While the Republicans in Congress were distracted by Benghazi and tax cuts and being crazy old men, Barack Obama stealthily created a new national park in California. Is this the beginning of the Obama Administration’s bold action on the environment and climate change, which until now hasn’t been bold at all? Maybe.
Pinnacles National Park was also signed into existence over the lines of an existing national monument dating back to 1908, when Republicans were the environmentalists. The ragged volcanic landscape and habitat for the humongous (and critically endangered) California Condor runs along the San Andreas Fault, 80 miles southeast of San Francisco. But because you can’t even drive all the way through it, some wonder if it is truly an American national park.
The new Pinnacles National Park becomes the 59th full national park in the United States, joining Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Everglades and the other most storied parts of America’s national heritage. The park, a 26,000-acre expanse featuring rocky spires, caves and California condors that was first set aside as a monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, also becomes the closest national park to the Bay Area now, supplanting Yosemite National Park.
Republicans in Congress have blocked any expansion or creation of national parks since Obama took office, because they hate both nature and especially hate Barack Obama. Why didn’t they block this bill, which was sponsored by a California Democrat in the House and backed by Democratic senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein? Maybe because Republican Rep. Jeff Denham joined Carmel Democrat Sam Farr on the bill? Anyway, now Pinnacles is a national park, the Central California region around the new attraction hopes to get tourist money from rich hikers from the Bay Area, and the condor will continue to have a safe place where the BLM won’t be selling fracking permits to oil companies.
Photo by Vlad & Marina Butsky.