The joint efforts of the Land Trust of Santa Barbara County and the California Rangeland Trust were rewarded last week, as nearly 2,000 acres of rolling Gaviota rangeland were officially placed in conservation easements. The long-speculated deal effectively protects the agricultural and ecological value of the El Choro Ranch and the Rancho La Purísima forever. Located three miles north of Buellton just off Highway 101, the 1,007-acre La Purísima is an active cattle ranch owned by Paul McEnroe, the director of the County Cattlemen’s Association. The 871-acre El Choro property – which is part of the original Rancho San Julian land grant – is situated south of Lompoc, among the north ridges off Highway 1. The financial terms of the preservation deal were undisclosed as of press time.

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