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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Gualala Arts Lecture Series presents:
Preserving Sonoma County's Incomparable North Coast

with Ralph Benson, Amy Chesnut and Pete Mattson
of the Sonoma Land Trust

Monday, July 14, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
$5 donation requested

Gualala Arts will host a lecture featuring Ralph Benson, Amy Chesnut and Pete Mattson of the Sonoma Land Trust on Monday, July 14 at 7:00 p.m. The Sonoma Land Trust is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to protect forever the scenic, natural, agricultural and open landscapes of Sonoma County. A $5 donation for the lecture is requested.

Jenner Headlands Since its founding in 1976, the Sonoma Land Trust has permanently protected more than 19,000 acres of land throughout Sonoma County. This evening, Sonoma Land Trust executive director Ralph Benson, acquisitions director Amy Chesnut, and Sea Ranch resident and Land Trust board chair Peter Mattson will talk about the Trust's current efforts on the North Coast. They will focus on the planned acquisition of the 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands property, which will be managed as a "Working Landscape Open Space Preserve."

Located where the Russian River meets the sea, and forming a critical piece of the protected land puzzle along the Sonoma Coast, the Jenner Headlands has it all - an oceanfront location, coastal hills, multiple watersheds, redwood forests, fantastic vistas and more!

It's a place where:

    Jenner Headlands
  • Families will be able to hike along gently sloping terraces, gaze at the ocean in search of migrating whales, or simply spread out a blanket and enjoy the serenity of the Sonoma Coast;

  • Numerous species will raise their young in the safe embrace of the 3,500-acre forest;

  • More than 2.5 miles bordering Highway One will create a more scenic and sheltered segment of the California Coastal Trail; and

  • Clear and clean water will provide refuge for endangered coho and steelhead salmon.

In this era of dwindling resources for state parklands, the Sonoma Land Trust is planning to take on ownership and stewardship of the Jenner Headlands and will be launching a fundraising campaign this summer to purchase the property.

Ralph Benson is the executive director of the Sonoma Land Trust, having come on board in 2003 just as the Land Trust was acquiring a site that had been proposed as a casino on San Pablo Bay. Today, the Land Trust owns more than 6,000 acres of land at that southern tip of Sonoma County and is managing one of the largest tidal wetlands restoration programs in the nation.

Peter Mattson and Ralph Benson
Pete Mattson & Ralph Benson
Ralph has had a long career in land conservation. He practiced law in Southern California and spent 24 years at the Trust for Public Land (TPL) in San Francisco where he served as general counsel, executive vice president and chief operating officer. He helped build TPL into one of the nation's leading organizations that is conserving land for people to enjoy.

Amy Chesnut
Amy Chesnut
Amy Chesnut, acquisitions director at the Sonoma Land Trust, has worked in land conservation for the past 15 years. A real estate lawyer, she has also worked at the Nature Conservancy, Pacific Forest Trust, and Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District.

Peter Mattson holds an MBA from UC Berkeley and now consults in the food and beverage industry, having sold his business to his employees in 1999. While working in product development, his clients included Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Foster Farms and General Mills. He serves on the development committee of the Beckman Vision Institute of UCSF and is past president of the Sea Ranch owners association.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.