The Painted Rock in the middle of the Carrizo Plain as well as many other lesser known archaeological sites were all given extra federal protection this week, as the National Park Service named the pristine southeastern stretch of foothills and grasslands in San Luis Obispo County — known to many as the Serengeti of California — as a National Historic Landmark this week.

The 100 sites now protected include midden piles, quarries, cairns, and 18 separate pictograph sites, which make the plain one of the most concentrated sites of rock art in the entire country. The Carrizo Plain, which is officially managed by the Bureau of Land Management as a national monument and open for day use or camping, joins 2,500 other similarly protected landscapes and receives extra preservation support due to the listing.


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