Gaining Ground

California

5,723,999

Acres Protected

That’s about 4,336,363 football fields!

Land trusts have already conserved 61 million acres of private land across the nation — more than all of the national parks combined. Help us conserve another 60 million acres by the end of the decade.

Together, let’s keep Gaining Ground.

Visitors to Land Trust Properties

1.4 million

Visitors in 2020, more than double that of 2015.

Percent of Land Trusts That Provide Public Access to Their Lands

72%

Land trusts provide opportunities to recreate and recharge.

Number of People Served

666,799

Land trusts provide programs and activities to get people outside and learn about the land.

Miles of Trails

628

Walking, hiking and other outdoor recreation improve people's health and well-being.

Miles With Universal Access

100

Universal access trails are designed to be used by all people, regardless of ability.

Percent of Land Trusts Who Increased Community Engagement in the Last Five Years

71%

Land Trusts Are Deepening Relationships With:
  • People from various racial and ethnic backgrounds

  • Older adults or those living in retirement communities

  • People who identify as LGBTQ+

  • People living with disabilities

  • Veterans

Land Trusts Are Helping Address Community Needs, Including:
  • Youth education and development

  • Community and economic development

  • Food security and agriculture

  • Health and wellness

  • Social and environmental justice

Demographics

Every land trust is as unique as the community it serves.

California land trusts are community-led and supported and protect lands and waters that help the entire state.

Active Land Trusts

132

A land trust is a nonprofit that conserves land by acquiring and stewarding land or conservation easements.

Learn more about land trusts
Alliance Member Land Trusts

93

Land Trust Alliance members commit to adopting Land Trust Standards and Practices as their guiding principles.

Learn about the land trust alliance
Accredited Land Trusts

52

Accredited land trusts undergo a thorough review of their practices in governance, finance, transactions and stewardship.

Learn about land trust accreditation

People

  • 1,290,045

  • 12,061

  • 1,097

  • 278

  • 1,134

Land Trust Longevity

  • 122 years old (1900)

  • 6 years old (2016)

  • 30 years old

Percent of Land Trusts Who Increased Focus on Climate Change in the Last Five Years

79%

Percent of Land Trusts Receiving Funding to Address Climate Change

54%

Sources of Funding to Address Climate Change
  • California Department of Natural Resources

  • State of California Wildlife Conservation Board

  • California Energy Commission

Land Protected

There has been a 40% increase in California land protected by land trusts since 2010.

Acre by acre, land trusts are helping to conserve California lands, waters and ways of life.

2010
2015
2020
Total acres protected
4,075,007
5,114,457
5,723,999
+40%
Under easement
920,701
1,425,573
1,738,526
+89%
Owned
716,548
776,014
910,877
+27%
Acquired and reconveyed
1,202,202
1,251,208
1,353,251
+13%
Protected by other means
1,235,556
1,511,937
1,721,345
+39%

Disclaimer: Land trusts conserve land in many different ways and every project is unique. Category totals may change depending on how acres are reported by survey respondents to reflect the most current data and minimize double-counting. In some instances, the total may be greater than the sum of the separate categories due to organizations that provided total acres not broken down by category.

Percent of Land Owned and Under Easement Held by an Accredited Land Trust

82%

Source: 2020 National Land Trust Census

Total Public Funding for Conservation From 1998-2017

$4.7 billion

Source: Trust for Public Land's Conservation Almanac

Acres of Land Lost to Development From 2012-2017

101,300

Source: NRCS - Natural Resources Inventory

This information reflects data collected in the National Land Trust Census, the longest-running comprehensive survey of private land conservation in America. Learn more about the Census and see which land trusts participated in the 2020 National Land Trust Census.

Making a Difference

California land trusts are gaining ground.

Land trusts across the state are helping find solutions to some of California's most pressing issues.

  • Tackling climate change: The accredited Marin Agricultural Land Trust helped launch the Marin Carbon Project to see whether improved agricultural management practices, such as managed grazing and spreading compost on rangeland, could help soil take up more atmospheric CO2.

    Read more
  • Engaging with community partners: At the heart of one of California’s most scenic stretches of coastline in Big Sur, the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County has regained its first ancestral homelands since it was displaced by the Spanish four centuries ago. In 2020 the Esselen Tribe and the accredited Western Rivers Conservancy finalized a project placing the Adler Ranch south of Monterey into Esselen ownership.

    Read more
  • Addressing community needs: The American River Conservancy in Coloma, California, worked with a family to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the site by selling it to an organization that would be able to provide permanent guardianship of the land.

    Read more