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Point Arena Stornetta Public Land

 

Waterfall Going Into The Ocean From The Stornetta Public Land

After long ownership by the Stornetta family, which operated it as a dairy, this remarkable property was acquired by the Nature Conservancy, which donated it to the federal government in 2004, on terms including a grazing lease that will expire in 2014. It has been managed since then by the Ukiah Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), whose responsibilities have been greatly complicated because of Stornetta’s intense seasonal use by recreational abalone divers, and thus requires substantial oversight by BLM staff and Department of Fish and Game wardens.

The Stornetta Public Land is located near Point Arena in Mendocino county, California and is a breathtaking coastal wonder. This beautiful 1,132 acres offer breathtaking scenic views with cypress trees that have been sculpted by the wind and meadows with wildflowers and shifting sand dunes, tide pools, sinkholes and blowholes, as well as two miles of the Garcia River and the Garcia estuary, a quarter mile of beach adjacent to Manchester State Park, and a five acre island called Sea Island Rocks, plus waterfalls that draw visitors to this area’s coastline, beaches and islands. By adding this unique area to the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) will protect and preserve this site while opening opportunities for additional resources to help manage this irreplaceable coastal refuge. The area can be designated part of the CCNM either through congressional action or through the President’s authority under the Antiquities Act. By doing this, the public will be able to access and enjoy the first onshore and to be added to the California Coastal National Monument.

  

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell toured the Stornetta Public Lands in Mendocino County on Friday, November 8. (Picture Taken by Conner Jay / Press Democrat)

On Friday, November 8, Congressman Jared Huffman joined Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell for a tour of the Stornetta Public Lands. They also held a public meeting to discuss the addition of the public lands to the California Coastal National Monument. “Today I had a chance to hike this spectacular coastline and to see first-hand how important this area is for the community and for its economy – from tourism to outdoor recreation,” said Jewell. “And this afternoon I heard from a community who is proud of their incredible landscapes and proud of the work they’ve done over the years to protect them for current and future generations. We have an opportunity here to not only support the community’s vision to conserve this land, but also to create a world-class destination for outdoor recreation and the study of coastal resources, and to strengthen the local economies.”

Friday’s public meeting was one of the last steps before the Obama Administration can use the authority under the Antiquities Act to add the public land to the CCNM. This designation would be the first land-based addition to the CCNM, which is currently made up of more than 20,000 small islands, rocks and reefs along the California coast. The designation would keep the current recreational, ranching, and research uses of the land, and Huffman believes also provide a boost to the tourism industry.

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