Public Release: 

Gold mining firm gives $1 million to natural reserve

University of California - Davis

The gold-mining firm that donated land in the 1990s to establish the Donald and Sylvia McLaughlin Natural Reserve today gave $1 million to support the reserve for decades to come.

"Homestake Mining Company collaborated with the University of California and the Davis campus to create this reserve," said Be-Be Adams, manager of community and government relations for Homestake's parent company, Barrick Gold Corp. "With this endowment, Barrick will make the reserve strong, now and in the future."

The gift will establish the Barrick-McLaughlin Legacy Fund. Proceeds from the fund's investments will support operations and maintenance at the reserve.

"This endowment will help the reserve to reach its fullest potential for addressing society's needs for environmental education, open space and scientific research," said Susan Harrison, a UC Davis professor of environmental science and policy and the faculty director of the UC Davis Natural Reserve System.

The McLaughlin Reserve consists of 6,940 acres in Napa, Yolo and Lake counties, about a two-hour drive from Davis. It includes the Putah Creek and Cache Creek watersheds.

Homestake mined gold on the property from the mid-1980s until 2001, extracting more than 3 million ounces of gold. In 1993, the mining firm signed an agreement with the University of California to establish the McLaughlin Reserve on 300 acres of the property. In subsequent years, the remaining 6,600-plus acres were added to the reserve.

The McLaughlin Reserve is remarkable among environmental field stations in North America for its size, geological and ecological richness, and its location within a large wild landscape. Plus, its proximity to Lake County schools provides an opportunity for reaching out to a community with relatively little access to environmental education.

Although relatively young, the McLaughlin Reserve already supports a strong research, teaching and outreach program, including:

  • more than 40 ongoing scientific research projects;
  • visits by numerous university courses;
  • lectures and guided field trips to several hundred public visitors per year;
  • partnership with Lake County Office of Education to develop K-12 student field trips and teacher workshops;
  • partnership in the annual Lake County Fair Science and Discovery Center, and in developing a Lake County Children's Discovery Museum.

The University of California's Natural Reserve System is the largest and most diverse set of university-owned-and-operated reserves in the world. UC's 35 reserves provide secure sites for long-term environmental research, education and public outreach.

The UC Davis campus administers six reserves: Donald and Sylvia McLaughlin Reserve, Bodega Marine Reserve, Eagle Lake Field Station, Jepson Prairie Reserve, Quail Ridge Reserve and Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve.


Visitors to the McLaughlin Reserve are welcome on organized public events or through arrangement with the reserve directors, Paul Aigner and Cathy Koehler, who can be reached at (707) 995-9005 or

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