Press-Democrat: Ceremony marks dedication of new Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
By Eloisa Ruano Gonzalez
State and federal officials Saturday dedicated the new Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument with a ceremony and festival.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Reps. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, gathered along with hundreds of other officials and conservationists at Cowboy Camp, a popular recreation site west of Williams, to dedicate the monument that takes in a 331,000-acre mountainous region running through Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Solano and Yolo counties.
“After years of tireless work by countless numbers of people, the Berryessa Snow Mountain region finally has the permanent protection it deserves,” Thompson said in a statement. “It was an honor to join those who have been incredible partners and supporters in this effort at today’s dedication ceremony.”
In July, President Barack Obama designated the Berryessa Snow Mountain area as a national monument, offering a higher level of federal protection to its rolling hills and sensitive ecosystem, home to bald and golden eagles, black bears, mountain lions, northern spotted owls and rare plants. The White House also highlighted economic benefits that come with enhanced protections and unified management of the area, saying it would attract visitors and bring in more money.
The move was considered a major win for environmental activists and Northern California lawmakers who long pushed for greater conservation of the region, which already was under federal control.
The site will be managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Monument status could provide additional funding for conservation work, invasive-plant removal and recreation management, according to Thompson’s office. The site already provides popular spots for camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, mountain biking and whitewater rafting.