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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74 The LandReport | S P R I N G 2 0 1 8 LANDREPORT.COM disturbed, but the process is well underway. These models make it clear that the funda- mental fabric of nature is being altered, and these areas are going to disappear." Thus the urgency, he argued, of "grabbing places like this and putting them into conser- vation, while you still can." The vistas of Point Conception may not have the same iconic impact as the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, he said. "But ecologically it is just as impor- tant" — because of the diversity of flora and fauna, because of its nearly unspoiled aspect. "We have the splendor of the national parks because they were set aside 100 years ago in a park system. It gives me a kind of solace to think that more of these areas will be protected." Beyond solace, the Dangermonds hope that UCSB and The Nature Conservancy will together make Point Conception a unique digital-research center for the identification and protection of similarly important and endangered ecological hot spots around the world. They'll have help from Esri's software, which they believe will allow them to meas- ure and analyze trends, good and bad, more extensively than in any comparable site. "This really is a pivotal point to be envisag- ing how new technologies might be em- ployed to gather the data in support of research," Chancellor Yang wrote to me. "Many new Earth-observing satellites have been launched in recent years, with the abil- ity to scan the surface more frequently and in more detail. We have a wide range of sensors that can be installed on, below, and above the land surface; we have new computer models that can take these data inputs and process them to make accurate predictions of the impacts of conservation strategies." The second significant aspect of the pur- chase is the example the Dangermonds hope to set for their fellow rich people. This dona- tion is unusual not simply in its scale but also because the Dangermonds are publicizing it, something they usually take pains not to do. For a long time, Jack and Laura Dangermond have been the wealthiest family in their small community of Redlands, and its leading phil- anthropic donors. Since their Esri company is still privately held, the precise extent of the Dangermonds' wealth is also private. Jack told me that published estimates, in the low to mid billions, are "exaggerated." Whatever the details, they are people of means. But their previous gifts have been unpublicized and often anonymous. Their names don't appear at all, or only in fine print, at many of the local institutions they support. In contrast, this tract of land will be the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve, and the professor at UCSB will hold the Jack and Laura Dangermond Chair. Why? "We're very intentionally setting out a model that we hope other people with money will follow," Jack Dangermond said. "We'd like people to think, 'Let's do what the Dangermonds did.' We'd like them to copy us." Cattle has been king along the California coast for more than two centuries to the days of the Spanish. Santa Barbara County was first settled by the Spaniards in 1782 when the presidio was built. A mission followed in 1786. By the mid-1800s, ranchos were granted. The Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve (opposite page) contains two of these early holdings, known as the Cojo and the Jalama. These tracts were later acquired by the Bixby Land Company, which developed a significant portion of Southern California.

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