A Family's Commitment to Rangeland Conservation

Stories of the land are inextricably woven with the people who care for it. Each generation carries forward familial values of stewardship and an ingrained desire to leave the land in better condition than when they found it. But as times change and the open landscape disappears, the pressure rises to do more to protect what remains. Many landowners are partnering with the Rangeland Trust to conserve their ranches for future generations. And then there are others, like the Sinton Family of Avenales Ranch, who go even further in their commitment.

Jim Sinton's earliest memories are of working with the cowboys gathering wild horses and cattle on the ranch pieced together by his grandfather in the late 1800s. This year Jim turned 100 years old with pride in a lifetime spent intimately involved in caring for the animals, the land and his family. Jim shared his love of the land with his children, Patricia, Gail, and Steve. Like his father, Steve brought up his own kids, Julie and Daniel, on the ranch, and now Daniel is raising the sixth generation of Sintons here. Still, more than land has passed from generation to generation. Values of duty and stewardship were instilled as well.

This summer the Rangeland Trust closed a conservation easement on the 12,482-acre Avenales Ranch, yet the Sinton Family had been working toward preserving California's beloved landscapes long before. In fact, four generations of Sintons have supported the Rangeland Trust—now the largest land trust in California, and still partnering exclusively with the ranching community to protect their working landscapes.

Steve became a founding member of the Rangeland Trust in 1998 and still serves, now as an emeritus director. A few years later, Jim made a pivotal investment toward a long, successful future for the organization. Everyone in the Sinton family has followed Jim's example and given generously to support our work, and helped bring new donors and friends into the Rangeland Trust family.

Today, Daniel serves on the Rangeland Trust's board of directors and actively engages his children in our activities. Steve and Daniel both advocated for the creation of a planned giving program, which we were able to launch earlier this year, so that others could join in to ensure a strong and vibrant future for the Rangeland Trust, protecting what matters for generations of future ranchers in California. Then Steve and his wife Jane were among the first to make a planned gift commitment to the Rangeland Trust with a future allocation in their IRA.

Jim once said: "We are but stewards of the land, and our stewardship should leave it in better condition than when we found it." It recalls the words of Thoreau: "In wildness is the preservation of the world." Through their commitments to the Rangeland Trust, the Sinton Family has built a legacy of such preservation, and a future for ranching in California. We are grateful for their vision.

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