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White House declares Berryessa-Snow Mountain national monume

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White House declares Berryessa-Snow Mountain national monume

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:46 am

White House declares Berryessa-Snow Mountain national monument

President Barack Obama is designating the Berryessa Snow Mountain area as a national monument, permanently protecting the rolling mountainous region that runs through Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Solano and Yolo counties.

Federal protections announced early Friday in Washington for the Berryessa-Snow Mountain area cover 331,000 acres. The move, hailed as a major win for environmental activists and Northern California lawmakers who have long pushed for conservation measures in the region, is expected to preserve sensitive plant and animal habitat, as well as spur millions of dollars a year in economic activity.

“It deserves to be protected for future generations,” said Sara Husby-Good, executive director of Tuleyome, a nonprofit aimed at protecting the lands. “It’s a really great area.”

Other conservation groups have applauded efforts to preserve the region, including the Wilderness Society, a national conservation group, describing the “sweeping oak-dotted hills, creeks and meadows” as “premier wildlife habitat that has rapidly disappeared in California.”

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, has also praised future economic benefits, pointing out that its protection will “help boost tourism, grow the local economy, improve recreation opportunities and protect species.”

The White House highlighted economic and ecosystem benefits that come with federal protections, saying that the national monument will “boost local economies by attracting visitors and generating more revenue and jobs for local communities.”

Two other areas also received protection, including the Waco Mammoth National Monument in Texas and the Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada.

The Berryessa-Snow Mountain designation is expected to generate $26 million to $50 million in local economic activity over the next five years, according to estimates by the Winters Chamber of Commerce. Tourism is also expected to rise 20 to 30 percent.

Bald eagles, black bears and mountain lions roam the region, which also affords humans places for hiking, mountain biking, camping and whitewater rafting. Hunting and fishing would continue to be allowed in the national monument, along with existing grazing and motorized vehicle trails, officials said.

The site, which was already owned by the federal government, will be jointly managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

You can reach Staff Writer Angela Hart at 526-8503 or angela.hart@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ahartreports. Staff Writers Guy Kovner and Glenda Anderson contributed to this report.


Source: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/41868 ... w-mountain



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Re: White House declares Berryessa-Snow Mountain national mo

Postby dave54 » Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:37 pm

I have mixed feelings about the monument designation. My first question is why? The land is already in federal ownership and well managed. Existing uses are allowed to continue. The area has already been explored for oil and mineral deposits, and nothing was found that could entice future development. So I do not see any real advantage of monument designation over the previous status. Obama trying to improve his environmental track record with elections coming up?

The Nevada Basin and Range designation concerns me. It encompasses the already designated Worthington wilderness and the Leviathan Cave. The Leviathan Cave receives maybe a handful of visitors each year. Very few people know of it, and it is really hard to get to (from a maintained dirt road you travel several hours in 4wd on a rutted rugged two track to the roads end, then start hiking about 3 - 4 hours uphill cross country. Some maps show a trail, but that mostly some mapmaker's imagination), with no water available a good portion of the year. It may be the largest remaining cave system in the U.S. that is not under tight access and control. I fear monument designation will publicize and improve access to a real gem of a cave that is currently under no regulation. Numerous other smaller unmapped caves in the area. The more people hiking all over that range the more a real pristine area will get trashed.

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Re: White House declares Berryessa-Snow Mountain national mo

Postby WarrenFork » Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:35 am

dave54 wrote:The Nevada Basin and Range designation concerns me. It encompasses the already designated Worthington wilderness and the Leviathan Cave. The Leviathan Cave receives maybe a handful of visitors each year. Very few people know of it, and it is really hard to get to (from a maintained dirt road you travel several hours in 4wd on a rutted rugged two track to the roads end, then start hiking about 3 - 4 hours uphill cross country. Some maps show a trail, but that mostly some mapmaker's imagination), with no water available a good portion of the year. It may be the largest remaining cave system in the U.S. that is not under tight access and control. I fear monument designation will publicize and improve access to a real gem of a cave that is currently under no regulation. Numerous other smaller unmapped caves in the area. The more people hiking all over that range the more a real pristine area will get trashed.


Indeed. From the "Recreation" page of Protect Basin and Range, the group that has agitated for the monument designation:

The spelunking opportunities in Leviathan Cave are extraordinary with its huge entrance (large enough to land a military helicopter in!), cave formations, enormous chambers, narrow constricted passageways, and large ice formations during winter and spring months.

Outdoor recreation and tourism are a vital part of the Nevada economy. The Outdoor Industry Association found that active outdoor recreation generates 148,000 jobs across Nevada and produces $14.9 billion annually in consumer spending.


Note how they segue directly into the economic advantages of tourism after describing the cave. National monument status for the Escalante country of southern Utah has resulted in a huge increase in visitation, with all the attendant environmental impacts, an ever-rising tide of regulations, and a clutch of bright and shiny visitor centers. How ironic that the same group maintains on the same page that "Open to everyone, these lands are yours to explore in your own way."

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Re: White House declares Berryessa-Snow Mountain national mo

Postby dave54 » Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:08 pm

WarrenFork wrote:...Outdoor recreation and tourism are a vital part of the Nevada economy. The Outdoor Industry Association found that active outdoor recreation generates 148,000 jobs across Nevada and produces $14.9 billion annually in consumer spending.[/i]...


IIRC Utah State had a economic research paper about 20(?) years ago that showed the economic benefits from recreation was from developed recreation (RVs, OHV, large camping facilities, et al). Non developed recreation like backpacking is a net loss for local economies. Yet every time another area is set aside to be 'protected' one of the main benefits always touted is economic.
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Re: White House declares Berryessa-Snow Mountain national mo

Postby Alcy » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:34 am

Yet every time another area is set aside to be 'protected' one of the main benefits always touted is economic.


Any time we go on a trip, we are far more likely to explore an area designated as monument, state park, or national park, so I'd agree with the study. In fact once I told my spouse about Berryessa/Snow Mountain becoming a national monument, we're now thinking of going, and this is a place we've never even thought of exploring. Our first preference for lodging will be dispersed camping (if allowed) followed by campgrounds, followed by hotels. Even though you emphasize backpacking in your post Dave, our preference is 7 to 14 mile day hikes. So for us, we will spend money on gas, food, lodging, and whatever local shops are in the area. If the area is remote we always stock up at the nearest town. I''ve seen on other forums that the area has had significant poaching and excessive off road vehicles, which would've been a sure turn off for us.
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Re: White House declares Berryessa-Snow Mountain national mo

Postby Ikan Mas » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:34 pm

Now that you want to go there, here is a report from last spring.
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=12708
I would wait till this coming fall or spring. Its probably not so pleasant there right now and not a little bit hard to find water this drought year.
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Re: White House declares Berryessa-Snow Mountain national mo

Postby Alcy » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:06 pm

Nice shots and trip report Ikan! Thanks for the beta. The wildflowers in spring look great. Looking forward to checking out some of the area and thanks for the heads up on the water situation.
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