Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) today announced the introduction of legislation to expand the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to include approximately 3,925 acres of adjacent Bureau of Land Management-administered public lands in Lake County, California. It would also require the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service to improve tribal engagement and co-management of the National Monument, including for historic preservation, archaeological sites, and forest health. Congressmen John Garamendi and Mike Thompson (both D-Calif.) lead the legislation in the House.
Senators Feinstein and Padilla are strong advocates for the preservation of California’s natural lands. Last year, the senators introduced the PUBLIC Lands Act, legislation to increase protections for over a million acres of public lands throughout Northwest California, the Central Coast, and Los Angeles. They also introduced the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, a bill to add more than 191,000 acres of the Rim of the Valley Corridor to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
“This region of California is rich with Native American cultural landmarks and diverse ecosystems and wildlife. Since 2015, I’ve worked to protect and expand the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, securing more than 330,000 acres for federal protection. I’m proud to join Senator Padilla to build on the work started eight years ago to add another 4,000 acres to the monument,” Senator Feinstein said.
“California has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world—and it is our duty to preserve these pristine outdoor spaces and rare natural habitats to combat the climate crisis and benefit future generations,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “I am proud to be introducing this legislation to not only expand the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, but to usher in a new era of cooperative stewardship between our federal land management agencies and local tribes. For over 11,000 years, dozens of tribes have called “Molok Luyuk” home, and with the enactment of our bill, we can ensure that their unique tribal knowledge, history, and cultural practices will permanently be part of the National Monument.”
“Conserving California’s special places has been a lifelong passion throughout my tenure in the state legislature, as Deputy Secretary of the Interior to President Clinton, and now as a member of Congress representing Lake County. I introduced the ‘Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act’ with Congressman Mike Thompson in the U.S. House of Representatives to protect and expand the national monument, and I applaud Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein for championing this legislation in the United States Senate,” said Congressman John Garamendi.
“Back in 2016, I worked to designate the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a National Monument,” said Congressman Mike Thompson. “Earlier this year, I was proud to join Rep. Garamendi to expand this designation and protect more of our pristine public lands. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is crucial for protecting the biodiversity of the land and boosting our economy through recreational opportunities. I am glad the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act is being taken up in the Senate, led by Senators Feinstein and Padilla, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law by President Biden.”
“Molok Luyuk – or Condor Ridge – is a special part of Northern California and deserves special protections. We appreciate Senator Padilla and Feinstein’s leadership on this and their insistence that Native American voices be part of the conversation,” said Chairman Anthony Roberts of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. “Our ancestors traveled and traded there for centuries. With these protections, the unique resources on Molok Luyuk will endure, and Californians will be able to enjoy its natural beauty for generations to come.”
The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act would:
- Expand the existing National Monument to include approximately 3,925 acres of adjacent public land administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Lake County known previously as the “Walker Ridge” tract.
- Rename the BLM’s entire “Walker Ridge” tract in Lake and Colusa Counties to “Condor Ridge” translated from “Molok Luyuk” in the Patwin language of the Yocha Dehe and other federally recognized tribes indigenous to the area.
- Not impact privately owned, state, tribal, or non-federal land in any way and does not include the portion of the BLM’s Walker Ridge tract in Colusa County.
- Direct the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to finally complete the management plan for the National Monument, unfinished since 2015.
- Require the federal land management agencies (BLM and USFS) to engage in meaningful consultation with federally recognized Indian tribes regarding the development and implementation of the National Monument’s management plan.
- Provide opportunities for federal land management agencies (BLM and USFS) to enter into voluntary agreements with federally recognized Indian tribes for day-to-day management of the National Monument, including historic preservation, archaeological sites, and forest health.
Endorsements: Lake County Board of Supervisors, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Sierra Club, California Wilderness Coalition, The Wilderness Society, Latino Outdoors, Lake County Land Trust, Backcountry Anglers & Hunters, Earthjustice, California Native Plant Society, Hispanic Access Foundation, Conservation Lands Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Mojave Desert Land Trust, Pew Charitable Trusts, Woodland, CA-based Tuleyome nonprofit and Western Watersheds Project.
Text of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act is available here.
A map is available here.