February 12, 2015
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
On behalf of our more than one million members and supporters, we ask you to permanently protect the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a national monument.
The Berryessa Snow Mountain region stretches more than 100 miles and encompasses more than 350,000 acres across Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Solano, and Yolo Counties. All five counties within the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region have endorsed permanent protection for the area, which is rich in biodiversity, including species like bald and golden eagles, black bears, mountain lions, river otters, and tule elk, not to mention rare plants found nowhere else on the planet and important sources of drinking water and irrigation for nearby communities. The region also includes numerous trails, open spaces, lakes, and rivers, providing recreation opportunities for hikers, bikers, campers, hunters, boaters, and others.
Our members have joined the groundswell of local families, business owners, environmentalists, and elected officials asking you to use your authority under the Antiquities Act to protect the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a national monument. As you know, Rep. Mike Thompson and several of his fellow California members of Congress have attempted for years to get the U.S. Congress to designate the area as a National Conservation Area. In 2013, Thompson introduced House of Representatives Bill 1025, the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area Act. Senator Barbara Boxer introduced S.483, a companion bill in the Senate, but Congressional gridlock stopped the proposals in their tracks.
At this time, it appears unlikely that Congress will move forward on proposed legislation that would accomplish the same goal, although we are also supportive of the new version of federal legislation introduced recently by Rep. Thompson and Senators Feinstein and Boxer. We deeply appreciate the efforts of so many elected officials and California’s environmental and recreation advocates over these last several years to collaborate with the community on permanently protecting this local and national treasure.
In December 2014, CLCV staff attended a public meeting in Napa with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie, along with hundreds of other attendees who were overwhelmingly supportive of permanently protecting the Berryessa Snow Mountain region. Many local residents including business owners, students, wilderness advocates, and scientists testified that national monument status will have immediate benefits for the local community and economy. In particular, a national monument designation will bring new resources to improve the experience of visitors and local residents alike.
Last year, you used your executive authority to permanently safeguard two major areas of wilderness in California. We hope that the Berryessa Snow Mountain region is next on your list. Permanently protecting the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a national monument would be a win for the community, the economy, and the environment. Please listen to local voices of support and act to preserve this national treasure for future generations.
We thank you for your leadership on protecting public lands so that all Americans will enjoy them for generations to come.
California League of Conservation Voters
League of Conservation Voters