Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 7:16 pm | Fair 64º


Land Trust Acquires 100-Acre Big Bend Ranch Along Highway 1

Big Bend Ranch is located southeast of Lompoc. Click to view larger
Big Bend Ranch is located southeast of Lompoc. (Land Trust photo)

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County is pleased to announce the acquisition and permanent preservation of the 100-acre Big Bend Ranch through a generous gift from Judy and Jack Stapelmann.

“This is an important property for its agriculture, scenery and wildlife habitat, and the Land Trust is honored to be able to help the Stapelmann family protect it for all of these purposes,” said Chet Work, Land Trust executive director.

Big Bend Ranch, located southeast of Lompoc, is 100 acres of beautiful and valuable watershed, farmland, ranchland, oak woodland and riparian habitat. It is located in the El Jaro Creek watershed, a tributary of the Santa Ynez River, and an important steelhead stream.

Judy and Jack Stapelmann, who are well known for their philanthropy and support for the arts and environment, are long-time friends of the Land Trust. They were instrumental in the Land Trust’s efforts to permanently protect the Sedgwick Reserve now held by UCSB.

“We purchased the Big Bend Ranch in 1977 with an eye toward retiring there, but the world changed and our plans changed," Judy Stapelmann said. "Giving Big Bend to the Land Trust really helped us simplify our lives with one less property to worry about.” 

“We know the Land Trust will protect it…it’s a win-win,” she said.

Since the Stapelmanns purchased Big Bend Ranch in the 1970s, its value has increased dramatically, which is good news and bad. Like many landowners, they own a valuable piece of property, but as they began to consider divesting, they faced a heavy tax burden. 

In this case, gifting the property made sense for the Stapelmanns and giving it to the Land Trust ensures the agriculture, scenery and habitat they love will be protected.  

"The Land Trust works hand in hand with property owners to discover the best path to preservation, and each transaction is as unique as the parcel of land and the people who own it," Said Greg Parker, president of the Land Trust's board of trustees. "We couldn't have hoped for better partners or a better outcome on this particular project."

— Carrie Mullen is the director of development for the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.


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