Wednesday, August 01, 2012

"a volcanic wonderland and a climber's paradise"

WASHINGTON -- Pinnacles National Monument in central California would become the 59th U.S. national park under a bill that cleared the House on Tuesday with bipartisan support.

The bill creating Pinnacles National Park is aimed at raising the national profile of the site, named a monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

The 26,000-acre site, with its towering rock formations, has played a critical role in the recovery of the California condor and has been called a volcanic wonderland and a climber's paradise.

"Pinnacles is a rare American landscape that will be even more significant as a national park, attracting new visitors to experience its oak savannas, grasslands, dramatic volcanic spires and caves," said Paul Spitler, director of wilderness policy at the Wilderness Society.

If approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama, the bill would make Pinnacles -- already a unit of the National Park Service -- the first new national park since Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado was elevated to a national park in 2004.

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