Nearly 60 years since its inception, The Sea Ranch continues to test the resilience of its founding ethos. Located three hours north of San Francisco along one of the state’s most beautiful coastlines, the famed community rose to prominence by bucking the typical development-driven imperatives and instead focusing on a “light on the land” building approach that would preserve the dramatic landscape. Here, rugged cliffs, prairie bluffs, and windswept cypress abut great stands of redwood trees that climb up and over a ridge toward the slow-moving, ocean-bound Gualala River.
It’s a difficult balancing act, and the environmental vision undergirding the Sea Ranch community has been repeatedly threatened over the decades. With a major restoration currently underway, the complex looks to be returning to its roots. But how deep will stakeholders be willing to go?