California’s Berryessa Snow Mountain: Saving this slice of biodiversity

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

The Wilderness Society is helping to lead an effort to add one of Northern California’s incredible and most biologically diverse landscapes to the National Landscape Conservation System.

Located less than 100 miles from the Bay Area and Sacramento, the proposed Berryessa — Snow Mountain National Conservation Area is a dazzling outdoor wonderland, rich in natural features and recreational opportunities such as hiking, riding, kayaking, hunting, fishing and bird watching.

Stretching from the shores of Lake Berryessa, near Davis, to the Snow Mountain Wilderness in the Mendocino National Forest, this stunning region showcases an annual explosion of wildflowers, glittering snow fields, and unspoiled waterways like Cache Creek — a state Wild & Scenic River.

It is also one of the most biologically diverse — yet least known — areas of California. Visitors may view the second-largest population of wintering bald eagles in California, watch herds of wild tule elk, and glimpse the rarely seen Pacific fisher. Black bear, mountain lion, osprey, river otter, and trout thrive here. And almost half of California’s dragonfly species, as well as a wealth of butterflies, fly through the clear skies.

Narrow-leaf Goldenrod with Monarch. Photo by Art Shapiro.By designating Berryessa Snow Mountain a National Conservation Area, the landscape will become a part of the National Landscape Conservation System — which includes the very best lands and waters managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

Interest in this conservation effort is growing and we are excited about the prospects for the coming year. TWS and our coalition partners are reaching out to our members in California and over the past few months, the campaign has focused on gathering support from local chambers of commerce, city council members, hunters, business owners, farmers, and others. We will continue to work hard to gain support in the communities surrounding this region.

The proposed National Conservation Area is supported by The Wilderness Society as well as by Tuleyome, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, California Wilderness Coalition, Berryessa Trails and Conservation, and the California Native Plant Society — Sacramento Valley Chapter.

For visitors

If you live nearby, join the Capay Valley Hiking Club to hike to the headwaters of Cold Canyon on Sunday, Nov. 1. Find details on this trip and other hiking opportunities in the region.


Cache Creek from Redbud Trail, California. Photo by Sam Bledsoe.
Narrow-leaf Goldenrod with Monarch. Photo by Craig Thomsen.