by Kyle Pinjuv
Last week I had the pleasure of hiking the Bolinas Ridge Trail, which runs parallel to the San Andreas Fault in beautiful Marin County. We were in search of a hike where we could experience the pastoral beauty of the coastal habitat types and enjoy the emerging wildflowers and vibrant green grass the recent rains had brought to the landscape. We had found the perfect hike for that and then some.
What struck me most during our hike, beyond the views of course, was the fact that we were able to trek along 10 miles of ranch road and single track, off trail and cross country, ranch land and park land, and multi-jurisdiction and multi-use, all in one linear route. My colleagues have written in this blog about the invisible political boundaries ever-present on the local and global landscape. As land managers, we work within these boundaries every day. It is especially prevalent in my work with conservation easements. But while out on the Bolinas Ridge Trail, I could just enjoy the landscape as a whole. I recognize that there are probably monitoring reports, grazing and management plans, easements, email communications and a full-time employee or two sitting behind a desk somewhere working long hours to ensure the land remains healthy and creating the opportunity for people like us to experience it.
It was, and continues to be, important for me to experience protected and multi-use lands outside of my everyday work. It’s too easy sometimes to get lost in the paperwork and emails, to lose sight of why we work so hard to protect these lands. I used to find hiking amidst cows on grazed land less appealing than the alternative of hiking in “pure” wilderness. Now, I am grateful to exchange greetings with a rancher as I scoot past a cow and her calf, over or under the fence and up the next ridge.
Kyle Pinjuv is the conservation easement program manager for Sonoma Land Trust.
Sonoma Land Trust is a local nonprofit based in Santa Rosa, CA, that conserves scenic, natural, agricultural and open lands in Sonoma County for the benefit of the community and future generations. This blog focuses on SLT's stewardship team, whose members do hands-on work to directly protect, restore, and safeguard the land for generations to come.