Bureau of Land Management restricting vehicle access to Panoche Hills Recreation Area

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Earlier than usual, the restriction aims to protect the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard.

Information provided by the Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Field Office

Land Management Office The Central Coast Field Office announced that it is restricting vehicle access to the Panoche Hills Recreation Area in Fresno and San Benito counties to protect the habitat of the endangered leopard blunt-nosed lizard. of disappearance.

The Bureau said the restriction is effective at 6 a.m. from April 4 to April 14.

“This temporary road restriction is necessary to prevent the destruction of plant and wildlife habitat prior to the annual seasonal closure that occurs regularly from April 15 to October 15,” the statement said.

The Bureau said 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.

The office said warmer, drier conditions this year have prompted the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard to emerge from hibernation earlier than in previous years.

A partnership with several agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, is conducting a breeding program that aims to release blunt-nosed leopard lizards in Panoche Hills.

The Bureau went on to say that the lizards that live on the Panoche Hills Plateau are part of a captive breeding program with the Fresno Chaffee Zoo to reclaim the endangered species.

“Limiting motor 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 statement read.

A copy of the closure order is available here. For more information, please visit the Panoche Hills Visit Us Web pageor the Tumey Hills Visit us Web page. For specific questions, contact the Central Coast Field Office at 831-582-2200 or [email protected].

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