Glen Deven Ranch | Big Sur

Glen Deven Ranch is an 860-acre property bequeathed to the Land Trust in 2001 by Dr. Seeley and Mrs. Virginia Mudd. With abundant woodlands, coastal river lands, grasslands and wildlife, Glen Deven is an icon of the Big Sur landscape. It was Virginia's dream that the ranch become an educational showplace for conservation, land stewardship and artistic inspiration.

That dream is fulfilled each summer, when the Land Trust holds our outdoor youth camps at Glen Deven. In many of our communities, there are various barriers which prevent youth from spending time outdoors in the awe-inspiring landscapes of our county. We are working to change this dynamic so that accessing open green spaces becomes part of a healthy lifestyle for all these kids. As teen campers from Salinas Valley and many other communities throughout Monterey County settle into Glen Deven's serenely beautiful environment, the transformational effect on these young lives is palpable.

Stewardship of Glen Deven Ranch includes a tradition of partnering with the neighboring community. The ranch is an emergency way station for Palo Colorado Canyon residents during times of flood or fire. The ridge road out through Big Sur Land Trust's Glen Deven Ranch has been designated as a fire emergency route. It is the second emergency exit for Palo Colorado Canyon.

You can enjoy the benefit of self-guided hikes at Glen Deven Ranch by reservation only. Not currently a supporter? Donate now!

Grazing Program at Glen Deven Ranch

Patrick Riparetti, Big Sur Land Trust’s Director of Stewardship, says, “We are excited about our partnership with Chris at Glen Deven and our existing sustainable grazing partnerships at Arroyo Seco Ranch and at Marks Ranch." Our partners’ responsible, expert approach offers many benefits including:

  • Fuel reduction: Properly managed livestock grazing helps to reduce fire hazards by controlling the amount and distribution of grasses and other potential fuel. For instance, the ridge at Glen Deven Ranch is an important community fuel break for Palo Colorado Canyon.
  • Invasive species reduction: At Glen Deven Ranch, for example, patches of French broom and other invasive plants will be mowed. As the plants sprout again, cows will graze the shoots and as the process is repeated, these invasives will be reduced over time.
  • Improved habitat: The creation of a mosaic of grasslands which includes both open, short-grass conditions and dense tall-grass conditions, supports native plant, animal, and pollinator diversity.
  • Benefits to plant life: Without natural disturbance, grasslands will accumulate large amounts of dead plant material (thatch) that can reduce the success of native grasses and forbs. Livestock grazing reduces the competition from nonnative plants so that other desirable grasses and wildflowers can regenerate and coexist. Cattle also play a key role in nutrient cycling by adding nitrogen and aiding carbon in entering the soils.
  • Local food production.