I spent a portion of my childhood pursuing adventures on lands and waters within what is now known as the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument; however, the history of the land and its cultural significance to the people of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation can be traced far beyond that.
The Berryessa Snow Mountain region is the crown jewel of Northern California’s wild Inner Coast Range. These public lands stretch nearly 100 miles from the shores of Lake Berryessa to the flanks of Snow Mountain in the Mendocino National Forest. The region provides habitat for dozens of iconic California birds and animals. Black-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bears, mountain lions and herds of wild tule elk call the region home. Trout streams in the region include the trophy trout fisheries of Putah Creek and the headwaters of the Eel River. The Middle Fork of Stony Creek in the Snow Mountain Wilderness is now state-designated wild trout water, and so is Putah Creek between Solano Lake and Monticello dam. The bass fishing in Clear Lake and Lake Berryessa is world class.
Proposed expansion of the monument through the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act, recently introduced in the Senate by Sens. Feinstein and Padilla and in the House by Reps. Thompson and Garamendi, not only facilitates the co-stewardship of a piece of land important to the tribe; it also conserves biodiversity as well as vital habitat and public access within Condor Ridge (Walker Ridge) region, which includes the Cache Creek and Bear Valley tule elk hunt zones.
The Berryessa Snow Mountain region provides many places for outdoor recreation. Within close reach of San Francisco and Sacramento, residents and visitors alike enjoy visiting these public lands for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, horseback riding, motorized and non-motorized boating, photography, nature viewing, riding OHVs on legally designated routes and much more.
BHA has advocated for the conservation of this important region for over a decade and has lauded the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument as a successful template for monument campaigns across the nation. This legislation would not only preserve access for hunters and anglers to this important region; it also would facilitate the tribal co-stewardship of the landscape and speed up the development of a management plan. Just last year the BLM rejected an application to build wind energy turbines on Condor Ridge. Passing this legislation would help to ensure this iconic landscape and the wildlife that thrive on it remain intact.
BHA applauds Sens. Padilla and Feinstein and Reps. Garamendi and Thompson for their leadership on this legislation and hopes to see the bills passed expeditiously in their respective chambers. My childhood memories of these lands and waters are still sweet to this day, and I hope my daughters can say the same when they are my age.
Take action below today to support this legislation!