Date: Monday, September 25, 2023
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracy Stone-Manning visited Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument this weekend to meet with federal, Tribal, state and local officials, and community members to learn about their vision for conserving the natural and cultural resources in the region.
During the visit, Secretary Haaland, Director Stone-Manning, Congressmen John Raymond Garamendi and Mike Thompson, and leaders from the BLM and U.S. Forest Service heard directly from the community on proposals to expand the existing National Monument to protect culturally important sites on adjacent BLM-managed public land. There is pending congressional legislation to expand the monument, rename the area commonly known as “Walker Ridge” to Condor Ridge, or Molok Luyuk in the Patwin language, and provide opportunities for the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service to further collaborate with Tribes in the management of the National Monument.
The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument was established by Presidential Proclamation on July 10, 2015, in order to protect its rich biodiversity, including rare endemic species, unique serpentine outcrops, relic prairies, and riparian habitats. In addition to providing essential habitat for fish and wildlife, the area is important for scientific study, prehistoric and historic preservation, and exceptional outdoor recreational opportunities.
The lands within the Monument are some of the most scenic in northern California, ranging from rolling oak-studded hillsides to steep canyons and ridgelines with expansive views. These lands retain deep cultural significance for approximately two dozen federally recognized Tribes who inhabited them for at least the last 11,000 years.
Encompassing more than 330,000 acres of public land, the National Monument is jointly managed by the BLM (approximately 133,000 acres) and the U.S. Forest Service (approximately 197,000 acres). Since the establishment of the Monument, the two agencies have worked to carefully manage the objects and values identified in the proclamation. The agencies have held several community conversations to gather public input and build a shared vision for stewardship of the Monument. Additionally, the BLM has created and filled a new Tribal Liaison position in California to facilitate consultation and collaboration with Tribes.