Shasta Land Trust is excited to announce the permanent protection of the 193-acre Hootman Ranch near Viola in Shasta County. Emma Mae Stroup had a vision for the property, a beautiful ranch along Bailey Creek with stunning views of Mt. Lassen. Emma wanted to ensure that her family's property forever remained as open space for grazing and wildlife habitat. She started working with the land trust nearly a decade ago to preserve her ranch. In 2008, Emma negotiated a conservation easement and, as an estate planning tool, her children pledged to donate that easement at the time of her death.
Sadly, Emma passed away recently. Her children, Florence "Flo" Davis and Robert Stroup, wanted to carry out their mother's wishes and complete the conservation easement on the family's Hootman Ranch. Thanks to their generosity, the ranch will continue to provide important water quality, open space, and wildlife habitat in the area.
Daughter Flo has vivid memories spent visiting her grandparents, who originally owned the ranch and raised cattle from 1916 to 1964, helping out with everything from building a water tower to feeding chickens. Her grandfather, whose last name was Hootman, built the small farm house on the ranch and used the brand "Bar 76" for his cattle. Flo always wondered why her grandmother got up so early in the morning; years later, she figured out that the kitchen stove was also the water heater. And even though her grandparents eventually put in a small electric range and water heater, her grandmother continued to use the old stove.
The ranch holds a special place in Flo's heart. She said that, "To Mom and Dad, the ranch became a sanctuary. We all loved to go there. Dad and I would fish in Bailey Creek when it had water, which was often. He taught me how to fly fish. Grandma would fry the fish for breakfast."
Flo remarked that the conservation easement and preservation of the ranch gives peace of mind to the family. The Hootman Ranch has historically been used for cattle grazing in a seasonally irrigated meadow and contains riparian habitat corridor along Bailey Creek, mixed conifer timberland, and abundant open space allowing migration and foraging for wildlife and bird species. The ranch also protects important scenic views along Highway 44.
The Shasta Land Trust is very grateful to the Davis and Stroup families for realizing their mother's dream of protecting this special place.