The Ventana Wilderness Alliance's Ventana Wild Rivers Campaign — in partnership with Friends of the River & the Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Ventana Wild Rivers Campaign
Little Sur River

The Little Sur River is considered by the California Deparment of Fish and Game to be the most important steelhead spawning stream on the Central Coast. The North and South Forks of the Little Sur River flow northwest from the slopes of Ventana Double Cone and are divided by the limestone buttresses of Pico Blanco, which is visible from Highway 1.

The Forest Service found 8.1 miles of the North Fork to be eligible for Wild & Scenic status due to its outstanding botanical values. In addition, conservationists believe that both forks of the Little Sur within the Los Padres Forest boundary possess outstanding ecological, fish, wildlife, and scenic values.

Outstanding Values:

Fish — The Little Sur River is considered by the California Department of Fish and Game to be the most important spawning stream for threatened steelhead on the Central Coast. This is due to the pristine nature of the Little Sur in comparison to other Central Coast watersheds.

Ecological — The entire drainage was identified by the Forest Service as an area of high ecological significance due to its pristine habitat for a diversity of fish and wildlife species and few non-native species.

Botanical — The North Fork supports the largest known aggregation of Dudley's lousewort on public lands. Dudley's lousewort is a rare plant endemic to redwood forests with fewer than 10 known populations.

Wildlife — Sensitive, threatened, and endangered species that live in and along the Little Sur include the spotted owl, California red-legged frog, Pacific salamander, and giant salamander.

Scenery — Both forks of the Little Sur flow through deep canyons shrouded in redwood forests, and offer attractive and popular routes into the Ventana Wilderness, complete with numerous cascades and deep pools.


The upper segments of both forks are publicly owned. There are private inholdings on both forks within the Forest boundary. None of these properties would be affected by designation. Recreational designation of the lower segment of the North Fork accommodates the Pico Blanco Boyscout Camp access road and would allow continued seasonal impoundment of the North Fork by the Camp, as long as the impoundment did not continue to harm the outstanding steelhead fishery. A portion of the Wild segment of the South Fork flows through an undeveloped area of Andrew Molera State Park. Wild designation of this segment is consistent with the state's management of this portion of the Park.


Segment 1 Source of the North Fork to Ventana Wilderness boundary 4.6 miles Wild
Segment 2 Ventana Wilderness boundary to National Forest boundary 3 miles Recreational
Segment 3 Source of the South Fork to the northwestern boundary of Andrew Molera State Park 7.2 miles Wild
Segment 4 State Park boundary to National Forest boundary in Section 35 .75 miles Scenic
TOTAL 15.5 miles