President Biden is expanding Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Northern California

President Joe Biden has signed a proclamation expanding Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, the White House announced Thursday.

In a statement, the White House said the expansion, approved by Biden under the Antiquities Act, “honors tribal nations and indigenous peoples by protecting this sacred California landscape and its historically and biologically important features, while protecting our public lands.” “America’s outdoor recreation economy is growing.”

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument encompasses approximately 330,000 acres of the California Coast Ranges in Napa, Yolo, Solano, Lake, Colusa, Glenn and Mendocino counties.

Molok Luyuk (Condor Ridge) at Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Northern California.

U.S. Department of the Interior/Bureau of Land Management

“The expansion adds 13,696 acres of public land managed by the Department of the Interior to the monument’s original 330,000 acres managed jointly by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service,” the statement said.

The signed proclamation also renames a ridgeline outside the boundary of the existing monument, previously known as “Walker Ridge.” It will be called “Molok Loyuk,” which means “Condor Ridge” in the language of the Patwin people.

“To further honor the Patwin People’s ties to this land, the Presidential Proclamation also directs the Secretary of the Interior to explore co-management of the area with tribal nations,” the White House said.

Pursuant to the proclamation, the Bureau of Land Management is charged with managing the newly expanded monument based on the same terms, conditions and management as the original monument designation. The office is also directed to incorporate the expansion area into the overall monument plan and prepare a travel management plan.

California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said the expansion “protects two very special places in California for future generations.”

“These monument expansions, combined with the construction of new proposed monuments in California currently under consideration, are win-win actions that benefit the people and nature of California alike. They will help us conserve 30 percent of California’s land by 2030, protect sacred cultural sites, and enshrine access to our public lands,” Crowfoot said.

Yocha Dehe Tribe Chairman Anthony Roberts expressed his gratitude, noting that Molok Luyuk is an area “steeped in millennia of rich history and has deep meaning for the Patwin people, whose traditional territory extends from these hills extending south to the shores of San Pablo Bay.” east to the Sacramento River.

“Elements of the natural landscape on the ridge have traditional cultural significance for us. We look forward to the day when condors fly over Molok Luyuk again,” he said.

In addition to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, Biden also approved the expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which consists of portions of the Angeles National Forest and the San Bernardino National Forest.

The White House clarified that the expansions are reserved only for federal lands and do not affect the property rights of state or private landowners.

“Existing government or private lands within the boundaries are not included in the monuments,” it said.

Mary Creasman, CEO of California Environmental Voters, welcomed the expansions while calling on the Biden administration to look for additional sites in California to designate national monuments so the U.S. can make further progress toward 30×30, a global initiative of governments must designate 30% of the Earth's land and sea areas as protected areas by 2030.

“Expanding our national monuments and protecting our public lands are important nature-based solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises,” she said.

Anna Harden

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