Chapter Home Page Environmental Update
Site Search

Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

Sierra Club San Luis Obispo

One Earth, One Chance
Morro Rock, Home of the Peregrine Falcon

(Nine Sisters)

Bishop Peak Trail Work

[Morros View]
View of Bishop Peak, 
Chumash Peak and Cerro Romauldo


Morros (Nine Sisters) Introduction

The Morros (Nine Sisters), are a set of ancient volcanoes. These volcanoes were formed more than 25 million years ago as part of the Fransican Formation. They cover a 40-square-mile area from Morro Rock (to the northwest in Morro Bay) to Islay Hill on the southeast side of San Luis Obispo. They are a favorite of San Luis Obispo County residents and the many tourists who visit here each year.

With nine major peaks, the Morros provide a unique horizon line to the City of San Luis Obispo. They can be viewed by two scenic drives: one along Highway 1 north through the "Valley of the Morros" to Morro Bay, the other driving northwest on Los Osos Valley Road to Los Osos. The Morros are more than just scenic, they provide recreation, unique habitat for endangered species of wildlife and vegetation, and are a unique geologic feature used by many geologists for teaching. But most of all, the Morros provide a sense of place: a place to call home, something local residents all relate to.

For several decades with the help of landowners, local residents, the Sierra Club, the Land Conservancy, public and private agencies, the Morros have been preserved reasonably well. Now with the Morros Preservation Fund, new steps can be taken to ensure the uniqueness of the Morros are maintained.

(back to table of contents)

Sierra Clubs' Involvement with the Preservation of the Morros

The Sierra Club has had a long-term goal of preserving the Morros. Now, with the increasing pressure being placed on the Morros by development, increased population and the political climate, we are taking a much more active role in their preservation.

To take the steps needed to preserve the Morros for our children and children's children, funds must be raised to complete the task. The Sierra Club has recognized this. We contacted The Sierra Club Foundation to create a special "Morros Preservation Fund" within The Sierra Club Foundation. This gives residents, visitors, corporations, and public and private agencies the opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation to an important local cause.

Preserving the Morros is not a small task. It will need cooperation among landowners, government agencies, private agencies and community residents. All of whom need to express their concerns about the Morros and take a much more active stance.

With this combined effort, the Sierra Club believes the character of "Valley of the Morros" (Chorro Valley), along Highway 1 and the Los Osos Valley can be preserved for future generations.

(back to table of contents)

Current Projects in the Morros Region

The Sierra Club is involved with many projects concerning the Morros.

These projects are:

  • Acquisition of the Bishop Peak. Over the past five years, the Sierra Club has worked with land owners to acquire over 360 acres of Bishop Peak. 110 Acres from the Gnesa Family, 145 acres from the Ferrinni Family. In March of 1998, the Sierra Club donated $45,000 as matching funds for other grants received by the City of San Luis Obispo to purchase of 108 acres of the Bunnell Ranch. Without this donation by the Sierra Club, the Bishop Peak acquisition may not of occurred. The public support brought forth by the Sierra Club and the many many donors who contributed to the Morros Preservation, showed how important Bishop Peak really is to all of us. This is one project where all parties, including the Chamber of Commerce, SLO County, City of San Luis Obispo, The Land Conservancy, the landowner, and State Officials all agreed to work together toward a common goal.
  • Morganti Acquisition. The Sierra Club has committed $10,000 towards the purchase of 165 acres of land on the Northwest corner of San Luis Mountain. The acreage will connect to the "Let It Be Nature Preserve." This property extends for 1 mile along Los Osos Valley Road. It includes a wonderful wetland area and is watershed to Laguna Lake.
  • Construction of the Bishop Peak Trail. With the acquisition complete the Sierra Club, CCC, and CDF have created a network of trails to explore the Bishop Peak Natural Reserve. These new trails are essential to control the public in order to preserve the valuable habitat and sensitive areas surrounding Bishop Peak..
  • Morros Advisory Committee(MAC) - The Sierra Club is working on a county wide committee made up of landowners in the Morros Region, environmental groups, government agencies (i.e. City of San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly), individuals, resource biologists and others to work out what might be the future of the Morros. Working in a cohesive manner to retain the rural character of the Morros, sensitive resources, habitat, wildlife, and provide limited recreation in the Morros.
(back to table of contents)

Projects of the Future

The Sierra Club is looking for more projects in the Morros Region. These project may include preserving the remainder of the Bunnell Ranch, preserving the historic Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn. Working to acquire easements to preserve land between Bishop and Chumash Peak, eventually connecting to Camp San Luis, and Cerro Romauldo.

The Sierra Club is interested in any project within the Morros to further preserve local lands, and the character of the Chorro Valley and Los Osos Valley corridors.

We are willing to work with and listen to any landowner, County of San Luis Obispo, City of San Luis Obispo, the Land Conservancy, or anyone else to help preserve the Morros for the future. For more information call Gary Felsman at (805-549-0532)

(back to table of contents)

How Can I Donate to the Morros Preservation Fund?

Donations to the "Morros Preservation Fund" are tax-deductible and are placed in a special account managed by The Sierra Club Foundation . There are two ways you can donate to this fund:

  • A direct donation can be made to the Morros Fund by writing a check for any amount. The check should be made payable to The Sierra Club Foundation, with "Morros Preservation Fund" , noted in the memo section, and mailed to the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club, P.O. Box 15755, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406.

To make a Donation please click here and print the donation form.

  • Another way to donate is via bequest in your will. Just add a statement, indicating that a certain portion of your estate should go to the "Morros Preservation Fund" created by the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club. Be sure to get the exact wording from an estate planner, Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club, or The Sierra Club Foundation .


(back to table of contents)

The Nine Prominent Peaks of the Morros

Morro Peak Name Elevation in Feet
Morro Rock 576'
Black Hill 665'
Cerro Cabrillo 911'
Hollister Peak 1,404'
Cerro Romauldo 1,306'
Chumash Peak 1,257'
Bishop Peak 1,559'
Cerro San Luis 1,292'
Islay Hill 775'
(back to table of contents)

[back]Back to Santa Lucia Chapter.

[home]Back to Sierra Club home page.

[Sierra Club]
Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club
P.O. Box 15755
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406.
Telephone 1-805-543-8717.
Sierra Club National Office
85 Second St., Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105-3441, USA.
Telephone 1-415-977-5500 (voice), 1-415-977-5799 (FAX).
Last updated 29 July 2001.
Take Action
Chapter Campaigns
Get Outdoors
Join or Give
Santa Lucian
Our Chapter
Contact Us
Other Groups
Bill Deneen Awards
Explore, Enjoy and Protect - Santa Lucia Chapter hike in Machesna Wilderness
Machesna Wilderness hike
April 2002
Photo by Gary Felsman

Come to Sierra Summit 2005, Sep. 8-11 in San Francisco