A Carrizo Plain National Monument sign stands in a large valley with mountains in the background.
Rafting the Kern River Three Pump Jacks, Midway-Sunset Oilfield Painted Rock. Carrizo Plain National Monument. Poppy Piedras Blancas Lightstation, San Simeon
BLM>California>Bakersfield>What We Do>Land Use Planning>Caliente Resource Area: RMP>Hopper Mountain SMA
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Chapter 12 - Special Management Area Descriptions
Coast Management Area

Hopper Mountain

Hopper Mountain consists of 2,025 acres of Federal surface and subsurface and 3,240 acres of Federal mineral estate adjacent to three historically important California condor areas: Sespe Condor Sanctuary, Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and Sespe-Piru Critical Condor Area.

The Sespe Condor Sanctuary was established in 1947 following field studies by Carl B. Korford between 1939 and 1946. Originally about 35,000 acres, the Sespe Condor Sanctuary was enlarged in 1951 to include approximately 53,000 acres within Los Padres National Forest. The Sespe Condor Sanctuary is closed to all non-permitted entry with the exception of two travel corridors that allow hikers and horseback riders to pass through the area.

Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1975 with the purchase of the Hopper Ranch by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The area was purchased to serve as a buffer from development for the Sespe Condor Sanctuary and to provide an area for a condor feeding program. In the past, carcasses were provided during the winter months and at times during the nesting and fledgling periods. The ranch house was used as headquarters for the condor field program that monitored the wild population of California condors.

The Sespe-Piru Critical Condor Area was designated by the Secretary of the Interior in 1976. The Sespe-Piru Critical Condor Area includes the Sespe Condor Sanctuary.

In 1988, both Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and the Sespe Condor Sanctuary were used as release sites for Andean condors. The first two releases of captive reared California condor chicks were made at a release site in the Sespe Condor Sanctuary in 1992. In an attempt to reduce the potential of birds to be attracted to areas of human activity, subsequent releases have been moved to Lion Canyon, a more remote area in Santa Barbara County.

A forthcoming update of the California Condor Recovery Plan is likely to recommend that management of the Sespe Condor Sanctuary, Sespe-Piru Critical Condor Habitat Area and Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge continue to be focused on maintaining suitable nesting and foraging habitat for condors.

Management of the Hopper Mountain SMA may involve transferring all or a portion of the SMA to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or U.S. Forest Service. Alternately, a cooperative management agreement may be developed with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or U.S. Forest Service. Parcels within the SMA may also be exchanged for other parcels that would be of more value to the Condor Recovery Program.

Objective      Manage the Hopper Mountain SMA to support the California Condor Recovery Program and to complement management of the adjacent Sespe Condor Sanctuary, Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and Sespe-Piru Critical Condor Habitat Area.

Management Prescriptions

The SMA is open to the leasing of oil, gas and geothermal resources subject to the LSU - Protected Species stipulation.

The SMA will be proposed for withdrawal from entry under the mining laws.

Portions of the SMA are available for livestock grazing if grazing operations complement management objectives, and portions are unavailable for livestock grazing due to their unsuitability.

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Support Actions

Develop a cooperative management agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service for cooperative management.

Legal Description


T. 4 N., R. 18W., SBB&M
Sec. 3 Lots 9, 10, SE¼SW¼
Sec. 4 Lots 9, 10, NW¼SW¼
Sec. 6 Lot 6
Sec. 8 Lot 4
Sec. 18 Lots 3, 4, E½SW¼

T. 4 N., R. 19W., SBB&M
Sec. 5 Lots 3, 6, 7 part, 8, 9, SE¼SW¼, S½SE¼
Sec. 6 Lots 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 36, 38, portions of MS3217
Sec. 9 NE¼NE¼, S½
Sec. 11 NW¼SW¼
Sec. 12 S½S½
Sec. 13 N½SE¼, SE¼SE¼
Sec. 14 SE¼NE¼,NE¼SW¼,  NW¼SE¼
Sec. 22 NW¼NE¼, N½NW¼

T. 4 N., R. 20W., SBB&M
Sec. 1 Lots 17, 18, 19, 20, 23,  MS3217, MS3353


T. 4 N., R. 18W., SBB&M
Sec. 4 Lots 5, 6
Sec. 5 Lots 5, 9, 12, SE¼
Sec. 7 Lots 8, 9
Sec. 8 Lots 2, 3
Sec. 18 Lot 5, SE¼NE¼, NW¼NE¼, NE¼NW¼

T. 4 N., R. 19W., SBB&M
Sec. 1 SE¼
Sec. 4 Lots 3, 4, NE¼, E½NW¼
Sec. 8 SE¼NW¼
Sec. 9 NW¼NE¼, S½NE¼, NW¼
Sec. 10 All
Sec. 11 S½NW¼, NE¼SW¼, W½SE¼
Sec. 14 NW¼NE¼
Sec. 17 N½NW¼
Sec. 18 N½NE¼, SE¼NE¼, NE¼NW¼
Sec. 22 S½

Area Map

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