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Secretary Haaland Celebrates President Biden's Expansion of Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland applauded President Biden’s 13,696-acre expansion of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in northern California’s Inner Coast Range today. The new designation protects a striking 11-mile-long north-south ridgeline that is sacred to the Patwin people and hosts a mosaic of rare natural features supported by the area’s unique geologic and hydrologic features. The presidential proclamation also permanently renames the ridgeline, previously known as “Walker Ridge,” to Molok Luyuk, which means Condor Ridge in the language of the Patwin people.

“Locally led conservation efforts are at the heart of what we are advancing in the Biden-Harris administration. Molok Luyuk is sacred to the Tribes who have long advocated for its protection and maintain a deep connection with this land and thanks to President Biden’s leadership, it will now be protected for future generations,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Today I am honored to stand with the Tribal leaders, local communities, and coalitions that made the expansion of this monument possible.”

The expansion of the monument advances the Biden-Harris administration’s work to support community-driven and Tribally led initiatives to conserve and restore the nation’s lands and waters through the President’s America the Beautiful initiative. The Biden-Harris administration has already conserved more than 41 million acres of lands and waters, putting President Biden on track to conserve more lands and waters than any President in history.

Lands within the monument have sustained Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial. In recognition of the importance to the Patwin people, including the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, the Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, and the Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians, the proclamation directs the Secretary of the Interior to explore co-stewardship agreements within the expansion area, including for educational efforts regarding the history of the Tribal Nations.   

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, was originally established by Presidential Proclamation on July 10, 2015, to protect its rich biodiversity, including relic prairies, riparian habitats, and species endemic to California, such as tule elk. In addition to holding important significance for Tribes, the monument provides essential habitat for threatened and endangered fish and wildlife, is home to exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities, and is invaluable for scientific research.

In September, Secretary Haaland, Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning, Congressmen John Garamendi and Mike Thompson, and leaders from the State of California, BLM and Forest Service visited Molok Luyuk to hear directly from the community on proposals to expand the existing national monument to include existing BLM-managed public land. A public meeting was held in December 2023, and demonstrated strong local support for the expansion.

“With today’s action, President Biden has lifted up the voices of Tribes and the local community, honoring collaborative conservation for a place that deserves protection,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, “Molok Luyuk will undoubtedly become one of the treasures of the monument, and we look forward to working with the Tribes to manage it.”

Now encompassing more than 340,000 acres of public land, the national monument is subject to valid existing rights. The monument designation applies to existing federal land managed by the BLM; it does not apply to or affect Tribal land, private, state or local government property. 

More information on the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument can be found on the BLM website.

 

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