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. The Conservancy owns an additional 10,000 acres, creating a 20,000 acre landscape, 90% of which is permanently undeveloped and perpetually protected through conservation easements.
Tremendous planning guided the development of The Preserve. 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.
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.