Today, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) joined Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell for a tour of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands on California's North Coast. Huffman and Jewell also held a public meeting to discuss the addition of the public lands to the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM).
"I am very pleased that Secretary Jewell accepted my invitation to the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands and was able to see the tremendous support from the local community for adding these lands to the California Coastal National Monument," Congressman Huffman said. "This is an unmatched opportunity to preserve a pristine stretch of coastline and boost the local tourism industry, already Mendocino County's largest employer. I hope Secretary Jewell and the Obama administration find this land as beautiful and worthy of preservation as we do."
"Today I had a chance to hike this spectacular coastline and to see first-hand how important this area is for the community and for its economy -- from tourism to outdoor recreation," said Jewell. "And this afternoon I heard from a community who is proud of their incredible landscapes and proud of the work they've done over the years to protect them for current and future generations. We have an opportunity here to not only support the community's vision to conserve this land, but also to create a world-class destination for outdoor recreation and the study of coastal resources, and to strengthen the local economies."
Today's public meeting was one of the last steps before the Obama Administration can use the authority under the Antiquities Act to add the public lands to the CCNM. This designation would be the first land-based addition to the CCNM, currently made up of more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, and reefs along the California coast.
This designation would permanently protect more than 1,660 acres, add 10 miles to the California Coastal Trail and protect other natural jewels such as the Garcia Estuary and two miles of the Garcia River, critical habitat for salmon and steelhead. The land includes habitat for endangered species, including the Point Arena mountain beaver and the Behren's silverspot butterfly.
The designation would keep the current recreational, ranching, and research uses of the land, and provide a boost to the tourism industry, already Mendocino County's largest employer and economic engine.
In July the House of Representatives unanimously passed Rep. Huffman's bill to expand the California Coastal National Monument through the addition of Mendocino's Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands. This was Rep. Huffman's first bill introduced as a U.S. Congressman. A companion bill, S. 61, was also introduced in the Senate by Senators Boxer and Feinstein.