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Tracking measurable success on preserving and connecting California's Parks & Wildlife Corridors


Monday, December 7, 2009

Pinnacles Park may grow...

Rep. Farr Introduces Bill For Los Padres National Forest


Earlier this month, Rep. Sam Farr (D-17) introduced H.R. 4040, a bill that would designate areas in the northern portion of Los Padres National Forest as wilderness. The bill also designates stretches of Arroyo Seco, the Carmel River, and the San Antonio River as Wild & Scenic. Finally, the bill would also establish the area as a separately funded unit of the forest. Los Padres National Forest stretches from Big Sur all the way into Los Angeles County, and the issues faced in the north can be quite different from those farther south, so the bill makes sense in that regard. Rep. Farr has posted more details about the bill on his website. In other news from Rep. Farr’s district: As we reported in our August-September Update, Rep. Farr had introduced a bill, H.R. 3444, that would make Pinnacles National Monument a unit of the National Park System.

At a Congressional hearing the National Park Service spoke out in opposition to the legislation. Steve Whitesell, associate director for park planning, testified, “The term 'national park' has generally been reserved for units that contain a variety of resources and encompasses large land or water areas to help provide adequate protection of the resources. Pinnacles National Monument does not include the full range of resources usually found in national parks.” Mr. Whitesell also requested that committee delay renaming any units until the National Parks Second Century Commission has made its recommendations regarding simplifying the naming of units. NPS is hoping to reduce the number of titles for the lands that it manages. I

n support of his proposal, Rep. Farr testified to the uniqueness of Pinnacles: “It is one of the few regions in the world that boasts a Mediterranean climate; it serves as home for dozens of federally protected species; it has a long, rich cultural history; it serves as a center for geological science, it's an area of unspoiled beauty; and opening this summer thanks to the use of Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase the Pinnacles Ranch the Pinnacles Campground is now within the boundaries of Pinnacles National Monument, and is managed by a concessionaire." He also said that an adjacent landowner might be willing to sell 18,000 acres, bringing the monument’s size to 44,000 acres total.

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