Custodians of the Sierra: Eastern Sierra Land Trust's Role


Eastern Sierra Land Trust works with willing landowners to protect vital lands in the Eastern Sierra region for their scenic, agricultural, natural, recreational, historical, and watershed values. COURTESY PHOTO


By Andrea Stewart, Eastern Sierra Land Trust

In the heart of the Eastern Sierra, a little girl traces her fingers over the bark of an ancient tree. She peers up at the towering peaks, her heart brimming with a sense of awe and wonder. Her adventure, embedded in the abundant wildlife, diverse landscapes, and rich history, is part of a larger narrative being written by Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT).

Imagine the melodies of birds echoing in the wind, the dance of deer through the forest, and the gentle ripple of trout navigating clear streams. This intricate tapestry of life has inspired countless children, fostering connections to the land and seeding future conservationists. Not only these vistas, but these farms and ranches stitched into the fabric of the Eastern Sierra are not just scenic backdrops, but productive and integral parts of our local economy.

However, these wild, breathtaking canvases face threats – the pressures of development and fragmentation. With increasing pressures to subdivide and develop, the working lands and wildlife habitats risk disappearing forever.

Since 2001, ESLT has been the guardian of every kid’s playground. We’ve committed ourselves to unite with forward- thinking landowners, government agencies, and conservation enthusiasts, each committed to preserving the Eastern Sierra for the children of tomorrow.

The journey hasn’t been simple. We stand shoulder to shoulder with over 1,300 land trusts nationwide, conserving more than 56 million acres nationally, including scenic areas, hiking trails, critical wildlife habitats, and historic landmarks. Thanks to the generous support of charitable donations and grants, land trusts nationwide are able to keep these special places protected.



ESLT, committed to excellence, maintains rigorous national accreditation that testifies to our perseverance, dedication, and commitment to uphold the highest standards of excellence, and ensuring our conservation work is permanent. The primary tool at ESLT is the conservation easement, a voluntary agreement that empowers landowners to protect their land’s biodiversity, agricultural, or cultural values. This tool enables them to safeguard their property from damaging subdivision or incompatible land use while retaining their title and management rights.

Our initiatives extend beyond paperwork. They are tangible, visible as you travel up or down the iconic Highway 395. The landscapes stretching out before you, the lush wildlife habitats, and the historic farms and ranches are vibrant testimonies to our collective conservation efforts.

Yet, the canvas isn’t complete. As the threats to the region’s landscapes amplify, our resolve to shield these natural treasures intensifies. Together, we can continue to write the conservation story that each young child lives.

Each time you journey along Highway 395, remember: you’re not just witnessing nature’s spectacle, you’re a part of a collective effort to preserve it. You are a vital piece of the story that ESLT and every partner is writing – a story of unity, perseverance, and enduring respect for the natural world. Together, we can secure the legacy of the Eastern Sierra, ensuring its legacy remains an indelible part of children and their world and that of countless others yet to come.

Join us in our mission, keeping these landscapes for future generations, ensuring that the wild heart of the Eastern Sierra remains a haven for both wildlife and people, today and always. To learn more and join us in protecting the Eastern Sierra, visit: