Fact Sheet: Central Coast

Fact Sheet: Central Coast

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CalWild has found the following lands to be wilderness eligible, as that term is defined by the Wilderness Act of 1964:

 

Caliente Mountain Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: Southern Carrizo Plain National Monument, San Luis Obispo County, north of Highway 166. Encompasses the existing Caliente Mountain Wilderness Study Area.
  • Size: 35,619 acres
  • Management agency: Bureau of Land Management, Bakersfield Field Office
  • Values: includes the highest peak in San Luis Obispo County at 5,104 feet. Tule elk and endangered San Joaquin kit fox and blunt-nosed leopard lizard live there, along with several rare plants.

A pregnant female leopard lizard. Photo by Mike Westphal, BLM.

Chumash Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: Los Padres National Forest, Ventura County, south of the existing Chumash Wilderness and north of the existing Sespe Wilderness and Lockwood Valley Road and east of Highway 33.
  • Size: 23,670 acres
  • Management agency: United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest
  • Values: Contains unique rock formations that form arid “badlands” characterized by sparse vegetation and innumerable narrow, deep and eroded canyons. The badlands have yielded fossils from the Miocene era, including pig-like peccaries, turtles, three-toed horses, an antelope-like creature called merycodus, camels and a four-tusked ancestor of mammoths called Gomphotherium among other finds. This area is now home to pronghorn, tule elk, San Joaquin kit fox, black bear, southern spotted owl and California condor. Mount Pinos in the existing Chumash Wilderness and the land around it are sacred territory to the Chumash People. The journey to the top of the mountain from surrounding areas, such as the proposed wilderness additions, was part of the spiritual experience. At least four villages existed in the area during the pre-contact period.

Diablo Caliente Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County, north of Highway 101 and Carpinteria, and west of Highway 33 and the existing Matilija Wilderness.
  • Size: 17,870 acres
  • Management agency: United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest
  • Values: Home to 16 rare plant and wildlife species, including the California condor and Palmer’s mariposa lily. Noted for its striking rock formations. Seasonal streams, including Caliente Creek and Diablo Canyon, offer welcome shade and water.

Photo: Jeff Jones

Dick Smith Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: Los Padres National Forest, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Four units (Buckhorn, Mono, Bear Canyon, Cuyama Peak) two of which are located to the south and southwest of the existing Dick Smith Wilderness, west of the existing Matilija Wilderness and Highway 33, and two of which are located to the north and east of the existing Dick Smith Wilderness, west of Highway 33.
  • Size: 54,036 acres
  • Management agency: United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest
  • Values: Buckhorn Creek and Mono Creek flow year-round. The area contains large, beautiful sandstone outcrops, towering canyon walls, occasional deep pools of water and striking limestone outcrops. The area provides habitat for more than 30 sensitive plant and animal species, including blunt-nosed leopard lizard, California jewel-flower, California condor, Kern primrose sphinx moth (a species once thought to be extinct), least Bell’s vireo, and arroyo toad, among others. The San Joaquin kit fox, one of California’s most iconic endangered species with its huge ears and small stature, also calls the area home. The area also holds one of the largest populations of southwestern pond turtles in the Los Padres. The area contains cave art and shrines created by the Chumash.

Photo: Jeff Jones.

Garcia Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: Los Padres National Forest, San Luis Obispo County. Four units, one of which is located on the northwest side of the existing Garcia Wilderness, south of Pozo Road and three of which are located around the southern side of the existing Garcia Wilderness, south/southwest of Avenales Ranch Road.
  • Size: 7,289 acres
  • Management agency: United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest
  • Values: Beautiful oak woodlands and grasslands serve as important foraging habitat for raptors. The headwaters of the Salinas and Huasna Rivers originate along the flanks of Garcia Mountain. Many seasonal tributaries of the Salinas River have shady streamside groves of hardwoods that serve as true oases during the sweltering summer months. The endangered condor forages in the proposed additions. The area’s numerous erosion-caused caves, cavities, and ledges may once again serve as a nesting-ground for the majestic bird. Golden eagles already nest there.

Machesna Mountain Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: Los Padres National Forest, San Luis Obispo County. Three units are on the northern boundary of the existing Machesna Mountain Wilderness and south of Highway 58. A fourth unit is on the southern boundary of the existing Machesna Mountain Wilderness.
  • Size: 8,774 acres (11,133 acres, if the Machesna Mountain Potential Wilderness is included. It is the intent of the legislation that the Machesna Mountain Potential Wilderness become a part of the Machesna Mountain Wilderness at some point in the future.)
  • Management agency: United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest
  • Values: Striking red outcrops of rock, oak woodlands, seasonal wetlands and groves of pine and fir. Condors forage in the area, which is adjacent to a condor release site.

Photo By Jeff Jones.

