California’s Pinnacles National Monument is set to be promoted to a national park after a bill to that effect passed through the U.S. Senate on Sunday. That same bill was approved by the House of Representatives in July and now only waits for President Obama‘s signature to make it official.
Located in California’s Gabilan Mountains, just east of the Salinas Valley, Pinnacles National Monument is the site of an ancient volcanic field. The volcano has long since eroded and moved further north along the San Andreas Fault, but its remnants remain throughout the area today. The landscape features towering rock spires, large boulders, narrow canyons, talus caves and other amazing geological formations, all of which have made it a popular destination for climbers.
The 26,000-acre site has also been instrumental to the comeback of the California condor, giving the birds a place to roost amongst its rocky cliffs. The National Park Service has released 32 free-flying condors into the park since 2003, and it has proved to be a safe home for the extremely endangered birds. Elevating the monument into a national park will provide further protections to the condor’s habitat, improving their chance for continued recovery in the future.
There is no word yet on when the President will sign the bill but its proponents have said that it will help give Pinnacles a higher profile amongst travelers and outdoor enthusiasts – something that should be good for the local economy as well.
[Photo Credit: Brocken Inaglory via WikiMedia]