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tejonranch.com

Founded Year

1843

About Tejon Ranch

Tejon Ranch is a diversified real estate development and agri-business company owning land located in Los Angeles and Kern counties, California. The company is in the process of developing its land holdings along transportation corridors into master-planned business and residential communities. It is based in Tejon Ranch, California.

Tejon Ranch Headquarters Location

4436 Lebec Road

Tejon Ranch, California,

United States

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Latest Tejon Ranch News

Tejon Ranch Conservancy has a lot to offer people in Bakersfield and beyond

Jun 4, 2022

BY STEVEN MAYER smayer@bakersfield.com 1 of 9 This viewpoint from Ray's Perch at Tejon Ranch reveals oak-covered hills that stretch toward Interstate 5 and Frazier Park. Endangered California condors can sometimes be spotted from this location. Eliza Green / The Californian Mitchell Coleman, the conservation science director and biologist at Tejon Ranch Conservancy, refers to a map to explain the landscapes of the conservancy, which covers 270,000 acres. Eliza Green / The Californian Tejon Ranch boasts an incredibly biodiverse landscape with higher elevations flushed with green growth and mild temperatures in early June. Eliza Green / The Californian A view from Haul Road overlooks the original headquarters of Tejon Ranch, along with rolling foothills and pistachio orchards near Arvin. Eliza Green / The Californian Mitchell Coleman, the conservation science director at Tejon Ranch Conservancy, inspects some Indian Paintbrush flowers, a native hemiparasitic plant. Eliza Green / The Californian Grazing cattle are visible through branches of an oak tree at Ray's Perch, a lookout point within the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch. Eliza Green / The Californian Mitchell Coleman, the conservation science director at Tejon Ranch Conservancy, accesses one of about 20 wildlife cameras stationed throughout the ranch that help monitor wildlife population levels and activity within the sprawling ranch. Eliza Green / The Californian Two red-tailed hawks circle the foothills of Tejon Ranch on Wednesday. The ranch is home to hundreds of bird species, including the endangered California Condor. According to a 2008 agreement, Tejon Ranch Conservancy was created to manage and watch over the conserved lands at the 179-year-old Tejon Ranch. Eliza Green / The Californian Mitchell Coleman, the conservation science director at Tejon Ranch Conservancy, drives through the golden foothills of the conservancy on Wednesday. Eliza Green / The Californian Mitchell Coleman loves his job. He gets to experience close-up what relatively few Californians have ever experienced: the rugged beauty and astonishing diversity of Tejon Ranch, a 179-year-old farming, cattle, recreation and real estate empire that makes up the largest single expanse of private property in the state. Coleman is a plant biologist with the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, a tiny nonprofit that few have heard of. "Most folks in Bakersfield have no idea who we are," Coleman said. "Our fondest hope, from the conservancy’s perspective, is just to raise awareness that the conservancy exists, and that we can do stuff." Stuff like getting people access to the historic ranch founded in 1843, long before the Civil War. Stuff like scheduling educational outings for high school students. And even teachers. As the conservancy's education coordinator, Paula Harvey focuses on school groups and faculty training. In March, she said, 35 Kern High School District science teachers came for a full day of training in nature journaling, where they studied inquiry and how to set up science experiments in the field. "I teach the use of nature journals to learn about science," Harvey said in an email. "I have videos posted on our website which I developed during the pandemic, when schools were conducting remote learning, and I come out to schools to teach journaling, or host field trips where we practice nature journaling." Deep into the ranch  The average Kern County resident doesn’t know he or she can access the ranch. But they can, Coleman said. "Most Bakersfieldians have no idea what’s out here. That’s what we want to change," he said. A Californian reporter and photographer met Coleman at Sebastian Gate, near Arvin on the north side of the ranch. After piling into a double-cab pickup, the group passed a grove of pistachio trees, and then an old forest of non-native eucalyptus. As the Toyota kept gaining altitude, the southern terminus of the Great Central Valley slowly gave way to the ancient elevations of the Tehachapi Mountains. The Tejon tour had