Secretary Jewell Visits Berryessa Snow Mountain Region

Joins Public Meeting hosted by Congressman Mike Thompson to Hear from Community on Proposals to Conserve Public Lands in Lake, Napa, Yolo, Mendocino and Solano Counties

Last edited 09/29/2021

NAPA, Calif. – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today visited the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region of California where she joined Congressmen Mike Thompson and John Garamendi for a public meeting to hear from the community about its vision for the management of public lands in several counties in the north central part of the state. The visit builds on the Secretary's work to support locally-driven efforts to preserve and protect places that hold special meaning to communities across the country.

"This is a beautiful area with cultural history and great opportunities for outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing so it's no surprise that the community wants to make sure that it is protected and passed on to the next generation," said Jewell. "Today's opportunity to get out and see the public lands and to hear directly from the local and tribal communities about their vision for conservation and land management is important. I want to underscore our support of Congressman Thompson's efforts to recognize this region as a National Conservation Area, which could also lead to additional economic benefits to the region."

Jewell visited California at the invitation of Congressman Thompson, who has introduced legislation to establish the Berryessa-Snow Mountain National Conservation Area. She was also joined by USDA Undersecretary for Environment and Natural Resources Robert Bonnie and Chief of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Tom Tidwell.

Congressman Thompson's National Conservation Area proposal would conserve and enhance scenic, recreational and culturally significant lands and waters that are managed by Interior's Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation, as well as lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The legislation includes protections for 350,000 acres of land including three federally-recognized wilderness areas, Berryessa Peak and other key areas.

“We are supportive of Congressman Thompson's effort to solicit public comment on his proposal,” said Under Secretary Robert Bonnie. “The Forest Service also met with tribal leaders to discuss the proposal earlier this month. There appears to be significant public support for this proposal and we look forward to working with all interested parties as this process continues.”

“Protecting the Berryessa Snow Mountain region will help boost tourism, grow the local economy, improve recreation opportunities and protect important species found nowhere else on earth,” said Congressman Thompson. “That is why I've proposed legislation that would permanently safeguard this important region. However, Congress has refused to consider this bill. If Congress won't act, then I look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Jewell, Undersecretary Bonnie and the Obama Administration on plans to permanently protect the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a national monument.”

“The Berryessa Snow Mountain Region is a natural treasure at the heart of the 3rd District,” Congressman Garamendi said. “This region's rugged beauty helps sustain outdoor recreation businesses, serves as a valuable source of water, and provides critical habitats for our wildlife. It was vitally important to hear from our friends and neighbors in the community on how we can best preserve Berryessa Snow Mountain now and into the future. I look forward to translating these ideas into sound public policy.”

As part of their visit, Congressmen Thompson took Jewell, USDA officials and other state and local community members to portions of the proposed national conservation area within BLM's Cache Creek Wilderness. The 27,245-acre wilderness contains spectacular scenery, including steep canyons, scenic rivers, rolling oak woodlands and elaborate springtime wildflower displays.

The Berryessa Snow Mountain area provides significant recreation opportunities for people in the nearby San Francisco and Sacramento metropolitan areas, as well as visitors from around the world. The area contains opportunities for hiking, camping, boating, fishing, mountain biking, off-highway vehicle use and other types of recreation.

The area is known as a botanical ‘hotspot' for its rich diversity of plant species like the Sargent's cypress and serpentine willow and provides habitat for dozens of iconic California birds and animals including bald and golden eagles, black bears, mountain lions and herds of wild tule elk. The landscape rises from near sea level in the south to over 7,000 feet in the north, supporting such diverse ecosystems as the blue oak woodlands near Putah Creek in the south and the sub-alpine habitat within the Snow Mountain Wilderness.

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