California’s Pinnacles to become nation’s newest national park?

 

 

Pinnacles National Monument

 

Wikimedia Commons: AWBridges

Volcanic spires, bat caves and some of California’s best climbing spots are only a few of the reasons visitors seek out Pinnacles National Monument.

This unique spot in central California, just east of Soledad, may soon become our nation's newest national park. This summer, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a proposed bill that would change Pinnacles’ status from monument to national park. The bill now moves to the Senate for a vote.

Pinnacles is the home of about 30 wild California condors with wingspans up to 10 feet across. These magnificent birds were almost extinct 25 years ago, but now there are about 200 living in the wild, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Pinnacles also boasts many other birds of prey, including falcons, kestrels, eagles, hawks and kites.

Condor

East of Monterey Bay and on the San Andreas fault, Pinnacles is also a site of unique culture and history. It has been inhabited by the native Chalon and Mutsun tribes, Spanish missionaries from Mexico and homesteaders from the Midwest.

Now, Pinnacles attracts tourists year-round, with almost 393,000 visitors last year. It is a top attraction for the area, so visitors bring business to the neighboring towns like Soledad. Many anticipate that the national park status would further entice visitors, boosting local income.

Currently one of the nation’s 101 national monuments, Pinnacles would become our country's 59th national park. The last one was established in 2004 at the Great Sand Dunes Park and Preserve in Colorado, according to the National Parks Service.

Visit this page to learn more about this special wild place and what The Wilderness Society is doing to protect it: Top Place: Pinnacles

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