Wilderness Land Trust purchases and protects inholding in the Santa Lucia Wilderness Area

Wilderness Land Trust purchases and protects inholding in the Santa Lucia Wilderness Area

Nov. 17, 2011

The Wilderness Land Trust recently acquired a 153-acre private inholding in the Santa Lucia Wilderness, just inland from Arroyo Grande on the California Central Coast.  Huff’s Hole Potrero (a high ridge pasture) overlooks Huff’s Creek, Lopez Lake, and the Pacific Ocean.  Nearby, dramatic rock formations successfully support eyries with the nests of Peregrine falcons, which recovered here from the endangered species list.  Prevention of future private uses completes and secures the surrounding 20,486 acres of the Santa Lucia Wilderness.


Peregrine falcons were decimated by the chemical DDT, but began a recovery in the 1970’s.  One of the main eyries that supported their recovery was near Huff’s Hole.  Peregrines are the fastest flying birds in the world, diving at speeds of 200 miles per hour and catching prey in mid-air.  They have a wingspan of 3.5 feet.  Both the males and females incubate eggs in the nest and teach their young how to hunt.  Mountain lions and deer also roam near Huff’s Creek, which flows to Lake Lopez, the drinking water source for Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and surrounding cities.  The newly added property protects wildlife habitat and clean water in the now 20,639 acres of wilderness.


“Peregrine falcons soar above the oaks, rocky outcrops and creeks on this property--a safe place to raise their young and thrive,” said Aimee Rutledge, California Program Manager.


“The California Hawking Club is proud to work with The Wilderness Land Trust to protect this important site for raptors as wilderness,” said Jim Roush, Chair of the Land Trust Committee of the California Hawking Club, the seller of the property.  The mission of the Club is to preserve birds of prey and to promote the art and practice of falconry.


Santa Lucia Wilderness

Designated in 1978, the Santa Lucia Wilderness contains a stream that flows yearlong (rare in the dry California inland coastal range) through Lopez Canyon into Lopez Lake.  Lush streamside vegetation, ancient oaks, chaparral-covered slopes and peaks that rise above the canyon create dramatic scenery, including views of the Pacific Ocean. Elevations range from about 800 feet down in Lopez Canyon to about 3,000 feet near Hi Mountain Lookout at the eastern end.  It is managed by both the US Bureau of Land Management (portion with Huff’s Hole property), and the US Forest Service.

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