfly.

“There’s no place like it. It’s where Northern California and Southern California meet. Standing there in the oaks, looking west across the ocean, you understand why this has been a spiritual place for millennia,” said Mike Sweeney, Executive Director California Chapter, The Nature Conservancy. “This place is special for many reasons. We aim to build on that with a robust applied research agenda that delivers insights for conservationists around the world.”

“We want to inspire more people to give major contributions toward conservation, that’s the only reason we’ve chosen to share our involvement. We want to set an example. Conservation isn’t just being nice to animals or plants, it’s investing in the continued life support systems of humans and all other species on the planet. We need more people to step up to protect our last great places,” said Dangermond.

The Dangermonds’ gift to preserve this place, has already inspired a host of other generous conservation donors to donate their own major gifts to help The Nature Conservancy’s continued future management of this special iconic place.

About Esri

Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, offers the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available. Since 1969, Esri has helped customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Today, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including the world's largest cities, most national governments, 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri engineers the most advanced solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and location analytics to inform the most authoritative maps in the world. Visit us at
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.