10-Mile Coast to Crest Corridor Near Big Sur Completed (CA)

MONTEREY COUNTY, CA, 8/1/2007: The USDA Forest Service in partnership with The Trust for Public Land announced today the acquisition of four Rancho Calera parcels totaling 460 acres. These parcels link national forest lands along the Big Sur coast to the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District’s Mill Creek Preserve and the Ventana Wilderness, creating a ten mile open space corridor from the crest of the Santa Lucia Mountains to the ocean just 15 miles south of Carmel.

“The Big Sur coastline is recognized around the world for its sweeping panoramic vistas,” Senator Feinstein said. “The acquisition of the Rancho Calera property is in line with conservation efforts in the region – and has the support of local environmental groups, as well as State and federal agencies. I believe it’s an important step forward to ensure the lasting protection of this California jewel.”

“It’s always a good thing when land as beautiful and important as our Big Sur coast can be set aside for future generations,” said Congressman Sam Farr. “Owners of the Rancho Calera land chose to place its future in the hands of the public, and I support that decision. I’m pleased that his beautiful coastline will continue to be treasured for many generations to come.”

“We are very pleased that this land will now be part of Los Padres National Forest,” said John Bradford, District Ranger for the Monterey Ranger District, Los Padres National Forest. “The acquisition of these four key parcels will help improve public access, protect natural resources and open space, and ensure long-term habitat linkages. We look forward to working with the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, our neighbors and other national forest stakeholders in managing this land in the years ahead.”

“This is a special part of California, where people come to get out of their cars and enjoy nature,” said Reed Holderman, Western Regional Director of The Trust for Public Land. “By placing this property in public ownership, we’ve ensured that it will stay natural, and created trail linkages that will allow visitors to hike from coast to crest.”

Rancho Calera is part of the Sierra Creek watershed, which supports threatened steelhead populations, and feeds directly into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Condors are known to roost on the property, and bobcat and mountain lion have been spotted there as well. The presence of mountain lion, which is considered an umbrella species, indicates the likelihood of many other species that are critical to the health of the Big Sur ecosystem.

The Forest Service acquired four of the nine parcels that comprise the 1,100 acre Rancho Calera. Funding for these acquisitions was provided by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), with the strong support of Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Farr, for the Big Sur area.