The Race for Open Space is a fun trail run/walk that promotes healthy outdoor recreation in connection to our local landscapes while raising funds to support our work in the community. You can register as a fundraising or non-fundraising participant, and you can also register to fundraise without participating in the race. All race participants will receive post-race refreshments, a chance to win some great raffle prizes, and a goody bag and event-themed race bib (while supplies last).
(This trail race takes place in April each year. Visit race website link below for details.)
Location: California, United States
Nearby City: Salinas
Race Length: 10 km (6.2 mi)
1,100 feet (+177 ft/mi)
Elevation Loss: 1,100 feet (-177 ft/mi)
75% dirt trails, 25% dirt roads, 0% paved
Race Length: 5 km (3.1 mi)
550 feet (+177 ft/mi)
Elevation Loss: 550 feet (-177 ft/mi)
High Point: 900 feet
50% dirt trails, 50% dirt roads, 0% paved
Race Length: 2.5 km (1.6 mi)
0% dirt trails, 100% dirt roads, 0% paved
Website URL: http://www.bigsurlandtrust.org/event-race-for-open... (opens new window)
Race Director: bigsurlandtrust
Phone: 831-625-5523 x 114
About the property: Marks Ranch has a rich history, having been originally settled by Benjamin and Nisene Marks in 1890. Suddenly widowed, Nisene raised chickens to support her family, eventually building one of the largest egg ranches in California. During the Race for Open Space, you will pass several historic structures that were used by the Marks Family during their ranching days. These include Grandpa's House, the Hacienda, an Incubator House, an Egg Pond, and the Dance Hall. In addition to its historical importance, Marks Ranch provides a vital wildlife corridor between the Sierra de Salinas and Fort Ord conservation lands, a significant regional connection. Deer and small mammals, as well as coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions find habitat on the property. Open grasslands provide excellent foraging opportunities for a variety of songbirds and raptors. California quail and turkeys also make their home on the ranch. Amazingly, Marks Ranch is also home to 90 species of wildflowers!
Big Sur Land Trust purchased the 816-acre Marks Ranch property in 2007 to protect the ranch's rich history (both natural and socio-cultural). Most of this land, especially the back country, has been transferred to Toro County Park. Big Sur Land Trust retains the front 73 acres of the ranch, except Grandpa's House. You might see cow paddies on the land--that's because Big Sur Land Trust maintains a 600-acre conservation grazing lease on the property. Big Sur Land Trust also hosts Youth Outdoor Programs at Marks Ranch during the Fall and Spring school semesters.
Come run, walk, and explore the majesty of the ranch on one of the following trail options:
2.5K (8:45am): This trail takes you around the Avalon Flats, a relatively flat loop winding through pastoral oak woodlands and meadows. The Avalon Flats pass by and near historic structures and points of interest including the hacienda, incubator house, dance hall, and Grandpa’s House. This is the perfect trail for beginners and families with young children to connect with the land.
5K (7:45am): This trail takes you through the gently-sloping Avalon Flats through oak woodlands and past historic structures to the steep Robert V. and Patricia M. Brown Overlook, a moderately strenuous loop through meadows with a spectacular hilltop view. The breathtaking panorama of the entire Marks Ranch and Salinas Valley makes the trek uphill well worth the effort.
10K (7:30am): This trail is a rugged course that crosses through most of the property and all of the many habitats represented at Marks Ranch, including oak savannas, canyon forests, and grassy meadows. Be prepared for a true back-country adventure run: steep hills, sweeping vistas, challenging terrain, and colorful wildflowers await you on this trail.
Note: We love your four-legged friends as much as you do, but unfortunately Marks Ranch is not a dog-friendly property.
Race Reports For Big Sur Land Trust's Race for Open Space
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Submitted On: 1/07/2019
By: bigsurlandtrust (Race Director)