Lone Pine Ranch, once owned by Dean Witter, is an expansive landscape across Mendocino and Trinity counties far away from the crush and cacophony of San Francisco Bay. At 30,000 acres (that’s more than 23,000 football fields) this was a ranch lost in time but threatened to be fragmented by piecemeal development. It was a target of various conservation groups for decades and now we are able to realize the dream of its protection for recreation, ecological importance and stunning scenic beauty.

In a conservation partnership among a variety of public and private interests, we are working to achieve that goal and protect this incredible area.


Lone Pine Ranch will be a recreational wonderland for hikers, campers, anglers, kayakers, and more. The property includes 18.5 miles of frontage on the Wild and Scenic Eel River and lies at the heart of the “Grand Canyon of the Eel” along the future Great Redwood Trail. The towering canyon walls and tumbling rapids make the Eel River one of the most popular rivers in the region for rafting and kayaking.


The property is also known for its intriguing geology, expansive lush wetlands, dense conifer forests, and classic California oak savanna. This forest/grassland community provides a significant carbon sequestration opportunity with more than 13,000 metric tons of carbon stored in fir, pine and oaks.

The Eel River is home to the southernmost summer population of steelhead trout as well as chinook and coho salmon. It’s also home to resident population of Roosevelt elk.


Lone Pine Ranch was owned for decades by Dean G. Witter, the founder of Dean Witter and Company in 1924. Based in San Francisco, Dean Witter and Company was one of the few brokerage firms on the West Coast when it was created, and their foresight and determination allowed them to be one of the few firms in the nation to survive the Great Depression. He purchased the land in the early 1940’s and until recently, the property carried on his legacy under the ownership of 16 Witter heirs. They are ecstatic to see the ranch protected and the Witter family legacy preserved.


For many years, our partners at The Wildlands Conservancy (TWC) owned a 3,000-acre portion of the Lone Pine Ranch. But in 2019, they sought our help to protect the remaining 26,000 acres. With a generous low interest loan from the Packard Foundation, The Conservation Fund has acquired Area 3 of the map, the last 8,000-acre parcel of the whole 30,000-acre ranch.

Protecting the Grand Canyon of the Eel River Californias Lone Pine Ranch map

Click on the image to view a larger map. Credit: The Wildlands Conservancy 

The support for this project has been tremendous with the help of Governor Newsom, Secretary of Natural Resources Crowfoot, the Center for Biological Diversity, California Wildlife Conservation Board, and the California State Coastal Conservancy.

Now we need to focus on reimbursing the Packard Foundation so that their loan can be used for other worthwhile projects. We are actively fundraising to pay back that loan and ensure Lone Pine Ranch remains protected forever under TWC’s ownership. To support this effort, please contact Samaria Jaffe.