Spend time enjoying the Eastern Sierra, and you’ll watch the landscape come alive. Here, golden desert mesas and sagebrush steppe teem with species like pronghorn, pygmy rabbit, and bobcat. The rare Bi-State sage-grouse meanwhile raises their chicks on the green irrigated meadows in places like Bridgeport Valley. These valley ecosystems rise suddenly to towering peaks, creating homes for species like black bear, the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, and Sierra Nevada red fox. Migratory species like mule deer meanwhile travel among these different landscapes throughout each year.
By supporting ESLT, you have a direct positive impact on all of the Eastern Sierra’s iconic wildlife. That’s exactly why ESLT was founded: to enable caring people like you to protect land in this region for people and wildlife, forever.
ESLT was founded in 2001 by residents who wished to protect the Swall Meadows migration corridor. The Round Valley mule deer herd embarks every spring and fall on a migration journey through a treacherous bottleneck in Swall Meadows. This bottleneck is only one mile wide, with Wheeler Crest rising dramatically on one side, Owens River Gorge dropping off on the other, and the busy Highway 395 running in between. ESLT’s visionary founders worked with their neighbors and community to secure early donations and to complete ESLT’s first conservation easements. Thanks to your ongoing support, much of this migration corridor remains open and healthy for deer today.
ESLT continues to work with landowners to preserve the diverse types of land our wildlife relies on, from mountain meadows and waterways to ranches and farms.
By supporting ESLT, you protect working ranches like Hunewill Ranch in wide, irrigated valleys. This Bridgeport Valley ranch contains a migration corridor and summer grazing land for the East Walker and Mono mule deer herds. The rare and iconic Bi-State sage-grouse nest in the ranch’s sagebrush steppe and raise chicks in its wet meadows. These species rely on Hunewill Ranch, and so do black bear, American badger, and many more. Thanks to generous supporters like you, this special Eastern Sierra place is protected forever with a conservation easement as of fall 2020.
You also protect places like Black Lake Preserve, which is a critical stopover for migratory shorebirds like Wilson’s phalarope, American avocet, and black-necked stilt. Black Lake Preserve and Hunewill Ranch are within Audubon-designated Important Bird Areas, part of an international effort to identify, conserve, and monitor a network of sites that provide essential habitat for bird populations.
The land you protect also benefits mountain species like Sierra Nevada red fox and the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. That’s because protecting migration corridors along with vast valley areas like Sceirine Point Ranch provides important buffer zones for these species. Protected valley land provides a buffer that also keeps mountain ecosystems healthy.
The road to permanent protection is often a lengthy, complex process. Still, once these special places are protected forever for wildlife, that’s when we say “the real work begins.” That’s because ESLT is obligated to monitor a protected property annually and in perpetuity, making sure the conservation purposes are upheld.
Your support powers this work. Thanks to you, we can fulfill a profound promise to our region: to care for special places like Hunewill Ranch, Black Lake Preserve, and many more, forever. You enable the ongoing stewardship and annual monitoring that these landscapes require. We have more acres in our protection queue, and your ongoing support ensures that they can all be saved and cared for forever.