WASHINGTON--Pinnacles National Monument in central California is set to become the 59th national park under a bill headed to President Obama’s desk.
The Pinnacles National Park Act cleared the Senate during a rare Sunday session of the lame-duck Congress. The House approved it in July.
The bill is aimed at raising the national profile of the Soledad-area site, which President Theodore Roosevelt designated a monument in 1908.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, who sponsored the Senate bill with fellow California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said it would ensure that Pinnacles “gets the recognition it deserves while also boosting the area’s tourism economy.”
“Pinnacles is a unique American landscape that will become even more popular with visitors as a national park,” added Paul Spitler, director of wilderness policy at the Wilderness Society. “Republicans and Democrats may not see eye-to-eye on all issues, but they do agree that a Pinnacles National Park will help boost tourism dollars in a tough economy.”
The 26,000-acre site, which includes towering rock formations and talus caves created by falling slabs of rock, has played a critical role in the recovery of the California condor. It has been called a volcanic wonderland and a climber’s paradise.
The House bill was sponsored by Reps. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) and Jeff Denham (R-Atwater).