House Passes Bill Upgrading Pinnacles to National Park
July 31, 2012
After years of working to improve and protect Pinnacles National Monument, Rep. Sam Farr’s (D, Carmel) Pinnacles National Park Act—a bill calling for an upgrade to a national park status—was passed by the House of Representatives.
Coming just a few months after the designation of 15,000 acres as Fort Ord National Monument, the creation of a 26,000-acre Pinnacles National Park has many local officials from San Benito and Monterey counties seeing green.
San Benito County Supervisor Jerry Muenzer says because his county is 40 miles from the coast they don’t see the same economic benefits as tourist-packed coastal communities like Big Sur and Monterey. “We feel the designation of a national park will lead more people [to] take a drive inland to see the Pinnacles,” Muenzer says.
Aside from the economic benefits of a national park designation, it would also provide protection for an area that has been part of the California Condor Recovery Program since 2003. There are currently 30 of the endangered birds flying free among the volcanic spires that give the monument its name.
The Pinnacles National Park Act will now make its way to the Senate and, if it passes, will head to the President’s desk for signature and establishment as the nation’s 59th national park.