Places We Protect

Frank and Joan Randall Preserve

California

Clouds pour over the snow-covered Bear Mountain as the sun rises in Tehachapi, California United States.  
Bear Mountain Clouds pour over the snow-covered Bear Mountain as the sun rises in Tehachapi, California United States.   © Tyler Schiffman

The Frank and Joan Randall Preserve at the Tehachapi Mountains—an area five times the size of Manhattan—will enable greater movement and habitat connectivity for wildlife in the face of climate change.

The Frank and Joan Randall Preserve (3:20) Welcome to the Frank and Joan Randall Preserve at the Tehachapi Mountains. At over 70,000 acres, the preserve is TNC’s largest in California. This video tour demonstrates why this land is so important.

Overview

Description

The Tehachapi foothills have long been a lifeline for nature and people on the move. Just one hundred miles north of downtown Los Angeles, this vast stretch of land is a critical link in a wildlife corridor that spans not just California but the entire west coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska. The Randall Preserve is a critical lifeline for hundreds of species, including some of our state’s most iconic like the black bear, mountain lion, bobcat and endangered California condor. In the face of climate change, this region will be more important than ever. 

People also use the Tehachapi corridor. The preserve property is home to one of the seven railroad wonders of the world, the Tehachapi Loop, a historic loop of railroad that allows trains to climb the terrain's steep grade. This elevational gradiant is one of the things that makes this geography so important for climate resilience. 

At over 70,000 acres, the Randall Preserve is TNC’s largest preserve in California and it positions our organization to realize some of our most ambitious goals in connecting ecosystems across the state. 

Access

Limited Access

Location

Randall Preserve

Map with marker: The preserve sits at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and it’s part of a wildlife linkage.

Highlights

Blue oak, white fir, Jeffrey pine, mountain lion, California condor, golden eagle, migratory birds

Size

72,000 acres

Explore our work in California

Habitat Connectivity

Land fragmentation caused by highways and development is one of the most serious threats to wildlife in California. Along with climate change, these forces are compacting and altering species’ ranges. Fragmentation blocks species from the resources they need to survive like food and new mates, forcing many species to adapt by moving outside their traditional territory.  By protecting lands that allow wildlife to roam safely we can increase their chances of long-term survival. 

The Frank and Joan Randall Preserve

The Randall Preserve sits at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It’s part of a wildlife linkage that connects four of California’s most critical ecological regions: the Sierra Nevada, the Mojave Desert, the Central Valley, and the South Coast.

The sun is low behind the Sierra Mountains in California.
Sunlight filters through clouds on a chollas cactus and other plants in the Mojave Desert.
A wide, sweeping view of the Tehachapi Corridor.
Hills, trees, vegetation, and a distant trail with people on the coast south of Monterey.
A barn and cattle fence in front of the mountains in the heart of the Tehachapi corridor, California.

The Tehachapi wildlife corridor is also higher in elevation than surrounding areas, which makes it more climate-resilient. The area’s savanna and forests range in elevation from 800 to nearly 8,000 feet, sheltering many species with cooler temperatures. Science shows that species that prefer cool weather like blue oak are already moving up through the Tehachapi area. This unique region will be critical as the climate of California changes. 

The Randall Preserve supports tremendous biodiversity, and it's a true ecological stronghold. The preserve is a critical component of one of the most important wildlife corridors in the West.

Stewardship Manager

The Wildlife of Tehachapi

The Tehachapi linkage sustains a breathtaking mix of species not typically found in close proximity. Here, Joshua trees grow alongside valley oaks and mountain lions, bears and bobcats use the corridor to forage for food and mates.

An acorn woodpecker with an acorn in its beak lands on a branch.
Acorn Woodpecker Profile view of an acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivoru) with an acorn in its beak in western oak forest habitat, CA. © Brian E. Small
A young mountain lion looks back at the trail camera while walking way into the vegetation.
Mountain Lion Cub You can identify a mountain lion cub because of their camouflaging spots and rings around their tails that fade as they mature. © John Stuelpnagel
Acorn Woodpecker Profile view of an acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivoru) with an acorn in its beak in western oak forest habitat, CA. © Brian E. Small
Mountain Lion Cub You can identify a mountain lion cub because of their camouflaging spots and rings around their tails that fade as they mature. © John Stuelpnagel

The preserve’s hilly savannas also offer refuge to wildlife seeking safe passage between ecoregions. Birders will be pleased to know that the area is critical habitat for olive-sided flycatchers, Lawrence’s goldfinches and other migrating birds seeking water, food and rest during their long journeys.

A wide range of elevations also make the area an important ecological area in the face of climate change, as lower elevations become too hot for many plants and wildlife. Unique pockets of cooler habitats known as “sky islands” amass above the area’s hillsides and provide shelter for species that need cool weather like Jeffrey pine and white fir. 

A mature blue oak on a hill with a bright, cloudy sky.
Blue Oak Blue oaks play a key role in Central California ecosystems. © Ian Shive

Spotlight on the Blue Oak

The iconic blue oak tree also finds refuge at the Randall Preserve. As California warms, these giants are moving in search of cooler climates, simply by growing in new places. Lower elevations are becoming inhospitable to blue oaks. As they move toward the Sierra Nevada mountain range, so do the birds and omnivores that rely on the tree’s acorns and shady branches. 

Our Vision for the Future

The state of California has pledged to protect 30% of our natural lands before 2030, but science shows we must do more than protect isolated biodiversity hotspots. As climate change and other pressures force species to migrate, where the land is protected is just as important as how much land is protected. 

The Randall Preserve has secured more than 70,000 acres of habitat critical to local and regional ecology. It is TNC's largest preserve in California, and our vision for the preserve matches its size. The area’s intermix of species, elevation diversity and habitat make it a living laboratory where conservation strategies can be pioneered to help key ecosystems adapt to a changing climate. 

A map of central California outlining the new Frank and Joan Randall Preserve near Tejon Ranch.
Randall Preserve Map Frank & Joan Randall Preserve at the Tehachapi Mountains and surrounding lands. © TNC

Next Up: New Wildlife Crossings

In partnership with Caltrans, TNC will be working to retrofit an overpass to become a wildlife crossing over State Route 58. This wildlife linkage will reconnect habitat for mountain lions and other species whose ranges will need to expand in the face of climate change.

Make a Difference in California

Together, we can achieve transformative change on a scale that’s attainable—for California, and for the world.