Obama expands protection for California coastline

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm •  Published: March 11, 2014

POINT ARENA, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama is fulfilling a State of the Union pledge to preserve more federal lands by adding more California coastline to a national monument.

Obama on Tuesday signed a proclamation permanently protecting some 1,665 acres in Northern California's Mendocino County, just north of Point Arena. He says he wants to make sure the land is cherished and preserved for future generations.

The action expands the California Coastal National Monument that President Bill Clinton created in 2000. The protected area includes coastal bluffs and shelves, onshore sand dunes, tide pools, coastal prairies, riverbanks and the mouth and estuary of the salmon-filled Garcia River. Obama noted it provides an economic boost to the region through tourism.

Markley Bavinger with the Trust for Public Land, one of the environmental and community groups working to protect the site, described the area in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle.

"You get out on that landscape, and you are out there in a different world — and it's a magical world," Bavinger said. "You're surrounded by these vistas that extend all the way as far as the eye can see."

Many nearby residents hope Obama's proclamation will lure more tourists to Point Arena, a small city in Mendocino County.

The property's shoreline is home to a variety of creatures, including beavers, sea lions and the endangered Behren's silverspot butterfly. Chinook and coho salmon as well as steelhead trout can be found in the Garcia River, and whales migrate off the coast.

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