Marks Ranch | Salinas

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. Learn more about the history and ecology of these conserved lands with this amazing interactive story map!

In 2023, students from the Middlebury Social Impact Corps at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies immersed themselves in studying and experiencing Marks Ranch. They spent over 600 volunteer hours creating this story map which presents original research and institutional knowledge in an engaging, easy to use format. If you’d like to learn more about these inspiring humans, you can see their bios here. We are beyond grateful for all of their efforts! 

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!

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