America’s Great Outdoors Should Protect Berryessa Snow Mountain

Cache Creek from Redbud Trail, California. Photo by Sam Bledsoe.

On Wednesday July 7, Congressman Mike Thompson and members of the Obama administration officials will be in Davis, CA as part of its America’s Great Outdoors initiative.

The Wilderness Society, along with local partners, like Tuleyome, is urging the Obama administration to use America’s Great Outdoors to protect the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area.

Located less than 100 miles from the Bay area and Sacramento, the region stretching from Lake Berryessa to Snow Mountain is our outdoor wonderland. It provides California residents with clean drinking water, spectacular views, and places to hike, kayak, and more. Local people and groups have come together to support designating the Berryessa Snow Mountain region as a National Conservation Area so future generations can enjoy this natural treasure.

This summer, the Obama administration is organizing a series of “listening sessions” on America’s Great Outdoors to hear our best ideas for developing a new conservation strategy for protecting and connecting us to nature.

America’s Great Outdoors, a national conservation initiative, kicked off with a conference in April 2010 where government agencies came together in a show of unity to address conservation for the 21st century.

After hearing stories from across the country this summer about community-driven efforts to conserve America’s land, water and wildlife, the administration will compile our ideas into a November report that will focus on a revitalized national outdoors initiative that works for all Americans.

Which is why it is important that the administration leave Davis knowing that we want America’s Great Outdoors to:

Address Conservation at a Large Scale: Large natural areas, such as the Berryessa Snow Mountain region provide our best hope for addressing loss of species and open space, preserving water quality and adapting to climate change, while preserving the wildlife and lands we enjoy today.

Protect our Wildlands: Wild places are some of our healthiest and most intact lands. Permanently protecting the wildlands of the Berryessa Snow Mountain region and defending against threats to our wildest places should be a priority as the administration looks to leave a legacy of protected places for the public to enjoy.

Create Economic Opportunities: Protected public lands can provide economic benefits to their surrounding communities. Communities can diversify their economies by expanding tourism-related industries, boosting ecotourism in their region and thereby increasing demand for food and lodging services, and increase property values by protecting the area’s natural amenities.

Improve Watersheds and Wildlife Habitat: By investing in restoration of the Berryessa Snow Mountain region we will create jobs that are built around proper stewardship of our natural areas. This restoration will enhance wildlife habitat, preserve critical water supplies and connect people to the land.

Connect people with Nature: The Berryessa Snow Mountain region provides countless opportunities for connecting the communities of the Bay Area and the Central Valley with nature. Existing outreach programs for families and children will only be enhanced by permanent protection of this natural playground, where recreation and outdoor education opportunities abound.

To send a letter to the Obama administration asking them to protect this treasured area and other unique landscapes for future generations, please go to: