The California Coastal National Monument runs the length of the state and is filled with offshore islands, reefs and rocks -- until now. President Obama on Tuesday will add 1,665 onshore acres near Mendocino to the parkland said to be the most viewed but least recognized of U.S. national monuments.
Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, as the new area is known, will receive added federal protection for a stretch of breathtaking shoreline north of Port Arena. Locals who campaigned to beef up the federal parkland hope to stimulate tourism to the area.
"This is now going to be part of the national monument — the only land-based gateway to the coastal monument," Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. "I think that's a big deal."
The original national monument protects a zone that extends 12 miles out to sea and wildlife such as seals and sea lions as well as seabirds.
Things that make the Stornetta land special:
--It contains the estuary of the Garcia River, which is prime Coho and Chinook salmon habitat.
--It also includes a small island called Sea Lion Rocks that is accessible during low tide.
At the moment, hiking, picnicking and wildlife viewing are the only activities allowed (no overnight camping) on the land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.
Obama used the federal Antiquities Act to establish the national monument, a move that bypasses Congress. The president will hold a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday to celebrate the new parkland.