begun. Also joining the group was Dick Taylor, who in his retirement volunteers his services as a docent for the conservancy. "What a privilege and honor it is to be able to come out here," Taylor said as Coleman drove the double-cab pickup over miles of rough, unpaved Haul Road, pulling the group deep into the ranch. "This is a huge expanse of land," Taylor marveled, "and a lot of it is the same as it was hundreds of years ago." Over the next several miles, as the truck gained altitude, beautiful oaklands started to be joined by fir and pine and late-season wildflowers. “There is no one person who knows everything about Tejon Ranch," Coleman said. "There's so much biologically here. There’s so much historically here." The conservancy's mission “I work for the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, which is distinct from the Tejon Ranch Co.," Coleman said of the publicly traded corporation. The names are similar sounding, but the two organizations are very different. "I like to say that we’re the nerds," he said. "In the 1990s, Tejon Ranch Co. had a shift in goals," Coleman said. "They had historically been involved in ranching, mining, petroleum, a very limited portfolio … in the 1990s, they shifted toward wanting to develop certain parts of their property.” Indeed, much of the land that leads up to Grapevine Peak, overlooking the west side of the ranch, is slated for residential development, the kind of change the ranch has not seen since its founding in 1843. Tejon Mountain Village, an upscale gated community, will include thousands of homes as well as commercial buildings, hotels and golf courses. Another development is planned in the high desert of the Antelope Valley at the southern end of the ranch. It will be named Centennial. But nearly 90 percent of the ranch, or some 240,000 acres, will be permanently protected from development, according to an agreement between the Tejon Ranch Co. and a coalition of environmental groups. Out of that 2008 agreement, Tejon Ranch Conservancy was born. “We’re independent, we’re nonprofit,” Coleman said, “and our job is to manage the conserved lands. I like to say we have four programmatic areas: public access, education, science and stewardship. “We do tours pretty much every weekend,” he said. “But it’s not like Wind Wolves.” Wind Wolves Preserve, a 93,000-acre Wildlands Conservancy located west of Tejon, doesn’t typically require advance reservations. But Tejon Ranch is private property, and the conservancy must follow protocol. “The only way to get on the ranch, even though we have a public access program, is to schedule a tour … two weeks ahead of time," Coleman said. A legacy of wildness and beauty The ranch supports a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, antelope, wild pig, turkey, black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, gray fox, coyote, dove, quail, eagle and the famed California condor, which was at one point perilously near extinction. El tejon — "the badger," for which the ranch is named — is also indigenous to the area. The Rocky Mountain elk are not native to the ranch, but were brought in from Yellowstone. Both the elk and the pigs were originally raised and bred in captivity on adjoining ranches. But the animals escaped, and have made a home at Tejon ever since. The turkeys also are not indigenous, but were introduced in years past as game birds. When the group of four passed through Martinez Gate at the top of Blue Ridge, the change in climate, plant life and topography was dramatic. The journalists had already experienced the valley and mountain terrains on the ranch. But Martinez was the gateway to Tejon's third major terrain feature: the high desert landscapes of Canyon del Gato Montes and the sprawling Antelope Valley. Recognizing the stunning variety of scenery and ecosystems, and the pristine condition of the land, it's little wonder, many in California fought to guarantee the permanent preservation of nearly 90 percent of the historic ranch. In a way, the conservancy acts as the conscience of the 2008 agreement. "It's not our role to lay down the force of the law," Coleman said. "We're not the police. We don't have any legal power in that regard." Rather, they work in harmony and cooperation with Tejon Ranch Co. "The conservancy manages the conservation easements," Coleman said. "It's actually our core mandate and legal responsibility." Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC.

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  • When was Tejon Ranch founded?

    Tejon Ranch was founded in 1843.

  • Where is Tejon Ranch's headquarters?

    Tejon Ranch's headquarters is located at 4436 Lebec Road, Tejon Ranch.

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