Pinnacles National Park

Obama’s Signature on Pinnacles Gives California Nine National Parks

Saturday, January 19 2013 10:36   Other NPs
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President Barack Obama has signed legislation changing Pinnacles National Monument into a national park, not only giving the Central Coast its first national park, but California the honor of having the most number of national parks of any state.

"The Central Coast has long been recognized for our beautiful shoreline, where mountains meet the sea," said Rep. Sam Farr (D-20th). "Visitors have traveled the world to see our coast but now they are going to come to also see our cliffs."

oldpinntrailPresident Obama on Jan. 10, 2013 signed Farr's bill, H.R. 3641, creating Pinnacles National Park. With President Obama's signature, Pinnacles becomes the 59th national park in the National Park system. The Pinnacles National Park Act was brought forward in the Senate by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Pinnacles draws its name from the volcanic spires that were formed by the eruption of the Neenach Volcano over 23 million years ago. Established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26,000 acre Pinnacles National Monument is the 11th oldest National Monument in the United States.

The legislation passed both chambers of Congress unanimously because of its broad, grassroots support due to the positive impact it would have on the surrounding communities, Farr's spokesperson said.

Pinnacles is located in both Monterey and San Benito counties, and the legislation had support from both Chambers of Commerce and Visitors Bureaus. Ken Burns, director of "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" also supported the legislation.

"By elevating Pinnacles National Monument to national park status we also elevate the region's appeal to potential visitors," Farr said. "These new tourists will spend their dollars at local businesses and ultimately be the driving force that helps this region between the two counties grow and eventually prosper."

farrheadshotThe Pinnacles system is home to 149 species of birds, 49 mammals, 22 reptiles, six amphibians, 68 butterflies, 36 dragonflies and damselflies, nearly 400 bees and many thousands of other invertebrates.

Over 30 endangered California condors reside in the cliffs of the Pinnacles. Since 2003, the Park Service has been involved in the California Condor Recovery Program to re-establish California condors to the area.

Additionally, the caves located in the new park are breeding grounds for the Towsend big-eared bat, a species of special concern.

Rising out of the Gabilan Mountains east of central California's Salinas Valley, Pinnacles is the result of millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement. Within the park's boundaries lie nearly 27,000 acres of diverse wild lands.

Visitors delight in the beauty and variety of its spring wildflowers. The Pinnacles rock formations are a popular destination to challenge technical and beginner climbers alike.

Designated as a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the park's management will not change by the legislation.

bgcave_2The Pinnacles National Park Act recognizes the broader significance of park resources, specifically the chaparral, grasslands, blue oak woodlands, and majestic valley oak savanna ecosystems of the area, the area's geomorphology, riparian watersheds, unique flora and fauna, and the ancestral and cultural history of native Americans, settlers and explorers.

In addition to changing the park's status from national monument to national park, the legislation names the park's 16,000 acres of wilderness as the Hain Wilderness. The name honors Schuyler Hain who was an 1891 homesteader from Michigan.

Within 20 years Hain became known as the "Father of Pinnacles" leading tours up through Bear Valley and into the caves. Hain spoke to groups and wrote articles urging preservation of the area and acted as unofficial caretaker for many years. His efforts proved fruitful with the establishment of Pinnacles as a 2,500-acre national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

For more information about Pinnacles NP, visit the Web site at
www.nps.gov/pinn/ .

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