REP. THOMPSON DEDICATES BERRYESSA SNOW MOUNTAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today joined Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel, California State Director for the Bureau of Land Management Jerry Perez, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (CA-03), Senator Lois Wolk, Assemblyman Bill Dodd and other community and conservation leaders at a dedication ceremony to commemorate the designation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.
“After years of tireless work by countless numbers of people, the Berryessa Snow Mountain region finally has the permanent protection it deserves,” said Thompson. “It was an honor to join those who have been incredible partners and supporters in this effort at today’s dedication ceremony.”
On July 10, 2015, President Barack 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 a 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. Thompson had introduced legislation in the House of Representatives with companion legislation championed by Senator Barbara Boxer in the 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses to provide permanent protection for the region.
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 Glenn, Colusa 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 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.
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.
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