Small Wilderness Area Preserves – Friends of El Moro Elfin Forest


Adjacent to the Morro Bay estuary, the El Moro Elfin Forest in Los Osos is a 90-acre natural area belonging to San Luis Obispo County Parks and California State Parks. Its plant communities include coastal brackish marsh, riparian woodland fringe, pygmy oak woodland, maritime chaparral, and coastal dune scrub. The Elfin Forest supports more than 200 species of plants, as well as 110 kinds of birds, 22 species of mammals, and 13 species of reptiles and amphibians. It is home to rare plants, butterflies, snails, and birds. Chumash middens occur throughout the Elfin Forest.

A four-fifths of a mile boardwalk loop constructed in 1999 provides wheelchair access and protects the Forest's sensitive habitat. The Los Osos/Morro Bay Chapter of Small Wilderness Area Preservation (SWAP), after being the prime mover in securing the lands, "adopted" the Forest in 1994.

Beginning in 2020, the Chapter changed its name to Friends of El Moro Elfin Forest (FEMEF).

The Small Wilderness Area Preservation (S.W.A.P.) group preserves some of the most beautiful land in San Luis Obispo County. Founded in 1971, its mission is to preserve small but significant natural areas from urbanization. S.W.A.P’s biggest project is the preservation of the Elfin Forest in Los Osos, a 90 acre site with over 200 species of plant and over 100 species of wildlife.

Our Mission: to preserve and maintain the El Moro Elfin Forest Natural Area; to inform and educate about the natural history of the Elfin Forest; and to promote and support scientific research in the Forest.

(805) 528-0392
ZIP Code
Small Wilderness Area Preservation, Inc.
PO Box 6442
Los Osos, CA 93412-6442
Membership Level
Affiliate/Non-Profit Member