Local Members of Congress Applaud President Obama’s Designation of Berryessa Snow Mountain Region as a National Monument
Washington, DC – Local members of Congress, including Mike Thompson (CA-5), Jared Huffman (CA-2) and John Garamendi (CA-3), today attended a White House celebration where President Obama used the executive authority granted to him under the Antiquities Act to designate the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a National Monument. Under this designation, the region will be permanently protected, ensuring continued recreational opportunities and providing an regional economic boost, while also safeguarding the region's beauty, wildlife, rare plants, and waters – which include important sources of drinking water and irrigation for nearby communities. Additionally, all currently owned federal lands within the boundary will be united under one management plan, allowing the region to be managed more efficiently and according to the site-specific needs. Earlier this year, Thompson introduced legislation in the House (H.R. 761) that would have also designated the region as national monument.
“After years of tireless work by countless numbers of people, the Berryessa Snow Mountain region is finally getting the permanent protection it deserves,” said Thompson. “This national monument designation will provide a boost to our local economy, enhance recreational opportunities for tens of thousands of people, and protect important wildlife. Many thanks to Secretary Jewell, Secretary Vilsack and Senator Boxer – this wouldn't have happened without their partnership. And a special thanks to President Obama for taking action to protect one of America's national treasures."
“I commend President Obama and thank my colleague Rep. Mike Thompson for his leadership in seeing the Berryessa Snow Mountain region designated as a National Monument,” Congressman Jared Huffman said. “As the crown jewel of the Northern California’s wild inner Coast Range, this designation while ensure the enjoyment of these beautiful lands for future generations, all while boosting the local tourism economy and creating good jobs here at home.”
“Today’s designation by President Obama permanently protecting Berryessa Snow Mountain is a victory for local communities, local economies, and the environment. It will improve management of native wildlife, protect water quality in vital watersheds, and enhance the experience for the area’s numerous visitors. I commend the efforts of Congressman Thompson, Secretary Jewell, Secretary Vilsack, Senator Boxer, and all the local activists who invested so much time to make this happen,” said Congressman John Garamendi.
The Berryessa Snow Mountain region stretches nearly one hundred miles from Northwest Solano County to the flanks of Snow Mountain. It encompasses nearly 350,000 acres across Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Solano and Yolo Counties. The area is rich in biodiversity, including bald and golden eagles, black bears, mountain lions, tule elk, and rare plants found nowhere else on Earth. The area provides habitat to so many kinds of plants and animals that it has been named a biodiversity hotspot.
Establishment of a National Monument will improve coordination between federal agencies and provide additional federal funding opportunities for conservation protection, invasive plant eradication, recreation management, and a coordinated multi-agency fire management plan.
Studies have shown that a national monument designation could be beneficial to the surrounding economies. A study by the Winters Chamber of Commerce found protected public lands are major contributors to our country’s $646 billion outdoor recreation economy. In California alone, more than half of all residents participate in outdoor recreation each year, supporting more than 700,000 jobs and generating more than $6 billion for our state’s economy.
The study also found that local economies surrounding national monuments expanded following the creation of a new national monument. Employment, personal income, and per capita income either continued or improved in each of the regions surrounding the national monuments studied.
The Berryessa Snow Mountain region also includes numerous trails, open spaces, lakes and rivers. These resources provide recreation opportunities for hikers, bikers, hunters, campers, off-highway vehicle users, and both motorized and non-motorized boaters. Many nationally recognized recreation and sportsmen groups support a national monument designation.
The National Monument designation only applies to land managed by the federal government. Lake Berryessa is not included in the National Monument designation. In addition, the designation protects private property rights and does not impact motorized recreation on Lake Berryessa. All existing grazing will also continue unchanged under the designation.
Motorized and mechanized travel will continue be allowed on designated roads and trails. Federal agencies will retain their existing authority to open new roads and trails or to temporarily close them when necessary, such as during major storms or emergencies.
Hunting and fishing will still be allowed in the National Monument and the California Department of Fish and Game will retain its authority over these forms of recreation. The National Monument designation does not impose any new regulations on hunting, fishing, or firearm use.
Existing laws and policies regarding firefighting will not be changed by the establishment of a National Monument. Federal agencies can continue to reduce fuels before fires start by thinning trees, establishing fuel breaks, and by using controlled-burns and other appropriate tools.