Wild Lands of the West | The BLM, National Geographic Magazine: The Lost Coast

Bird's-eye view of coastal mountain range in golden light.

Too rugged for roads, too lovely to ingnore, deeply folded slopes of the rain-swept King Range soar above the California’s Lost Coast.  Established in 1970, King Range was the first designated National Conservation Area with 35 miles of remote coastline between the mouth of the Mattole River and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park in northern California.

King Range is at the edge of the North American tectonic plate, forced upward by the other two offshore plates. The mountains have risen about 66 feet in just the last 6,000 years.

It is an unusual piece of land for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) because most BLM land surrounds small pieces of privately owned land, but this remote 68,000-acre coastline is the opposite and is entirely surrounded by property that is in private holdings. Much of the region was homesteaded and the land that was left was considered undesirable because it is too steep and too rocky to live on.