Rep. Jared Huffman Joins President Obama At White House Ceremony Permanently Protecting Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands
WASHINGTON—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) joined President Barack Obama today at the White House for a ceremony where the President used his executive authority to expand the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands on the Mendocino Coast. This is the first land-based addition to the CCNM and permanently protects more than 1,660 acres of beach, bluffs, and other natural jewels such as the Garcia River estuary. The protected areas sustain several rare, threatened, and endangered species including coho salmon, steelhead, the Point Arena mountain beaver, and the Behren’s silverspot butterfly.
“I am thrilled that President Obama has preserved these pristine and breathtaking coastal lands,” Congressman Huffman said. “It is fitting that President Obama is following in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt in using the Antiquities Act—the same law used to protect the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty—to protect this jewel of the Mendocino Coast for future generations. Thousands of new visitors each year will flock to see this gateway to the Coastal National Monument. As they enjoy some of the best ocean views in Northern California, they will also provide a significant boost to the local tourism industry, already Mendocino County’s biggest employer. I thank President Obama for bringing this land into permanent protection as a National Monument.”
“The Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands are a national treasure,” said Congressman Mike Thompson. “I commend President Obama for continuing to make this a year of action by expanding the California Coastal National Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands. There are no federal lands more pristine than these, and I thank and applaud the President for taking action to preserve and protect these lands forever, and to strengthen our tourism economy and the jobs that come with it.”
Last July, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Congressman Huffman’s first bill as a U.S. Congressman to expand the California Coastal National Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands. Huffman was joined by original cosponsor Congressman Mike Thompson, who previously represented the North Coast and twice introduced legislation in the 111th and 112th Congresses to protect this land. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
In 2000, President Clinton established the California Coastal National Monument for the purpose of protecting more than 1,100 miles of California coastline, comprising more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs.
At the White House ceremony, Huffman was joined by advocates from Mendocino, including:
- Leslie Dahlhoff, Former Mayor, Point Arena
- Scott Schneider, President and CEO, Visit Mendocino County Inc.
- Eloisa Oropeza, Tribal Chairwoman, Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians
- Larry Stornetta, Rancher and former land owner of a portion of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands
- Merita Whatley, Manager, Point Arena Lighthouse and member of Point Arena Merchants Association
National Monuments bring tourists from around the world to shop at local businesses, dine at restaurants, and stay at hotels, strengthening the local economy and spurring job growth. In Mendocino County, 74 percent of tourists visit the region’s public lands, bringing an estimated $314 million in annual economic activity to the region. The potential benefit to the local economy is just one of the reasons why the effort to protect this amazing stretch of the Mendocino coast has such broad support—from State and local elected officials, to the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians, conservation groups across the country, and local businesses and civic leaders.
The designation keeps the current recreational, ranching, and research uses of the land.