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Tribes, Lawmakers Press to Expand Berryessa Snow Mtn. Monument


Wednesday, April 27, 2022   

Local lawmakers and Native American leaders are speaking out in favor of a new bill to add almost 4,000 acres to Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Northern California.

The bill would add an area known as Walker Ridge to the monument and change its name to Condor Ridge, a translation of the native name "Molok Luyuk."

Ben Deci, publc information officer for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, said the land has been inhabited by local tribes for more than 11,000 years.

"It's a meeting place, a traveling route, a trading route," he said. "It has a lot of cultural significance to the people who've lived here for millennia, before the first European settlers."

The Bureau of Land Management currently oversees the area. A few years ago, developers proposed a windmill project that did not come to fruition. Backers of adding the land to the monument have said it would protect the area from future development.

Lake County Supervisor E.J. Crandell, a member of the Robinson Rancheria Tribe, said the windmills would have endangered the raptors native to the area.

"The hawks are very special for regalia making, and they're a sign in our culture for a good outcome," he said. "So, if you see a hawk in the area, you get a sense of peace."

The bill also would formalize a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, BLM and the tribes to co-manage the land for historic preservation, archaeological sites and forest health. The Senate version was introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, both D-Calif. It mirrors a House version, sponsored by Reps. John Garamendi and Mike Thompson, both D-Calif.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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