Marks Ranch | Salinas
UPDATE: As we assess the damage from the River Fire, hiking at Marks Ranch in Salinas remains closed. For more information on how Marks Ranch served the community during the River Fire, read our Action Alert. Click here to see photos of the incident command center, the back burning operations and the aftermath of the fire.
Marks Ranch was once a major egg production ranch, and home of Benjamin and Nisene Marks, who settled there in 1890. Big Sur Land Trust purchased the ranch in 2007, protecting important wildlife corridors. We continue to care for its beautiful rolling hills, woodlands, meadows, grazing lands and 90 species of wildflowers.
In our recovery efforts from the River Fire, which burned Marks Ranch in August 2020, we have partnered with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as part of the Healthy Soils Program run through the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Recognizing that the health of the Marine Sanctuary is tied directly to the health of the land, this program helps working ranches and farmlands improve soil health and promote its ability to sequester carbon that cause ocean acidification and warming.
Much of the 816-acre ranch has become part of Toro Park. BSLT maintains its remaining 79-acres with the historic buildings in collaboration with Monterey County Parks. (The Hacienda is currently closed and secured for public safety.)
Since 2015, BSLT outdoor youth day camps have been held here, providing youngsters inspirational time in open spaces. And we hold our annual Race for Open Space at the ranch!