About Hollister Ranch

The Hollister Ranch

Hollister Ranch is located between Gaviota and Point Conception and covers approximately 14,500 acres, including eight and one half miles of south-facing coastline. It is divided into 133 parcels owned by individuals, plus three parcels owned by all the owners in common-two beach parcels running the length of the Ranch and a parcel with the historic Hollister House, barns and employee housing. The Ranch roads are contained in 200-foot-wide pass and repass easements over private parcels. The Ranch lies at the juxtaposition of the northern and southern California ecosystems, with unusual overlapping of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species. It embraces the Shoreline Preserve, a 2.2 mile protected intertidal area with pristine tide pools. Marine mammals regularly haul out at Ranch beaches, and migrating birds use the beaches and ponds to rest and feed. There are extensive CC&Rs and Ranch rules with the primary purpose of preserving the unspoiled character of the land. Hunting is not allowed, nor are motorcycles or similar vehicles. Access to private parcels is limited to twelve owners and twelve guests at any one time. Owners regard the Ranch as a natural preserve.

The Ranch, as part of the original Rancho Nuestra Senora del Refugio, has been a working cattle ranch since the original grazing permit was awarded to Jose Francisco de Ortega in 1791. The Hollisters purchased the land in 1866 and held it until 1964 when it was sold and subsequently developed, in 1971, as Hollister Ranch-a unique development concept, which was designed to keep the Ranch an unspoiled natural resource. It continues to be a working cattle ranch under the Hollister Ranch Cattle Cooperative.

The preservation of the Ranch environment has been delegated to the Hollister Ranch Conservancy by the Hollister Ranch Board of Directors. The Conservancy manages the program, started in the mid 1970s, which provides access to scientific and educational groups as well as various university and institute researchers. Tours by the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, the Santa Barbara Botanical Garder, various historical societies, the Audubon Society, and other groups have been welcomed at the Ranch. Hundreds of school children come each year to study the tide pools at the Beach Preserve. There is no charge for access and the Conservancy provides docents.

The Conservancy also monitors the Shoreline Preserve, publishes informational materials such as the Botanical Resources of Hollister Ranch, which was funded by the Conservancy and done in cooperation with the University of California at Santa Barbara. Other materials published include: a pamphlet on botanical resources, a pamphlet on the Shoreline Preserve, an intertidal species list, a wildlife species inventory and check list, and information on Hollister Ranch geology. Additionally, the HR Cattle Cooperative and the Conservancy cooperate on mutually beneficial programs, including preservation of riparian habitats and rangeland resources.

The Ranch is one of the largest natural areas remaining along the southern California coast and this private resource is maintained at no cost to the public. The flora and fauna are thriving, and the unusually large expanse of connected wild lands and unfragmented habitat help to preserve wide-ranging species such as black bear, mountain lion, deer, and raptors.

The Conservancy receives no funding from the Hollister Ranch Owners' Association. All moneys received from donations and Conservancy fund raising events go into a separate account and are used only for authorized Conservancy projects.