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BIG SUR, CA-The nonprofit Trust for Public Land and the U.S. Forest Service have acquired the final 325 acres of the historic 1,255-acre Brazil Ranch. It will now become part of the Los Padres National Forest.

Also known as the Bixby Ocean Ranch and located 13 miles south of Carmel, Brazil Ranch was set to be split into nine separate properties and sold for residential development. Reed Holderman, state executive director of the trust, credits the California Coastal Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund with making donations toward the purchase.

A low-interest loan from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation along with a $2.5 million gift from an anonymous donor also played a big part in the acquisition, he says.Holderman named state Sen. Bruce McPherson, R-Santa Cruz, and state Assemblyman Fred Keeley, D-Boulder Creek, in particular, because the two legislators co-authored a request for $5 million for the purchase.

The Brazil Ranch is named for the pioneer family that worked the land for nearly a century as a farm, ranch and dairy operation. In 1977, Allen Funt of “Candid Camera” fame, purchased the property from Tony and Margaret Brazil and operated it as a cattle ranch and horse breeding facility until prospective developers bought it in 2000.

In October of that year, the Trust for Public Land stepped in to keep the land off the market and secure funding for a public acquisition. The U.S. Forest Service acquired 930 acres of the property from the trust in February and today’s completion of the ranch purchase creates an 11-mile stretch of permanently protected coastline.

The coastal property stretches from the Bixby Bridge south through Andrew Molera State Park and bordering the offshore California Sea Otter State Game Refuge.

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