Land Trust Acquires Big Bend Ranch

Posted on Dec 7 by SEASONS Magazine


Big Bend Ranch was recently acquired by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, courtesy photo.

Big Bend Ranch was recently acquired by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, courtesy photo.

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County recently announced 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,” says Chet Work, Land Trust Executive Director.

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

The Stapelmanns are longtime supporters of the Land Trust and 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. Giving Big Bend to the Land Trust really helped us simplify our lives with one less property to worry about,” says Judy. “We know the Land Trust will protect it…it’s a win-win.”

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. We couldn’t have hoped for better partners or a better outcome on this particular project,” states Greg Parker, president of the Land Trust’s Board of Trustees.

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1985 and dedicated to preserving and enhancing Santa Barbara County’s natural resources, agricultural land and open spaces for present and future generations. One of 300 fully accredited land trusts in the U.S., the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County was one of 60 to achieve accreditation renewal this year.

To date, the LTSBC has worked with 46 local families and a number of conservation partners to preserve nearly 24,000 acres of natural resource and agricultural land throughout Santa Barbara County. These properties include the Carpinteria Bluffs, Arroyo Hondo, Sedgwick Reserve, Hot Springs Canyon and the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. These lands help Santa Barbara County maintain a productive agricultural economy, while the public enjoys open vistas and locally grown food. For more information, visit

Source: Land Trust for Santa Barbara County


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