The Pinnacles Is Now A National Park

Sponsored by Sam Farr in the House and Barbara Boxer in the Senate, the legislation to establish the United States’ 59th National Park was signed by President Obama Thursday.

The Pinnacles National Monument is now the nation's newest national park, following President Obama's signature Thursday

The 26,000-acre Pinnacles, home to the endangered California condor and a popular spot for climbers from Hollister, was elevated to national park status by H.R. 3641, a bill authored by Congressman Sam Farr in July. Sen. Barbara Boxer worked with Farr on the U.S. Senate version of the bill that was passed during a rare Sunday session. The 59th national park is the first to be initiated into the system since 2004.

"I thank President Obama for signing this bill, which will help us attract even more visitors from around the world to one of California’s greatest treasures,” Senator Boxer said. 

Established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the central Californian Pinnacles National Monument is the eleventh oldest National Monument in the U.S. 

The area—home to over 600 species of animals and insects—received its name from the volcanic spires that were formed by the eruption of the Neenach Volcano over 23 million years ago.

“The legislation moved quickly through Congress because of its broad, grassroots support due to the positive impact it would have on the surrounding communities,” said Farr spokesperson Adam Russell.

Russell pointed to the outpouring of supporting from chambers of commerce Monterey and San Benito Counties, who hoped the park would draw in more tourists from around the state and world. 

“The Central Coast is ready to welcome visitors to this national treasure,” said Farr in a news release. “From exploring caves, to viewing springtime wildflowers, to hiking through spire-like rock formations, visitors and families can participate in activities that leave lasting memories.  It is truly worthy of national park status.”

The area, Boxer's news release said, holds cultural significance for several of California's Native American tribes and it served as a backdrop for John Steinbeck's “Of Mice and Men” and “East of Eden.” The legislation also renames the current Pinnacles Wilderness as the Hain Wilderness after Schuyler Hain, an early conservationist whose efforts led to the establishment of the Monument.

Supporters of the legislation include the Wilderness Society, the California Wild Heritage Campaign and the California Wilderness Project.

Jacob Bourne January 11, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Michael, clearly national parks are very good at protecting land even with high traffic. There are tons of visitors at pristine national parks around the country.
L.A. Chung January 11, 2013 at 08:28 PM
I think local businesses are also hoping that those who come to see Pinnacles will spend more time in town, after they've ventured a little ways in. ;-)
Michael A. Lewis January 11, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Clearly, national parks are very bad at protecting land by allowing and promoting high traffic. Development is not protection. Roads are not protection. There are no "pristine" national parks. Ever visit one? This is not what pristine means.
Michael A. Lewis January 11, 2013 at 08:39 PM
While this is indeed the case, is it the business of the United States government to promote local business by declaring a national park?
L.A. Chung January 11, 2013 at 09:00 PM
@Michael A. Lewis: That was a tongue-in-cheek reply about the business byproduct. In all seriousness, though, it would be useful to see how the Wilderness Society, the California Wilderness Project and the California Wild Heritage Campaign folks decided to support the project to answer your question. An organization does not lend support unless there has been an assessment that it meets its mission and is of sufficient priority. The links to those organizations are provided at the very bottom of the story and may have been difficult to see, sandwiched by the tags.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »