In 2012, Monterey District Ranger Sherry Tune, US Forest Service, approved the Milpitas Special Interest Area Collaborative Management Plan. This was a significant step in the protection of the unique cultural, natural and scenic values of an area designated as a Special Interest Area by the Forest Service in 2005. The Milpitas SIA (MSIA) contains approximately 9,500 acres located in the upper watershed of the San Antonio River, much of which is within the Ventana Wilderness. It is approximately 17 miles from Mission San Antonio near the border of Fort Hunter Liggett.
The LPNF Plan of 2005 describes the desired condition of the MSIA:
"Protect the scenic nature of the area, which constitutes the cultural landscape and is an important part of the cultural values, and the cultural sites. Minimize the numerous unimproved dirt roads that cross the savannahs, bisecting cultural sites, using physical barriers compatible with the scenic values. Control off-road vehicle use, camping, and fires to protect cultural sites. Where appropriate, enhance the sites through public interpretation. Where needed, provide a suitable combination of public education and regulations to protect the rock outcrops and other aspects of the setting where the area is being damaged by various recreation activities".
Due to decreases in funding and personnel, the Forest Service was unable to develop a management plan for the MSIA to achieve the desired condition. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance facilitated and funded an agreement between Los Padres National Forest and Mountain Heritage Associates to create a comprehensive management plan for the area with input from the Salinan people, recreational users, and the local community.
The approved collaborative management plan can be viewed here. To learn more about the Milpitas Special Area and the work that remains to protect this amazing place, please contact the VWA at .