Matilija Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: Los Padres National Forest, almost entirely in Ventura County (and a very small portion in Santa Barbara County). Four units. The unit on the northern boundary of the existing Matilija Wilderness is located south of the existing Dick Smith Wilderness and west of Highway 33. The unit on the southern boundary of the existing Matilija Wilderness is located north/northeast of Carpinteria. The units on the eastern boundary of the existing Matilija Wilderness are to the west of Highway 33.
  • Size: 30,184 acres
  • Management agency: United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest
  • Values: Seasonal streams, oak woodlands, expansive grasslands and habitat for sixteen sensitive plant and animal species, including California condor, California red-legged frog, California satintail, hoary bat, Ojai fritillary, pale-yellow layia and Palmer’s mariposa-lily among others. Includes the Dry Lakes Ridge Botanical Area. The “Dry Lakes” are seasonal ponds that shelter four ice age-relict plant species that do not occur anywhere else in the region as well as rare groves of ponderosa pines.

San Rafael Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: Two units in the Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara County, on the north side of the existing San Rafael Wilderness. A third unit (Fox Mountain Potential Wilderness) is located to the southeast of the other two units. All units are located south of Highway 166.
  • Size: 23,969 acres (65,051 acres, if the Fox Mountain Potential Wilderness is included. It is the intent of the legislation that the Fox Mountain Unit become a part of the San Rafael Wilderness at some point in the future.)
  • Management agency: United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest
  • Values: Oak woodlands and grasslands offer critical foraging areas for deer, California condor and several other species. The proposed additions contain several rare plant species found nowhere else in the world, including Blakley’s spineflower, discovered by the late LPNF historian Jim Blakley. In addition, the area provides habitat for 21 sensitive species, including blunt-nosed leopard lizard, Fort Tejon woolly sunflower, giant kangaroo rat, Mount Pinos onion, Nelson’s antelope squirrel, San Joaquin kit fox and San Joaquin woollythreads among others. The area possesses many important cultural values, including some of the best known examples of Chumash rock art in the region. Some of these sites are included in the National Register of Historic Places. Native Americans continue to use the area for traditional cultural practices.

Santa Lucia Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: Los Padres National Forest, San Luis Obispo County, north of the existing Santa Lucia Wilderness near Pippin Corner and Pozo and south of Pozo Road.
  • Size: 2,921 acres
  • Management agency: United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest
  • Values: The area contains very fine oak woodlands and meadows that are being quickly developed elsewhere in the region. The area was a condor release site in the past and is foraging habitat for the condor today. The popular Rinconada Trail traverses the area.

Sespe Proposed Wilderness Additions

  • Location: Los Padres National Forest, Ventura County, to the north of the existing Sespe Wilderness north of Thorn Point.
  • Size: 14,313 acres
  • Management agency: United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest
  • Values: Critical condor sanctuary. Several important seasonal streams. Known for its striking rock formations, including Bluff Creek and Topatopa Bluff. The area provides habitat for a good number of sensitive species, including California condor, California red-legged frog, Ojai fritillary, Sierra Madre yellow-legged frog, southern steelhead trout, pale-yellow layia and Tehachapi monardella among others. Several popular trails are located in the proposed Additions including the Boulder Canyon Trail and the trail that provides access to Fish Bowls Camp.

Soda Lake Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: Northwestern Carrizo Plain National Monument, San Luis Obispo County
  • Size: 13,332 acres
  • Management agency: Bureau of Land Management, Bakersfield Field Office
  • Values: Soda Lake is the largest remaining natural alkali wetland in California. The lake is part of the only “closed watershed” (with no outlet to the ocean) within the Southern California Coast Range and boasts a unique clay dune system. The stark white lakebed can be seen from miles around. The area supports rare plant species and many rare species of wildlife, including blunt-nosed leopard lizard, San Joaquin kit fox, giant kangaroo rat, and San Joaquin antelope squirrel. The area is rich with evidence of its prehistoric and historic past. Painted Rock, a sacred ceremonial site of the Chumash People, rises majestically from the grassland adjacent to the proposed wilderness.  While this area is open to the general public a good portion of the year (closed March 1st to July 15th), it is important to remember to treat the area with the respect that it deserves while visiting it. Hiking and horseback riding opportunities abound across broad plains and gentle ridges. Birders, wildflower enthusiasts, and other nature lovers flock to the Carrizo Plains National Monument in increasing numbers, especially in the spring.

Photo: Craig Deutsche

Temblor Range Proposed Wilderness

  • Location: Northern Carrizo Plain National Monument, San Luis Obispo County
  • Size: 12,585 acres
  • Management agency: Bureau of Land Management, Bakersfield Field Office
  • Values: The Temblors contain native grasses and a host of rare and unusual plant species, such as the Tucker oak and California jewelflower. The Temblors were formed from the uplifting of the San Andreas Fault, resulting in steep valleys and ridges with the Fault being quite striking.

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