BLM takes action to protect endangered species in Panoche Hills

MARINA, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management’s Central Coast Field Office is taking action to protect the habitat of the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard by temporarily restricting vehicle access to the Panoche Recreation Area Hills in Fresno and San Benito counties. Beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday April 4, this temporary road restriction is necessary to prevent the destruction of habitat for flora and fauna before the annual seasonal closure that regularly occurs from April 15 to October 15.

The Tumey Hills Recreation Area, also in Fresno and San Benito counties, will remain open to vehicles until April 15. Recreation enthusiasts can continue to access the hills of Panoche and Tumey by hiking, biking or horseback riding all year round.

Hotter and drier conditions this year triggered the threat blunt-nosed leopard lizard coming out of hibernation earlier than in previous years. The lizards that live on the Panoche Hills plateau are part of a captive breeding program with the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and its partners to recover the endangered species. Limiting motorized vehicles in the area will protect the natural environment of this species, which is found only in central California, by preventing disturbance during the critical breeding season.

The BLM has made facility improvements to the Tumey Hills Recreation Area to provide a more enjoyable outdoor experience with safer parking options and to help reduce impacts to private property. Please remain respectful of locals and do not block private driveways or park on private property. Please stay on designated roads to avoid shrubs which are essential for wildlife survival.

Pack It In – Pack It Out: The Bureau of Land Management encourages all recreational enthusiasts to practice Leave no trace ethics while recreating on public lands. Help the BLM be good stewards and preserve public lands for future generations.

A copy of the closure order is available here. For more information, please visit the Panoche Hills Visit Us webpage at https://www.blm.gov/visit/panoche-hills, or the Tumey Hills Visit Us webpage at https://www.blm .gov/visit/tumey-hills. For specific questions, contact the Central Coast Field Office at 831-582-2200 or [email protected]

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