Monday, July 03, 2017

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument: A Monument in Danger

By Photo by Bob Wick, BLM
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

National Monuments in Danger

We are down to the final days of the comment period!  Please, take the time today to comment on the fate of this national monument, any of the other 27 monuments on the Interior Department's list, or on the fate of all of them.  

To comment on the monument review process (due July 10, 2017):

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument was designated by President Barack Obama on July 10, 2015 and is co-managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Managment (BLM).  

On my last trip through this region last December, I was not working with very good maps until later in the trip and I did not know about this monument or I would have visited.  I thought I knew this area pretty well, but things change, I just hope they don't change this back!

I spent a lot of time in the Sacramento area over the years, but I've never explored this area. I've wanted to for years, especially the Clear Lake Volcanic Field just to the west of the monument, but in December I decided to save that for a different trip, since I was focusing on National Parks in honor of the National Park Service (NPS) centennial last year.

On that trip, I was including the non-NPS monuments, too.  For many reasons, I have a fond appreciation for these special places.  I truly regret overlooking Berryessa Snow Mountain now, since it would have fit in happily with last year's project and sadly with this year's... 

Nye-cabin Smow Mtn
By U.S. Forest Service/Marc Garman
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

L.A. Times: Activists choose broad path to preserve Berryessa-Snow Mountain area (January 10, 2015)

Tuleyome's carefully choreographed — and patient — effort to preserve this portion of the Coast Range has become a model for how to accomplish conservation goals in the realpolitik of the moment.

Working steadily since 2002, the group has painstakingly stitched together a network of unlikely supporters. Initially, the goal was to ask Congress to approve legislation that would create a Berryessa-Snow Mountain Conservation area, a designation that generally allows a wide range of recreation.

The group quickly learned it had to pivot on major issues to keep the loose coalition together. When hunters at early public meetings indicated they were worried about losing their privileges, the group launched community outreach campaigns reassuring them that hunting would not be excluded.

Off-roaders weighed in, too, insisting that motorized recreation not be shut out from the proposed conservation area. The bill was rewritten to include ATV trails. Boaters were also promised that they could still motor around Lake Berryessa.

The Davis Enterprise: Survey identifies ‘exceptional’ natural attributes at Berryessa Snow Mountain (June 28, 2017)

Brett Dickson is the president and chief scientist of Conservation Science Partners Inc., the nonprofit group based in Truckee that conducted the new survey (released on Tuesday) on behalf of the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C., think tank. 

Dickson told The Enterprise that for the study, “We did an analysis of the 22 national monuments under review, including Berryessa Snow Mountain. And what really kind of stood out for me was not just various ecological attributes at Berryessa Snow Mountain, but how they really rank compared to 21 other national monuments that we looked at. 

“We found indicators of ecological importance, a number of rare ecosystems, and a number of rare species that go along with rare ecosystems. Berryessa Snow Mountain also has exceptionally high bird diversity. 

“And the area is incredibly topographically diverse. The ruggedness of the terrain, with high peaks and deep valleys, provide important resilience as our climate continues to change. We see the environmental conditions that are likely to sustain those same species with ongoing climate change. The area really has it all in terms of varying types of diversity. It is exceptional.”

Lake Country News: Board of Supervisors reaffirms support for Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (June 29, 2017)

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to once again support the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, which now is under federal review...  
Lower Lake resident Victoria Brandon, speaking on behalf of the Lake County Sierra Club and Tuleyome, gave the Board of Supervisors a brief presentation on Tuesday morning about the monument’s review as part of asking for a vote to reaffirm support.

Brandon had similarly gone to the Lakeport City Council earlier this month to ask for support, getting a unanimous vote.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Congressman John Garamendi also have spoken in favor of preserving the monuments, with Garamendi offering specific support for Berryessa Snow Mountain, which runs through his district.

Times-Hearld News: Former Bay Area man on marathon trip to save threatened Berryessa Snow Mountain (June 28, 2017)

Calling Berryessa Snow Mountain “a stunning place,” Brent Rose said his recent visit to the local site whose National Monument status is threatened by the Trump Administration, was not what he expected. 

Described as a millennial Charles Kuralt, Rose recently set out to visit all 22 of the National Monuments that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is evaluating for possible de-classification. He made it to Berryessa on Tuesday. 

“The first thing I did upon arriving was to drive up Walker Ridge Road to get to an overlook,” he said. “I was expecting more or less barren land, but I was shocked by the incredible diversity of vegetation. Manzanita with bright red skin, and cypress in varieties I’ve never seen.”

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Dedication Celebration

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Map (as of July 2017) - PDF

To comment on the monument review process (due July 10, 2017):


Rubble - National Monuments in Danger:

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument   

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument: 27 Monuments Stop #16 (July 2, 2017)



Official Website




Friends of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument:



The White House:

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