Effort to name Pinnacles a national park sent to House

Pinnacles National Monument

An effort to have Pinnacles National Monument reclassified as a national park received a boost Thursday when a key committee OK’d the legislation and sent it to the House of Representatives, according to a statement from The Wilderness Society.

The House Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved of the legislation sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, and co-sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, to make Pinnacles National Monument the 59th park in the National Park System.

Farr first introduced a bill to reclassify Pinnacles as a national park in 2009.

The Wilderness Society on Thursday released a statement about the committee passage, but underscored its disappointment that the bill no longer includes 3,000 acres of new, preserved wilderness as part of Pinnacles.

Farr, Denham and other supporters of the bill hope the reclassification would boost tourism at the attraction in San Benito and Monterey counties.

Pinnacles includes 26,000 acres and is largely known for its rocky spires that remain from an ancient volcanic field, along with its condor preservation program – one of three release sites in California that includes 33 free-flying birds.

In June, San Benito County sent Supervisor Jerry Muenzer, who represents District 4 that includes Pinnacles, to testify before the subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands in support of the House of Representatives bill 3641.

Farr could not be reached immediately for comment.

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