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RUSTIC SAN LUIS COUNTY San Luis Obispo County is a county located along the Pacific Ocean in the Central Coast of the U.S. state of California, between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. As of the 2010 census its population was 269,637. The county seat is San Luis Obispo, with about 46,000 resi-

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dents. The county’s distance from the large metro areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles has helped it to retain its rural character and reminders of old California abound. Commonly referred to as “the Central Coast,” the area is more rural and agricultural than many other coastal regions in California. Father Junipero Serra founded the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in 1772 and the Mission is today an active part of downtown San Luis Obispo (popularly referred to as SLO or SLO-town). The small size of the county’s communities, scattered along the beaches, coastal hills, and mountains of the Santa Lucia range, provides a wide variety of

coastal and inland hill ecologies to support many kinds of fishing, agriculture, and tourist activities. The mainstays of the economy are California Polytechnic State University with its almost 20,000 students, tourism, and agriculture. San Luis Obispo County is the third largest producer of wine in California, surpassed only by Sonoma and Napa Counties. Wine grapes are by far the largest agricultural crop in the county, and the wine production they support creates a direct economic impact and a growing wine country vacation industry. The town of San Simeon is located at the foot of the hill where

newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst built the famed Hearst Castle. Other coastal towns (listed from North to South) include Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay, and Los Osos (Baywood Park is considered to be Los Osos by the majority of locals). The city of Morro Bay and the village of Los Osos share the bay that has been made famous by Morro Rock. Surprisingly, the Village of Los Osos has a bigger population by roughly 4 thousand residents. These cities and villages are located northwest of San Luis Obispo city, and Avila Beach and the Five Cities to the south: Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Oceano, Pismo Beach and Shell Beach. Nipomo, just south of the Five Cities, borders northern Santa Barbara County. Inland, the cities of Paso Robles, Templeton, and Atascadero lie along the Salinas River, near the Paso Robles wine region. San Luis Obispo lies south of Atascadero and north of the Five Cities region. Just south of Cambria

lies Harmony, one of the smallest towns in California with a population of 18. Earliest human inhabitants of the local area were the Chumash peoples. One of the earliest villages lies south of San Luis Obispo and reflects the landscape of the early Holocene when estuaries came farther inland. These Chumash people exploited marine resources of the inlets and bays along the Central Coast and inhabited a network of villages including sites at Los Osos and Morro Creek.[3] During the Spanish Empire expansion throughout the world, specifically in 1769, Spanish Franciscan Junípero Serra received orders from Spain to bring the Catholic faith to the Natives of Alta California; the idea was to unify the empire under the same religion and language. Mission San Diego was the first Spanish mission founded in Alta California that same year. On September 7–8, 1769, Gaspar

de Portolà traveled through the San Luis Obispo area on his way to rediscover the Monterey Bay. The expedition’s diarist, Padre Juan Crespí, recorded the name de los Osos, or the level of the bears (Bear Plain), as this was an area with an abundance of bears. Since then, various translations of the Crespí Diary have called this area La Cañada de Los Osos (The track of the Bears) which has been further mistranslated as the Valley of the Bears. 5


MO

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The prehistory of Morro Bay relates to Chumash settlement, particularly near the mouth of Morro Creek. At least as early as the Millingstone Horizon thousands of years before present, there was an extensive settlement along the banks and terraces above Morro Creek.[2] Morro Rock was named in 1542 by Portuguese navigator Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who explored the Pacific Coast for Spain. Cabrillo called the rock El Moro because it resembled the head of a Moor, the people from North Africa known for the turbans they wore. However, the dictionary definition for the Spanish word “morro” (“pebble”) is also consistent with the shape of the rock, and so the term morro is frequently used wherever such a distinctive rock-like mountain is found within the Spanish speaking world. The first recorded Filipino immigrants to America arrived at Morro

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Bay on October 18, 1587, from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Esperanza.[3][4] While governed by Mexico, large land grants split the surrounding area into cattle and dairy ranchos. These ranchos needed shipping to bring in dry goods and to carry their crops, animals, and other farm products to cities. Thus, Morro Bay grew. The town of Morro Bay was founded by Franklin Riley in 1870 as a port for the export of dairy and ranch products. He was instrumental in the building of a wharf which has now become the Embarcadero. During the 1870s, schooners could often be seen at the Embarcadero picking up wool, potatoes, barley, and dairy products. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the town has been a center for beach holidays. Tourism is the city’s largest industry. The most popular beach is on the north side of Morro Rock, north of the harbor. There are also excellent beaches north and south of the town

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which are now owned by the State of California. In the 1940s, Morro Bay developed an abalone fishing industry. Having peaked in 1957, stocks of abalone have now declined significantly due to overfishing,[5] it remains a fishing port for halibut, sole, rockfish, albacore, and many other species for both commercial and sport vessels. The town now combines the fishing industry with coastal tourism. In addition, oysters are farmed artificially in the shallow back bay. A portion of Morro Bay is also designated as a state and national bird sanctuary. This means it is illegal to kill or harm a bird in that portion of Morro Bay. It is also a state and national estuary. Much of Morro Bay is a state wildlife refuge where waterfowl hunting is conducted during the season and is one of the few areas in California where Pacific Brant are pursued. Recently, Morro Bay was also declared a California Marine Reserve by the California Fish and Game Commission. 7

San Luis Obispo County  

Travel and general information about San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.

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