The Wilderness Land Trust Protects 160 acres in Californias Ventana Wilderness

The Wilderness Land Trust Protects 160 acres in Californias Ventana Wilderness

Jan. 17, 2013

The Wilderness Land Trust recently purchased a 160-acre private property inside the Ventana Wilderness, preventing future residential development and motorized access in the home range for the endangered California Condor. 

The site was one of five 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.


These two newly acquired sites also protect critical watersheds—the Big Sur and Arroyo Seco.  Creeks and rivers in these watersheds host lush riparian zones with habitat for the threatened 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 Wilderness Land Trust worked for over five years to purchase the property.  The Trust will now work to transfer it to the US Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest, which oversees the Ventana Wilderness.


“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 featuring iconic views of both the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountains, and offers hiking, horseback riding, backpacking, amazing photography opportunities and birding.


“We are proud to help complete the Ventana Wilderness for future generations.  We’ve worked for a long time on deals on the North Coast Ridge Road to ensure that ‘man is a visitor and shall not remain,’ a goal of the 1964 Wilderness Act,” said Reid Haughey, president of The Wilderness Land Trust.


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The 3 Georges property is shown with the orange arrow and circle.

Completed Lost Valley Property project is shown with the blue arrow and circle.