The Santa Lucia Preserve

The Santa Lucia Preserve is a private residential community where people and nature thrive together. Extraordinary thought and planning went into the design of this unique community, with the goal of sustainably integrating the human and natural communities for the benefit of both. Four land use types have been designated within these 20,000 acres, each of which is sited with conservation in mind. The Santa Lucia Conservancy is financially and philosophically sustained by the limited residential community of The Preserve on which settled lands occupy the least environmentally sensitive lands. The Santa Lucia Preserve is an exemplary nature preserve in which private landowners work in partnership with the Conservancy. Under this unique private lands conservation model, landowners on The Preserve own their homesites as well as parcels of protected easement lands managed by the Conservancy.

Hundreds of experts surveyed every acre to identify archaeological and ecological resources for protection; the least sensitive sites were allocated for development. No detail was spared. Driving along the narrow Preserve roads, drivers enjoy expansive landscape views as they exit sharp curves—every element down to the windshield view and the contoured roadways that compel leisurely transport were deliberate. By design, The Preserve was built to be a community set in the coveted, aesthetic, natural landscape of Central California, in which no element of the built environment diverts attention from the natural scenic value of the land. The Preserve approach to design reflects the belief that the genuine value of these 20,000 acres lies in the beauty, vastness, and richness of its landscape.

These lands consist of Preserve Lands, the portions that are left undeveloped in perpetuity which make up 90% of The Preserve. These include the Wildlands, lands conveyed in fee to the Santa Lucia Conservancy encompassing 10,360 acres, managed for their wild natural beauty and biodiversity. The remaining Preserve Lands, held under private ownership and protected by covenants that ensure their permanent protection as natural open space under conservation easements with the Conservancy, are called the Openlands. 

The portions of the Santa Lucia Preserve that are reserved for development are called the Settled Lands. These are the Homelands, all the residential building envelopes, and the Rancholands, all the non-residential development parcels including the Ranch and Golf Club amenities, trails, and roads of The Preserve.

Through easements, thoughtful design and regular monitoring, The Preserve weaves the community into the landscape and blurs the lines between wild and settled lands. This model of development is a grand experiment and the Conservancy is running studies that test how well the model is working.

The commitment to sustaining the health and beauty of the land is reflected in a hundred ways: the narrow country roads that softly follow the contours of earth – in the decision to limit fencing, night lighting and land clearing to ensure the safe passage of wildlife – in the investments in underground utilities, water conservation and buffers around streams and sensitive habitat. Equally important, perhaps, is the creation of the Santa Lucia Conservancy, a science-based conservation organization dedicated to the care and protection of the natural resources of The Preserve.

The Santa Lucia Conservancy is dedicated to working closely with the staff, the landowners, and the members of the Santa Lucia Preserve insure the stewardship of the unique natural resources of the Santa Lucia Preserve and to promote human settlements that are ecologically sensitive.

Photo: Christy Wyckoff

The Preserve Design

The Santa Lucia Preserve is an exemplary nature preserve in which private landowners work in partnership with the Conservancy. Under this unique private lands conservation model, landowners on The Preserve own their homesites as well as parcels of protected easement lands managed by the Conservancy. Learn more.

Photo: Christy Wyckoff

A Thriving Conservation Community

Tremendous planning guided the development of The Preserve. By design, The Preserve was built to be a community set in the coveted natural landscape of Central California, in which no element of the built environment diverts attention from the natural scenic value of the land. Learn more.

Photo: Joe Fletcher

Building a Home on The Preserve

Developing lasting relationships with the families that choose The Preserve as their home is important to achieve our conservation goals. From the start, the Conservancy engages landowners to inspire and collaborate on managing their land to preserve the rugged beauty and ecological vitality of The Preserve. Learn more.

The Santa Lucia Preserve

To leave the Santa Lucia Conservancy's website and visit the Santa Lucia Preserve's community website, click here.