The mission of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance is to preserve, protect, and restore the Wilderness qualities and biodiversity of the public lands within California's northern Santa Lucia Mountains and Big Sur coast.
Here in Monterey County, we’re blessed with a vast mosaic of public land, and at its core lie the 270,000-acre Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness areas of Los Padres National Forest. The wildness of these lands gives us so much, from ecosystem services like watershed protection and wildlife habitat, to opportunities for recreation and spiritual renewal. But make no mistake, it takes effort to keep these wild places accessible, and ,unfortunately, agencies like the U.S. Forest Service are no longer sufficiently funded to get the job done. That’s why Ventana Wilderness Alliance’s volunteer wilderness ranger program is so critical. Rangers clean up trails and camps, teach visitors “Leave No Trace” ethics and fire safety, and even provide first-aid and search and rescue assistance.
Seeking spiritual renewal, freedom, or adventure, novice hikers and backpackers—often in large groups—are flocking to the Ventana Wilderness trails. For the most part, these folks are well-intentioned, but their passage leaves a mark. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance addresses this challenge with a dedicated group of volunteer rangers who are people-friendly and deeply motivated to steer visitors toward an attitude of respect for wilderness.
- Heidi Hopkins