Video footage of the “Grand Canyon of the Eel” courtesy Wildlands Conservancy.



Press release from the Wildlands Conservancy:

The Wildlands Conservancy has launched a two-phase acquisition to preserve the historic Dean Witter Lone Pine Ranch, a 30,000-acre property that includes 20 miles of the “Grand Canyon” of the National Wild and Scenic Eel River.

The property includes fantastic geology, a major carbon sequestration opportunity with 86 million board feet of fir, pine and oaks, a herd of Roosevelt elk, and significant wetlands. 

The Wildlands Conservancy used private donations to purchase 3,000 acres of the Lone Pine fronting 3.5 miles of the Eel River. This acquisition secured a two-year option to purchase the remaining 27,000 acres for $25 million.

“This is a rare opportunity to preserve some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country,” says David Myers, The Wildlands Conservancy’s executive director, “We hope donors will consider the Grand Canyon of the Eel River as a legacy project to protect a national park quality landscape, writing a new chapter of American conservation history.”

The Lone Pine acquisition is part of The Wildlands Conservancy’s Eel River Emerald Necklace conservation project, which links a system of preserves spanning the Grand Canyon of the Eel to the estuary. The Lone Pine is a day’s paddling journey downstream from The Wildlands Conservancy’s Spyrock Preserve, which has five miles of frontage on the Eel. It’s 80 miles upstream from The Wildland Conservancy’s Eel River Estuary Preserve on the Pacific Ocean.

“This historic conservation purchase will ensure permanent protection for one of the most wild and scenic river stretches in the western United States,” said Peter Galvin, co-founder and director of programs for the Center for Biological Diversity.  “The ‘Grand Canyon of the Eel River’ is home to dozens of endangered species and rare wildlife. The Wildlands Conservancy’s heroic and visionary efforts to restore the Eel River and California’s wildlands will be appreciated by generations to come.”

A new law championed by Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) will create the Great Redwoods Trail, following the route of the abandoned Northwestern Pacific Railroad and linking these preserves for world-class paddling and bicycling.

“This is a huge win for everyone,” says Sen. McGuire, “TWC’s purchase will help create entry to the 300-mile Great Redwood Trial as it expands into the Eel River Canyon and allows access to the river.  This part of the Eel is one of the most spectacular areas in California and this project takes us one step closer to preserving it for all time.”

The Wildlands Conservancy owns and operates California’s largest nonprofit nature preserve system, including the 93,000-acre Wind Wolves Preserve in Kern County, the largest nonprofit preserve in the west. Open to the public free of charge, these preserves offer free hiking, camping, and access to nature. The Wildlands Conservancy recently led the campaign to have land it donated to the U.S. Interior Department designated as the 1.6 million-acre Mojave Trails National Monument, the largest national monument in the lower 48 states. 

Now growing faster than the California State Park System, The Wildlands Conservancy acquired four nature preserves over the past year.

These include Santa Margarita River Trails Preserve along five miles of oak-shaded trails next to the Santa Margarita River in San Diego County; a mile of majestic coastline and redwood forest at Seawood Cape Preserve in Humboldt County; and a mile of the West Walker River at Aspen Glen Reserve in Mono County.

More information is available at