News Coverage

03 May 2024

PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE: Public lands groups cheer expansion of two CA national monuments

Category: News Coverage

Conservation groups, tribes and community organizers are praising President Joe Biden's decision Thursday to expand two national monuments in California.

Together, the monuments will gain about 120,000 acres. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is 90 minutes northwest of Sacramento and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument lies just east of Los Angeles.

Brenda Gallegos, public lands manager for the nonprofit Hispanic Access Foundation, said millions of urban families live close to the San Gabriel Mountains.

"A lot of our Latino communities don't have access to nature, prominently, like 67% of Latino communities don't have access to green spaces or blue spaces," Gallegos pointed out. "Having these expansions designated today brings us closer to closing that nature gap."

The president used his powers under the Antiquities Act to expand the monuments in order to increase public access and protect the watershed and wildlife habitat. The move also makes progress toward Biden's goal of protecting 30% of the country's public lands by 2030.

Gallegos said Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Lake County will include an area previously known as Walker Ridge, now renamed Moluk Loyuk, which means Condor Ridge in the Patwin tribal language.

"This is important because it establishes a co-stewardship with federally recognized tribes and will return the indigenous names of these lands to them," Gallegos explained. "This continues to build that great relationship with tribes."

Land managers will now create a new management plan for the area, which could include new campsites, hiking and mountain biking trails, and even off-highway vehicle-designated routes.

Written by Suzanne Potter for Public News Service. 

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