The Land Report

2018.1

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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72 The LandReport | S P R I N G 2 0 1 8 LANDREPORT.COM Before the arrival of the Spanish and then the Americans, this was the land of the C humash people, who considered the point a portal through which spirits entered the next world. Point Conception's positioning has long made it perilous for mariners — and p recious to scientists and naturalists. "I like to say it's where Northern California and Southern California meet," Michael Sweeney, executive director of The Nature Conser- v ancy in California, told me. "That is why it is a zone of such ecological diversity. You have plants and animals you'd expect to find in the north, along with those you'd expect to find in the south. It is uniquely diverse." The melting-pot aspect extends even to the waters off the point. "On the marine side, it is one of the most valuable places on the California coast, because it's where the cold currents coming down from the north meet the warm currents from the south," Jack Dangermond told me in a phone interview. "With this huge mixing, you have a rookery of seals, big whales, all the elements of a hugely diverse marine resource." A California state marine reserve, established over the past decade, protects fish, sea mammals, and other wildlife in a 22-square-mile area of the waters off Point Conception. "From the seafloor to the ridgetops you have a big protected area, and that is pretty special in the world," Sweeney said. "This is a conservation project of historic significance," Henry Yang, the chancellor of the University of California at Santa Barbara, told me via email when I asked him about the new preserve. As part of this project, the Dangermonds are also establishing a $1 million endowed Chair in Conservation Studies at UCSB. "The area is recognized globally for its rich biological diversity and ecological significance," Yang said. "As a transition zone from warmer southern species to cooler northern species both on land and in the coastal ocean, it provides a unique place to study and learn how climate affects the ecosystem." "Laura and I ... became deeply attached to this land a long time ago," Jack Dangermond said in an all-hands message to the several thousand Esri employees in announcing the purchase. Fifty years earlier, on the Danger- monds' honeymoon in the late 1960s, they'd driven along the coast in a little car and camped at night in a pup tent. "We were just kids, and that was our first connection to realizing it was a special place," Jack told me.

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