Pacific Union College and Save Rural Angwin Mend Relationship for Conservation Easement

By Jennifer Tyner on October 3, 2017

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It is not uncommon for small towns, local institutions, and rural communities throughout the nation to partner on ways to build on local assets, strengthen their economies, and provide better quality of life residents.

Yet, here in Angwin, Calif., an unincorporated village in the Napa Valley, PUC administration and local residents have been at odds for years over the future of the 3,000-plus residential town on Howell Mountain.

PUC and Save Rural Angwin (SRA) are now committed to work together to protect and preserve the rural setting. Moving forward, leaders have pledged to focus on collaborative efforts to address issues affecting Angwin and the greater Napa Valley.

This summer, PUC administrators and SRA leadership met at President Bob Cushman’s Angwin home. Over a home cooked meal of cottage cheese loaf and roasted vegetables, the group expressed their hopes and dreams for their shared community. PUC administrators conveyed a desire to work with SRA on initiatives to safeguard Angwin’s rural character.

“We look forward to partnering with our neighbors to preserve Angwin’s unique and irreplaceable natural environment,” said Dr. Cushman.

One such initiative is the forest conservation easement and management project. Along with the Land Trust of Napa County, PUC and SRA have joined efforts to raise funds to permanently protect over 850 acres of Angwin forestland. The easement will keep the land from being developed for agriculture, commercial, or residential. The groups are in agreement that the natural resources, recreation opportunities, and educational attributes of Angwin and the PUC forest make a significant contribution to the valley as a whole.

“This renewed level of cooperation between SRA, who represents the residents in Angwin, and the leadership now present at PUC, is a breath of fresh air for the community at large,” said Mike Hackett, SRA chair. “We intend to work in a collaborative fashion to weave together common interests and goals."

On September 22, Dr. Cushman and Mr. Hackett met with County Supervisor Diane Dillon to share with her their mutual interest in partnering together to further the best interest of the Angwin community. This meeting laid the groundwork for future conversations about how we might work together more effectively for the future of our Howell Mountain community.

To learn more about the PUC forest and the conservation easement project, visit