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The Nature Education Center
at the Rodman Preserve

A nesting Great Blue Heron

Enjoying a guided hike at the
Rodman Preserve

Rodman Preserve and Nature Education Center

The Rodman Ranch and Preserve acquisition was the first project to be undertaken by the Lake County Land Trust. In 1999, the Trust purchased an option on the 442 acre property, located on the north end of Clear Lake, in Lake County, CA. The wetland areas of Rodman Preserve and the surrounding oak woodlands, are the home to a wide variety of wildlife, and at the time, included a large Great Blue Heron rookery, or nesting site. Clear Lake is the largest natural lake completely in California, and Rodman Preserve comprises a major portion of the Clear Lake basin watershed, collecting drainages from several creeks before it pours into the north end of Clear Lake.

The main purpose of the acquisition project was to preserve the natural habitat of the Rodman Ranch and Preserve and to facilitate the continued health and existence of the many nesting, breeding, and feeding areas for wildlife. The Trust organized the "Adopt-A-Nest" fundraiser which raised close to $40,000 from mostly local donors. 

Wetlands at Rodman Preserve

This enabled the Trust to pay for the option and provided a timeline of one year to accomplish the acquisition.

The Land Trust was able to pull together funding from a variety of sources to purchase this important wildlife area. Grants were received from the California Department of Fish and Game through the Wildlife Conservation Board, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Service, the County of Lake, and the State Department of Parks and Recreation. The Conservation Fund, a national conservation organization, also assisted the Trust by providing bridge financing until the the project could be completed. Private owners, long-time Lake County residents and farmers, bought a portion of the property for vineyard development, which was completed in an environmentally sensitive manner, leaving majestic valley oaks and other habitat in place.

Oak and wetland habitat at Rodman Preserve

The Trust completed the project in the Fall of 1999. The acquisition was celebrated at the Trust's first annual dinner held in October of 1999.

As a result of the acquisition project, the Lake County Land Trust holds title to 132 acres of property, the California Department of Fish and Game owns 108 acres, the County of Lake owns 40 acres (the area at the mouth of Rodman Slough) and Rodman Ranch Vineyard owns 162 acres.

The Trust manages the property for wildlife values and has a standing committee involved with trail development, signage, and management.  Field trips are held every Saturday, and special field trips can be arranged by contacting the Lake County Land Trust. The property is not open to the public on an unrestricted basis because of the sensitivity of wildlife habitat, but the Trust attempts to provide public access when requested and during special events. The goal is to develop appropriate trails, signage, and public access areas that are compatible with the needs of wildlife.

Rodman Preserve Nature Education Center

The Rodman Preserve Nature Education Center was completed in 2007. The center was originally a small ranch house but was quite run-down after many years of abandonment. After purchasing the Rodman property, with funding from the Wildlife Conservation Board (Department of Fish and Game), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Service, the County of Lake, the State Department of Parks and Recreation and local donations, the Land Trust moved forward with the development of the Nature Education Center.

Funded by local donations, the center is the focal point of the Rodman Preserve. Nature walks are held every Saturday, starting at the center, and interpretive displays of local wildlife are on view. The center holds quarterly events presented by experts on topics ranging from the oak trees of Lake County, to migrating and resident birds, to the insects and other fauna that occupy the wetlands on the property. As funding and volunteer participation becomes available the hours of the center will be expanded.

(Events at the Rodman Preserve ...)

Rodman News and Nature

For News and Nature at Rodman Preserve,
Click here 

The Rodman Preserve is located at 6350 Westlake Road, Upper Lake, CA 95485.  From California State Highway 29, turn east onto the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff; then left onto Westlake Road.  The entrance to the Preserve is just past the corner of Westlake Road and the Cutoff.  The Preserve is open on Saturday mornings for guided walks, starting at 9 a.m., September through May, and 8 a.m., June through August.  See our home page for directions.

Because of the need to preserve sensitive wildlife habitat and nesting areas, the Preserve is open for guided hikes only at this time.  For information about the walks, please call Gaye Allen at (707) 928-4590 or Roberta Lyons at (707) 994-2024.

For information about the Rodman Ranch and Preserve, or to volunteer to work with the Rodman Preserve committee on improvement projects, call the Lake County Land Trust at (707) 262-0707.

List of Capital Campaign donors


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