Local ranching family celebrates the conservation of their 500-acre ranch in Calaveras County


(CALAVERAS COUNTY, CALIF.) – April 30, 2024

On Friday, April 19, 2024, a luncheon was held in celebration of the successful conservation of a 500-acre working cattle ranch in Calaveras County. With more than 60 guests in attendance, the event was hosted by the California Rangeland Trust and the Yates family at the Yates Ranch in Wallace, California.

Last year, Bruce Yates and his family partnered with the California Rangeland Trust to place a conservation easement on their ranch, forever ensuring the land will continue to function as a working landscape and continue to provide an abundance of environmental benefits to the public, such as clean air, carbon sequestration, fresh water, wildlife habitat, and scenic viewsheds.

“It is always a great day when we can get people out on the land to see the work that our landowner partners are doing on a daily basis,” Michael Delbar, Rangeland Trust CEO, stated. “The Yates family’s decision to conserve their land is an example of ranchers caring for the land today, so that it will be there for all of us in the future.”

The luncheon kicked off with Delbar welcoming attendees to the ranch and talking about the importance of private lands conservation efforts, especially as California is projected to see a significant loss of working lands over the next 15 years. Samantha Yates, daughter of Bruce Yates, also spoke, sharing her family’s journey in the ranching business and their decision to conserve the ranch.

“It gives my family peace of mind knowing that no matter how long down the road, there will always be rangeland here in this ever-developing world. It means the world to us knowing our piece of ground will never see cement poured over it,” expressed Yates.  

The conservation easement was completed with funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and the California Strategic Growth Council’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC) in collaboration with the Department of Conservation (DOC). SALC is part of  California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities. Representatives from both NRCS and DOC were present at the celebration.

“It is important for people to understand the value of these lands,” stated David Shabazian, Director of the DOC, during his remarks. “Everyone depends on these lands for a myriad of reasons, including food, shelter, fresh water, clean air, energy, and more. The SALC program, along with other conservation programs, are working to ensure that we will always have these working spaces.”

Following the presentations, Delbar presented the Yates family with a sign in recognition of their voluntary act to conserve a piece of Calaveras County’s pristine rangeland forever.

The efforts to permanently protect the Yates Ranch is an example of a successful, strategic public-private partnership between a ranching family, state and federal agencies, and a qualified land trust that is helping to protect the public interest through private land conservation. 

Delbar explained, “These efforts are important to celebrate. We are proud of the collaboration that came together to conserve this ranch and look forward to our continued partnership with the Yates family as they continue to own and steward their spectacular ranch and care for its natural resources for the benefit of all of us.”

California Rangeland Trust is a 501 (c)(3) organization headquartered in Sacramento, Calif., dedicated to serving the land, people, and wildlife by conserving California’s working rangelands. Over its 26-year history, the Rangeland Trust has partnered with 91 ranching families across the state to conserve over 395,000 acres of rangeland, making it the largest land trust in California. Those figures include 8 ranches, accounting for 8,322 acres of permanently protected rangeland in Calaveras County—including both the Nakagawa Ranch and a portion of the Rana Ranch near Valley Springs, CA which were conserved last year.