Land Analysis


Homesites were placed where you felt comfortable and safe, as if you alone owned a protected knoll, ridge, or redwood forest.


The planning for the Preserve beginning in 1990 was the first major private use of ArcInfo, now one of the pre-eminent computerized Geographic Information Systems (“GIS”). The scientific survey teams and landscape architects entered all their information and analysis into a giant database using GIS positioning technology to assure accuracy. 1,500 overlays of data allowed the development team to create maps that revealed the regions essential for conservancy, and by elimination the locations appropriate for settlement. Among landscapes selected for conservation were those determined to be less accessible from existing roads, dominated by riparian corridors, wetlands or habitats for rare or threatened species, covered by dense forests, having grades in excess of 30 percent or possessing
Land Analysis - Conservation Land Analysis
unique or extraordinary beauty. Simultaneously with these studies, Dave Howerton and Tom Gray explored almost every acre of the property looking for potential homesites that expressed a “sense of place”, where you felt comfortable and safe as if you alone owned a protected knoll, ridge, redwood forest. On each find they drove a metal fencepost in the ground and GPS’d the location into the GIS database. Using this exhaustive high-tech and high-touch process, the mapping began to the reveal the 2,000 acres where human settlement would not materially alter the beauty of The Preserve's natural resources, nor break apart its landscape. Not surprisingly many of the potential homesites that squared with the resource-based analysis had a history of homesteading and ranching uses. They were also already served by an existing network of ranch roads, which eliminated any need to further scar the landscape. The remaining 18,000 acres, which were resource rich, were set aside for permanent conservation.