Swanton Pacific Ranch (SPR) is a 3,200-acre ranch in Santa Cruz County, California overlooking the bay and the Pacific Ocean. The ranch was donated to the university in 1993 by the Cal Poly alumnus Al Smith. SPR is a learning laboratory which employs Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing philosophy. It fosters research projects conducted by students, staff, and faculty from Cal Poly and from other universities; governmental entities; and non-profits.
The CZU Lightning Complex fire swept through the ranch on August 19-20, 2020. It destroyed much of SPR and its structures and halted programs. The Cal Poly community is working with partners to rebuild.