CARBONDALE, Colo., Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Wilderness Land Trust transferred to the Los Padres National Forest and permanently protected a 160-acre private property located on a gorgeous ridge top trail overlooking the Pacific Ocean inside the Ventana Wilderness. Adding the property to the Wilderness protects trail access and view and prevents both future residential development and motorized access in the home range for the endangered California condor. Magnificent condors frequently soar along the ridge trail. The property is located on the central California coast in the Santa Lucia range, about 35 air miles southeast of Monterey near Big Sur, California.
"We appreciate the assistance of The Wilderness Land Trust with bringing this scenic property into the Los Padres National Forest," said Peggy Hernandez, Los Padres National Forest Supervisor.
The site was one of several properties along the North Coast Ridge Road that were grandfathered with residential building and motorized access rights when the Ventana Wilderness was extended around them. This is the second property the Trust has protected along the North Coast Ridge Road in the last year—the Trust also protected the 120-acre Lost Valley property in late 2012.
The Ventana and Big Sur area consistently experience cycles of fire that roar through the area—the Basin Complex Fire in 2008 (merged with the Indians Fire, which together burned over 244,000 acres, the third largest fire in California history), preceded by the Rat Creek Fire in 1985 and the Marble Cone Fire in 1977 (burned over 178,000 acres and was the largest fire in California to that date), among others. Wilderness without structures provides a place for these fires to safely burn, and allows a fire regime to occur so that fuel does not build up to levels where fires destroy larger vegetation and trees and damage soils. The Wilderness Land Trust worked for over five years to purchase the property which during the years of private ownership contained two residences that burned.
These two newly acquired sites protect critical watersheds—the Hot Springs and Arroyo Seco. Creeks and rivers in these watersheds host lush riparian zones with habitat for the threatened Central California coastal steelhead trout, and other sensitive species including the California spotted owl and the southwestern pond turtle. The Arroyo Seco River flows to the Salinas River, which after traversing one of the most productive agricultural valleys in the world, enters the Pacific Ocean to the north.
"The land is one of only four properties in private ownership in the Ventana Wilderness on the North Coast Ridge Road," said Aimee Rutledge, the land trust's California Program Manager. "Private uses inconsistent with wilderness would have despoiled an unbroken expanse of wilderness with amazing views of the Pacific in the home range of the California condor."
The Big Sur area includes many miles of popular trails connecting to several State Parks on the ocean. The area features iconic views of both the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountains, and offers hiking, horseback riding, backpacking, amazing photography opportunities and birding.
The Wilderness Land Trust
The Wilderness Land Trust is a small, highly specialized nonprofit organization established to buy and protect wilderness land. Since it was founded in 1992, the non-profit organization has preserved more than 373 parcels comprising of more than 38,500 acres of wilderness inholdings in 88 designated and proposed wilderness areas. The Wilderness Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization, has offices in California and Colorado. For more information visit our website www.wildernesslandtrust.org.
The Wilderness Land Trust is a 1% for the Planet Non-Profit Partner. Visit www.onepercentfortheplanet.org for more information.
SOURCE The Wilderness Land Trust