2001: National Monument
Rating (1-5): Unrated
About the SiteFull of natural splendor and rich in human history, the grasslands and stark ridges of the Carrizo Plain National Monument contain exceptional objects of scientific and historic interest. Cut in half by the San Andreas Fault zone, the Carrizo Plain National Monument is the largest undeveloped remnant of the San Joaquin ecosystem, providing crucial habitat for long-term conservation of the many native plant and animal species that still inhabit the area.
What You're Going to SeeThis is California dry-range, so what you see will depend on the time of year you visit. After rains you'll find abundant wildflowers and plenty of animals and birds.
Personal ObservationsI haven't been here yet. This is another new National Monument administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM's purpose and calling is subtly different from that of the National Park Service. The BLM must juggle competing interests, including mineral rights, grazing and hunting rights, and public recreation, and try to keep everyone happy to boot. I don't envy the job. Expect to find the Monument still undeveloped, thought a Management Plan is set to be released in the fall of 2004.
Getting ThereCarrizo Plain lies 40 miles east of San Luis Obispo. You will want to approach the Monument from the east, away from the Caliente Range. Use Highways 33 and 58 to access dirt roads into the Monument.
Nearby AttractionsChannel Islands National Park is about 80 miles south, and the Santa Monica National Recreation Area is close to the east, just above Los Angeles. Sequoia National Park is about 100 miles northeast, on the other side of Bakersfield.