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Visiting the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

What’s so special about the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve?

The Ranch is far from the largest of coastal ecosystems, but packs more biological diversity into a confined area than many larger properties. It is bordered on the north by a mile and a half of riparian habitat that encompasses tidal effect zones, seasonal freshwater marshes and wetlands dotted with birds. The Monterey pine forest (part of three remaining native stands in the world) serves as habitat and cover for wildlife moving between the coastal range and the ocean bluffs.

The Ranch is bisected by Scenic Highway 1. Santa Rosa Creek offers migrating species a wildlife corridor that is not in competition with highway-speed traffic. The result is an amazing display of nature's diversity including a number of endangered species and species of special concern. Red-legged frogs, tidewater gobies, western pond turtles, steelhead, monarch butterflies, great blue herons, burrowing owls, and Cooper's hawks are ranch residents along with the compact cobweb thistle and the SLO County dwarf morning glory. Coyotes, black-tailed deer, and the occasional bobcat pass under the highway bridge to the western slope in search of dry season springs and forage.

The most outstanding natural feature of the preserve is the dramatic ocean bluff that runs more than a mile along the shoreline. The rocky coast rises to a 400-foot ridge with breath-taking views of migrating whales, birds and playful otters before sloping southeastward to the willow-edged creek. Each spring, the meadows boast beautiful wildflower displays.

The Ranch offers a rare expanse of nature and solitude, almost a back county experience, but within walking distance of visitor accommodations and neighborhoods. It is free and open to the public every day of the year from dawn until dusk.

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