Document - Big Sur River Management Plan


The Big Sur River in located in Monterey County approximately 200 miles from San Francisco and 300 miles from Los Angeles California. The closest population centers are the cities of Carmel and Monterey. Although the Big Sur River lies close to these heavy populated areas, the river does receive visitors from all over the world. Access to the River corridor is limited. The nearest public vehicle access is Highway 1, and the Pine Ridge Trail is located that the Big Sur Interagency Visitor Center. Most of the Big Sur River with the exception of the last two miles lies within the Ventana Wilderness in Monterey County. The river is characterized by steep to very steep slopes covered by chaparral or oaks. The stream channel is mostly boulders and rock rubble with rapid flowing water and small to-to-moderate sized pools. Some gravel and sand bars occur, particularly in association with naturally formed debris barriers. Springs occasionally dot the stream banks and steep canyon walls enclose the channel in places; water falls are an occasional occurrence. Redwoods are found almost the entire length of the Big Sur River from the Forest Boundary to the confluence of the North and South Forks. The Big Sur River is one of the longest and most gradual of the coastal streams lined with redwoods. Of particular interest is the variety of trees and shrub species associated with the coast redwood: bigleaf maple, white alder, California bay, tanoak, and madrone. A good canopy of trees covers the majority of the river. River Classification: The entire length of the Big Sur River that is in the administrative boundaries of the Los Padres National Forest is designated a Wild River. Free-flow values and impacts: The Big Sur River with its two tributaries, the South Fork and North Fork, are free-flowing without any dams or diversions. OUTSTANDINGLY REMARKABLE VALUES 1) Scenic: Abundant, rapid, flowing water, with pools, springs and an occasional waterfall; interesting landforms; diverse tree canopy with redwoods; combination of scenic features uncommon to Central and Southern California. These components in different combinations create color, size, and shape contrasts that create outstanding scenery. The entire length of the river is natural, undisturbed, and part of a larger area known as the Ventana Wilderness. Occasional vistas that allow wide views of the landscape enhance the contrast of the riparian zone in the river corridor against the expansive red wood covered hills. 2) Recreation: The natural sulfur hot springs pools near Sykes Camp, the redwood-riparian environment, and the yearlong water flows provide outstanding opportunities for hiking, primitive camping, swimming, fishing, picnicking, and nature study. There is an established trail system that generally parallels the river. The river corridor provides a cool and scenic area with access to plenty of water that enhances recreation. 3) Ecology: The extensive riparian corridor, along the Big Sur River allows for an outstanding diverse combination of alders, maples, willows and bay with dominant over story of redwood. The Big Sur River remains relatively natural and surrounded by a large wilderness area. This contiguous, intact, and large protected ecosystem is rare in southern California, and the Big Sur River has become a refuge for riparian-dependent plant and animal species.


Comprehensive River Management Plan, Big Sur Wild and Scenic River, Los Padres National Forest

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Filename - Big Sur River Management Plan397.pdf

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