It was storming intermittently in Chicago on the evening of Thursday, May 30. Our flight to San Jose was delayed 1.5 hours, so we sat at O’Hare munching on Frontera Tortas and watching the other passengers get increasingly anxious.
Pinnacles National Park is a jewel.
It was established as Pinnacles National Monument on January 16, 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, only the twelfth National Monument created under the presidential powers conferred by the Antiquities Act of 1906. Originally, the monument only protected a little over 2,000 acres at the heart of the park, the pinnacles formations themselves. Since then, the monument has been expanded five times, once by congress and four times by executive order, as the ecological importance and recreational value of the areas adjacent to the monument were recognized. The most recent expansion was in January 2000, by executive order of President Clinton as he left office, largely to preserve the watersheds of Pinnacles’ creeks and streams.
President Obama just signed legislation upgrading Pinnacles National Monument to National Park status, making it the 59th park.
From the press release:
Rising out of the Gabilan Mountains east of central California’s Salinas Valley, Pinnacles is the result of millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement. Within the park’s boundaries lie nearly 27,000 acres of diverse wild lands. Visitors delight in the beauty and variety of its spring wildflowers and more than 400 species of native bees. The Pinnacles rock formations are a popular destination to challenge technical and beginner climbers alike.
Designated as a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the park’s management will not change by the legislation. The Pinnacles National Park Act recognizes the broader significance of park resources, specifically the chaparral, grasslands, blue oak woodlands, and majestic valley oak savanna ecosystems of the area, the area’s geomorphology, riparian watersheds, unique flora and fauna, and the ancestral and cultural history of native Americans, settlers and explorers.