Garamendi and Thompson Introduce Bill to Expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument – The Vacaville Reporter

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A congressional bill to expand the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to include more federal land has been introduced by the two Solano County congressmen.

Representatives John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove; and Mike Thompson, D-Saint Helena, introduced the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act as an extension of legislation introduced by Thompson in 2014 to designate the 330,780 acres of land stretching from Mendocino to Solano County as a monument national. Garamendi, who served as Assistant Home Secretary under President Bill Clinton, then-Sen. Barbara Boxer signed on as a co-sponsor of the original bicameral bill.

A year later, then-President Barack Obama declared the federal land surrounding Lake Berryessa a national monument. Now, Thompson and Garamendi have introduced new legislation to go further by incorporating an adjacent federal plot of land in Lake County known as the Walker Ridge tract into the monument area.

“This legislation will expand the Snow Mountain region to include Walker Ridge, protecting even more public land,” Thompson said in a statement. “I am honored to work with Congressman Garamendi to ensure that our public lands are protected for generations to come.”

The bill also seeks to rename the ridge line from “Walker Ridge” to “Condor Ridge” – or “Molok Luyuk” in the Patwin language. The change, according to a press release from Garamendi’s office, is intended to benefit the region’s cultural significance to indigenous tribes such as the federally recognized Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

Representative Mike Thompson (File Photo / Rich Freedman – Times-Herald)

“Conserving California’s Special Places has been a lifelong passion throughout my tenure in the state legislature, as President Clinton’s Assistant Home Secretary, and now as a member of the Congress representing Lake County, ”Garamendi said in a statement. “Walker Ridge is one of those special places, and I am delighted to continue to work in Congress to conserve this unique landscape for future generations of Californians.”

The bill was approved by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, whose president – Anthony Roberts – issued a statement of support.

“Molok Luyuk – or Condor Ridge – is a special part of northern California and deserves special protections,” he wrote. “We appreciate the leadership of Congressman Garamendi on this matter and his insistence that Native American voices be part of the conversation. Our ancestors traveled and traded there for centuries. With these protections, Molok Luyuk’s unique resources will endure and Californians will enjoy its natural beauty for generations to come.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

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