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Not many places in California encompass 160 THOUSAND acres of land, but thanks to the efforts of an unusual partnership of hunters, naturalists, state agencies, and private land holders an area near the City of Los Banos Ca. has been set aside as protected wetlands. Visitors to and residents of the LosBanos area are encouraged to go and see a piece of what things were like before a myriad of water projects and dams made the California Central Valley what it is today.

According to the FWS Website "The Grassland [is] the largest remaining contiguous block of freshwater wetlands remaining in California. It consists of federal, state, and privately owned seasonal, semi-permanent, and permanent marshes, riparian corridors, vernal pool complexes, and grasslands."

This wild 160000 acre parcel of land is mostly privately owned, in fact 110000 acres are not managed by the government. Visitors can find hunting, bird watching, and other close-to-nature activities available in the Grasslands. You should check with the local authorities before entering the area so you have a good idea of the rules and boundaries if any that need to be observed.

There is a Grassland interpretive center is open to those who wish to educate themselves on this very unique area that reportedly comprises the "last 5 percent of such areas" left in California.

Location & Directions:
From Highway 152 On the east side of Los Banos Ca, turn North on California Highway 165 (Mercey Springs Rd) and travel about 3 miles. Turn East (right) on Henry Miller Avenue for about 3/4 of a mile. The California Department of Fish & Game Los Banos Wildlife Area is on the left hand side. Visitors are asked to enter the wildlife area and travel to the northeast end of the parking lot. The entrance to GEECe is the green painted gate.
Click here for a map.

Other Grassland Ecological Area Web Resources:
Grasslands Education Center
Grasslands Water District Ecological Area Brochure

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