Pinnacles National Park Draws Condors, 400 Kinds of Bees and People


President Obama signed legislation Jan. 10, 2013 upgrading Pinnacles from a national monument to a national park to preserve a unique natural wonder that draws both human visitors and a surprising variety of wildlife.

Its many caves house 14 species of bats, and a rainbow of other species thrive here among the chaparral hills and oak savannas: 149 kinds of birds, dozens of mammals, 22 types of reptiles, 8 amphibians, 69 butterflies and almost 400 species of bees (the National Park Service says it has “the highest known bee diversity per unit area of any place on earth.”)

Some of the most popular creatures that draw sightseers are its endangered California condors. Since 2003, Pinnacles has been part of the California Condor Recovery Program and it manages about 30 of the birds which are tagged but fly freely. And more of the huge birds, some with up to 10-foot wingspans, may be on the way. In 2010, a condor chick hatched in Pinnacles, the first time in a century where the birds once thrived.

The path toward becoming the nation’s 59th national park was paved by Rep. Sam Farr (D, CA-17) who introduced The Pinnacles National Park Act, or H.R.  3641, in 2011, and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) whose 2011 Pinnacles bill was co-sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

The opportunity to see wildlife, enjoy terrific rock climbing or just take in an inspiring vista will draw even more visitors as a national park, officials said.

“San Benito County is grateful to Congressman Sam Farr for all the hard work he has done on this bill,” said Debbie Taylor, President and CEO of the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce.

This volcanic wonderland of spires and caves in Central California, is a refuge of biodiversity and a star tourist stop