Washington, DC — In anticipation of National Parks Week coming up next week, 28 state legislators from California released a letter today thanking President Obama for protecting public lands here in California. They join more than 200 state legislators from around the country calling on President Obama to continue to fulfill his State of the Union promise and use his authority to protect America’s public lands.
“From Yosemite National Park to the Golden Gate, California is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the country,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “Now is a critical time to protect the last wild places here in California and across the country that are too special to develop and ensure future generations can enjoy them as we do today.”
The letter thanks President Obama for recently using his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in Mendocino County. Referencing the economic and societal benefits of parks and monuments, the legislators implore the president to continue working with local communities and making commitments to protect public lands and designating the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region near Las Cruces, N.M., and Boulder-White Clouds in Idaho as national monuments.
“The Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands are the perfect place to hike, explore, and soak in the rugged beauty of Northern California. The area offers over 1,600 acres of wetlands, trails, and beaches and is a destination for wildlife lovers and a safe haven for rare animals,” said Senator Noreen Evans. “I am grateful President Obama acted quickly to protect this natural treasure, and I call on him to set a bold agenda to continue protecting landscapes that are ecologically, economically, and culturally important for all Americans.”
The letter goes on to applaud the president for proposing to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in this year’s budget. The LWCF is one of the most successful federal land conservation programs. Since its inception, the LWCF has invested nearly $14.4 billion into protecting state and federal lands including more than 40,000 matching grants that have gone directly to states and county governments for local parks and playgrounds. These matching grants increase access to the outdoors for families while protecting critical wildlife habitat and drinking water sources.
The Santa Monica Mountains and our public lands in California and across the country deserve the full funding they need and the protection they deserve,” said Assemblymember Anthony Rendon, Chair of the California Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee. “I’m proud to stand with more than 200 legislators from around the country ready to work with Congress and the White House to ensure the viability of one of the nation’s most successful conservation programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
The letter comes on the heels of recent attacks by the House of Representatives on our public lands. Last month, the House passed legislation, dubbed the “No New Parks” bill, which limits the president’s authority to act decisively to protect deserving landscapes. Last year, the government shutdown resulted in the closure of national parks and monuments, crippling tourism-dependent economies nationwide. And last summer, members of Congress introduced a bill to completely zero out funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Fortunately, it hasn’t gone anywhere.
Through this letter, legislators hope to demonstrate strong, nationwide public support for the president to protect America’s public lands.
Environment California is a state-based, citizen-funded, environmental advocacy organization working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future.