THOMPSON: NAPA CHAMBER ENDORSES PERMANENT PROTECTION OF BERRYESSA SNOW MOUNTAIN REGION
Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) today announced that the Napa Chamber of Commerce officially endorsed the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument proposal. Under National Monument designation, the region would be permanently protected. This would ensure continued recreational opportunities and provide the region with an 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. Under a national monument designation all currently owned federal lands within the boundary would be united under one management plan, allowing the region to be managed more efficiently and according to the site-specific needs.
“Establishing the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is good for our economy, environment and recreational opportunities,” said Thompson. “It will allow the area to be managed more efficiently and effectively, while benefiting businesses in communities surrounding the monument. I am grateful for the Chamber’s support and thank them for encouraging President Obama to take action that will permanently protect this national treasure.”
In a letter to President Obama, Napa Chamber of Commerce Chair Ken Frank writes, “The Berryessa Snow Mountain region contains vital conservation and science values including plate tectonic geology and biologic diversity; recreational opportunities for all, and can offer economic opportunities for gateway communities. Economically, the Napa Valley is a gateway to the region to the south and west. Permanent protect will support our local communities surrounding the park.”
The Berryessa Snow Mountain region stretches nearly one hundred miles from Northwest Solano County to the flanks of Snow Mountain. It encompasses more than 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 would be beneficial to the surrounding economies. A study by the Winters Chamber of Congress 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 and current access to and uses of private land will not be impacted the legislation.
Under a National Monument designation all existing grazing will continue unchanged. Grazing would be permitted in additional areas as long as it is accordance with all laws and regulations. And, the expanded use of grazing could be used as a management tool.
No legally-open roads or motorized vehicle trails will be closed as a result of the National Monument designation. 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 would 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.
In addition to the Napa Chamber of Commerce, Napa, Lake, Yolo, Solano and Mendocino Counties have all voted in support of permanent protection for the region. Additionally, the Calistoga Chamber of Commerce, Napa County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the cities of Calistoga, Clearlake, Davis, St. Helena, West Sacramento, and Winters support permanently protecting the Berryessa Snow Mountain region.
Also in support of the permanently protecting the region are:
- More than 65 elected officials including former Congressman Pete McCloskey, co-author of the Endangered Species Act.
- More than 200 businesses representing all five involved counties
- Nearly 30 landowners and farmers.
- More than 35 Recreation and conservation groups including the Blue Ribbon Coalition, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Ducks Unlimited, the Backcountry Horsemen of California, and the National Hispanic Environmental Council
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 and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 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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