Business, Community Leaders, Conservationists Celebrate Inclusion of Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in the California Coastal National Monument

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President Obama's action expands National Conservation Lands in response to local community

The monument expansion adds 1,664 acres to the National Conservation Lands, increasing access to outdoor recreation, protecting wildlife habitat , Native American heritage while boosting the local economy.

Today, Mendocino community and business leaders join elected officials, sportsmen and conservation groups in celebrating President Barack Obama’s expansion of the California Coastal National Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands.

The monument expansion adds 1,664 acres to the National Conservation Lands, increasing access to outdoor recreation along California’s North Coast, protecting wildlife habitat and Native American heritage while serving as a tourist draw that will boost the local economy.

“We appreciate President Obama responding to local communities and protecting our most important public lands,” said Sam Goldman, California Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “The expansion of the California Coastal National Monument is a step forward in reconnecting Americans with the outdoors, and it ensures that one of the most significant parts of California’s coastline will be protected for current and future generations.”

The Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, the North Coast Tourism Board and the Point Arena Merchants Association had all called on the President to protect the Pont Arena-Stornetta public lands, as the increased recognition for the area is expected to contribute to the local tourism economy.

“The support for this designation is practically unanimous in the Mendocino business community as it will further raise the visibility and interest in the area, driving additional visitation to the county,” said Scott Schneider, President and CEO of Visit Mendocino County. “It means more than they will ever know that the President and Secretary Jewell saw fit to protect this area in a way that will also have a positive impact on our local tourism economy.”

President Obama’s monument designation came in response to broad support from the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians, Trout Unlimited, the Mendocino Audubon Society and numerous elected officials and civic leaders and conservation organizations. Local grade-school students had made protecting Stornetta a class project, sending paintings of the lands to the White House along with letters asking the President for the area to be protected.

“As part of the community of Point Arena and the Mendocino Coast, we are proud of the national recognition of the Stornetta Public Lands as part of the California Coastal National Monument which will preserve this land for many generations to come,” commented Ty Moore, Executive Director of the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers.

As part of the National Conservation Lands, the national monument expansion ensures that current uses including ranching will continue as they are managed today. The designation also provides further protection for the Garcia River watershed and critical wildlife habitat for a number of migratory waterfowl and threatened and endangered species, including the Point Arena mountain beaver.

Congressmen Jared Huffman played a key role in securing today’s monument proclamation. Huffman championed legislation to protect the area. Along with Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Huffman also requested that the President to use to his authority under the Antiquities Act to expand the California Coastal Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands.

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Meghan Kissell