Visitor’s Center designated as ‘Gateway to the Carrizo Plain National Monument’
In a memorandum of understanding with the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management or BLM, the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce has been designated as a “Carrizo Plain National Monument Gateway” for the Northwestern portion of the Carrizo Plain National Monument.
“Carrizo Plain National Monument Gateways” are areas, towns, cities, communities or various locations that are ideal for providing visitor information and services and have the infrastructure and interest in serving in this capacity.
According to the BLM, developing community involvement and the sense of community “ownership” makes it easier to effectively manage the Carrizo Plains National Monument, as well as establish a local “flavor” and provide local stewardship.
The Atascadero Chamber’s website, along with the Carrizo Plains National Monument’s website, will direct visitors from the North to visit the Atascadero Visitor Center located at the Chamber of Commerce office, on El Camino Real. There, visitors can pick up guides, maps and other information pertaining to their visit to the Carrizo Plain.
“This relationship will promote education for the public, as well as boost tourism for both the monument and Atascadero. It is a great opportunity to service visitors who will, in turn, purchase gas, dine at our fine restaurants and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Atascadero before or after they drive to see the monument,” stated Atascadero Chamber President and CEO Linda Hendy.
The Carrizo Plain was an area that was culturally important to Native Americans. A large, enclosed plain located in Eastern San Luis Obispo County with Soda Lake as its centerpiece, the plain is home to diverse communities of wildlife and plant species.
Covering almost 250,000 acres, the Carrizo Plain National Monument is managed jointly by the Bureau of Land management, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Nature Conservancy. The primary management focuses are to protect the rare and endangered plants and animals, and to restore native ecosystems. Research is an active and important part of management and projects are underway to better understand species and their habitats.