A partnership to protect a mile of the Little Sur River by repatriating the first lands ever returned to the Esselen people.
In 2020, WRC and the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County successfully placed a majestic piece of California’s Big Sur coast into the hands of the Esselen people. With a mile of frontage on the Little Sur River, the property was the first land ever returned to the tribe since the Esselen were displaced by the Spanish four centuries ago. The Little Sur is the most important and pristine steelhead stream left on the central California coast. For the Esselen, the property is sacred ground and considered the gateway to the interior mountains of the Santa Lucia range. It faces Pico Blanco, or “Pixchi,” one of the highest peaks in the Santa Lucia Range and the center of the Esselen origin story.