Atascadero is designated a gateway to Carrizo Plain monument

The southern entrance to the Carrizo Plain.
The southern entrance to the Carrizo Plain.

Atascadero has joined Santa Margarita as an officially designated western gateway to the Carrizo Plain National Monument, according to a recent news release by the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.

The website for the Carrizo Plain already lists visitors centers in Taft (at the eastern entrance) and Santa Margarita (at the western entrance) as ideal places to pick up guides, maps and other information pertaining to their visit. Now the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce will be added to that list.

The Carrizo Plain, a 250,000-acre monument in the southeast corner of San Luis Obispo County, was established by presidential decree in 2001 to protect one of the last remaining grassland ecosystems that were common in the San Joaquin Valley in prehistoric times.

It has one of the highest concentrations of rare and endangered plants and animals in the state and is managed jointly by the Bureau of Land Management, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and The Nature Conservancy.

“It is more good news for the Carrizo Plain National Monument!” said Robert Campbell, a member of the gateway committee in Santa Margarita, in an email to The Tribune.

“It will be great having Atascadero and the chamber participate with us in the promotion of the monument and our towns as the gateways to it, just as we already partner with Taft as the eastern gateway,” he said.

Representatives of Atascadero’s chamber were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

“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,” the chamber wrote in its news release.