Visiting Modini Preserve
A favorite spot for birding (download our bird checklist here), the Preserve is traversed by Pine Flat Road, a public county road. Visitors can enjoy the views and birdwatch from roadside pullouts anytime without appointment.
See the calendar for other visiting opportunities. Off-road, self-guided hiking is not allowed on the preserve.
Diverse lands and healthy waters in the Russian River Watershed
The 3125-acre Modini Preserve is core to 12,000 acres of contiguous habitat in the Mayacamas Mountains that are protected under conservation easements. The Preserve’s elevation ranges from 400–2800 feet, contributing to a mosaic of diverse vegetation communities and soil types.
The Preserve is a mix of oak woodlands, pine forests, grasslands, chaparral, riparian forests, natural springs, streams and serpentine outcrops that support several rare plants (download preserve plant list here).
The area is home to deer, black bears, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, grey foxes, nesting golden eagles, northwestern pond turtles, and foothill yellow-legged frogs, as well as many birds. Rare plants on the property include Greene’s narrow-leaved daisy, St. Helena fawn lily, and green jewel-flower. The peaks, ridges, ravines, and valleys here are part of three healthy watersheds, which all drain to the Russian River.
A favorite spot for birding, the Modini Preserve is traversed by Pine Flat Road, a public county road that meanders through the Preserve allowing visitors to enjoy the views and birdwatch from roadside public pullouts.
The preserve has experienced frequent wildfire, most recently, the 2019 Kincade fire.
History of the land
Modini Preserve is within the ancestral territories of the Miwok, Southern Pomo, and Wappo peoples.
The Preserve is a merger of two neighboring properties previously named McCord Ranch North (1,375-acres) and Modini Ranch (1,725-acres), protected in 1994 and 2000 respectively by the landowners with Forever Wild conservation easements held by Sonoma County Ag + Open Space. Ownership of both properties was transferred to Audubon Canyon Ranch in 2012 by National Audubon Society (McCord) and the estate of Jim and Shirley Modini.
Stewarding the land for resilience
We steward the land and waters for climate resilience in order to maintain and improve biodiversity and protect and restore the ecological functions upon which all life depends. Our primary stewardship activities include reducing the risk of catastrophic canopy fires by removing ladder fuels in mature oak stands and promoting the establishment and growth of naturally regenerating seedlings and saplings. Implementing erosion control practices to limit runoff of sediment into the preserve’s waterways is a priority for us to protect water quality.
In our grasslands we are using prescribed fire to reduce invasive medusahead, and throughout the preserve, are working to control populations of invasive plants, including yellow starthistle, St. John’s wort, woolly mullein, and others.