Swanton Pacific Ranch (SPR) is a 3,200-acre fully operational ranch, including forested lands, located 12 miles north of Santa Cruz, California, and 200 miles north of the California Polytechnic State university, San Luis Obispo main campus. Even though the property is 200 miles from the main campus, it is used extensively for experiential learning activities. SPR was first established as a Mexican land grant in 1843. Since that time, it has had several owners and has been a dairy, and had several agricultural operations including growing crops, such as artichokes, brussels sprouts, and also cattle operations. The area was logged from 1905-1923 to rebuild San Francisco after the earthquake and fire in 1906. In the 1930's it was a boy scout camp. Albert Smith began buying what is now Swanton Pacific Ranch in 1943. In 1986 he entered a cooperative lease agreement with Cal Poly for use by College of Agriculture students for "learn by doing" activities. In 1993, when Al Smith passed away, he left the Ranch to Cal Poly. His goal was "to see this place kept intact and natural, a lab and a classroom for the college of Agriculture of 'learn by doing.'" For more information on the history of Swanton Pacific Ranch, please refer to their Web page (www.spranch.org) SPR is made up of approximately 125 acres of irrigated land, 1,900 acres of rangeland, and 500 acres of redwood and Douglas-fir forests.
Gill, Samantha J.
"Experiential learning at California Polytechnic State University's Swanton Pacific Ranch,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 9, Article 24.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol9/iss1/24