Sonoma Land Trust protects farm, wild lands at Starcross Monastic Community
SANTA ROSA, CALIF. — A beautiful 90-acre property just inland from the Sonoma Coast is now permanently protected with a conservation easement thanks to a generous donation by landowners of the Starcross Monastic Community. Located east of Annapolis in the Gualala River Watershed, this stunning landscape has been used by the independent, ecumenical community as a farm, residence and nature retreat since the 1970s, and boasts 70 acres of intact wild lands that the community maintains.
“We believe the land is sacred,” says Brother Toby McCarroll, co-founder of the Starcross Monastic Community. “We’ll do everything we can to protect it.”
The community has an orchard and gardens where they grow and process organic olive oil, as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables for their food pantry and farmstand open to the community. Beyond the farm and monastery, the property includes an abundance of natural resources, including redwood and Douglas-fir forest and open grassland, locally uncommon stands of sugar pines and hybrid manzanita, and a stretch of Grasshopper Creek, a tributary of Buckeye Creek in the Gualala River Watershed.
The landowners have contemplated an easement for years and are eager to ensure that the land remains undeveloped for future generations. The conservation easement, which is a voluntary agreement between the landowners and the nonprofit Land Trust for the purpose of conservation, will prohibit subdivision and limit residential and commercial use of the land in perpetuity — ensuring that the property’s intact habitat and productive farmland is protected forever. Sonoma Land Trust possesses 45 easements around the county and, as with each easement it holds, will monitor the property annually to ensure compliance with the agreement.
“The Starcross Community has shown the way by living and farming in balance with nature for decades,” says Dave Koehler, Sonoma Land Trust executive director. “We are honored and thankful that they chose to partner with Sonoma Land Trust to protect their beautiful forest and farmland in perpetuity.”
About Sonoma Land Trust
Sonoma Land Trust believes land is the foundation of our economy and our community’s health and well-being. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected more than 50,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations, and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org. #ProtectThePicture