The historic Ratto Ranch near Sonora will be protected from development in perpetuity thanks to the current property owners and a local preservation group.
The Tuolumne County Land Trust announced the signing of a conservation easement for the 238-acre ranch, nestled against Table Mountain west of Sonora's Racetrack Road neighborhood.
The easement protects the scenic grazing land and will prevent any future owners from subdividing or developing the property for any activities not carried out on the property today.
"It's a pristine piece of property, and I'd just hate to see development take place on something like that," said Alton McRae, who owns the ranch with his wife, Janis.
McRae's late wife was a member of the Ratto family. When she died, he was left with the property.
McRae grew up in the area and worked in ranching, baling hay on the Ratto property as a teenager.
"We always prided ourselves on good stewardship of the land," said McRae, who lives in Mariposa.
For the full story, see the June 24, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.