A sprawling outdoor recreation area that stretches from Solano County to a 7,000-foot Mendocino County peak was included on a list of 24 national monuments targeted for scrutiny Wednesday by President Donald Trump.
The 330,780-acre Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument was one of five California monuments covered by an executive order authorizing a review of 24 large monuments created by three presidents since 1996.
The unprecedented review by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke could result in rescinding, shrinking or altering uses of the monuments, all established on federally owned land or water and covering more than 230 million acres.
Trump, who will mark his first 100 days in office Saturday, said his order would “end another egregious abuse of federal power and give that power back to the states and to the people where it belongs.”
Whether the president has the authority to eliminate a national monument is unclear, but no chief executive has tried and 16 presidents — all but three of whom have served since President Theodore Roosevelt — have designated 157 national monuments.
Trump’s move is regarded as a response to Republican outrage over the monuments, most recently the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which was designated in December in one of former President Barack Obama’s final acts.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, who worked on creating the Berryessa Snow Mountain monument in 2015, questioned reviewing its designation, given broad community support by local officials, businesses, landowners and farmers.
“I think they genuinely are trying to convince people this is a good thing to do,” he said, referring to the Trump administration’s push for review.
Local groups are already planning to send letters to the White House, Thompson said.
“You have to be vigilant. You have to be concerned,” he said.
Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, said people throughout the region “worked their fingers to the bone” to get the monument established.
“In a world of limited resources, this (review) seems like a terribly irresponsible waste of taxpayer dollars,” she said in an email.
The local monument, spanning 100 miles from the Lake Berryessa area to Snow Mountain in the Mendocino National Forest, features trails, waterfalls, lakes, whitewater rapids and stunning vistas that include Sacramento in the distance.
Rich in wildlife and Native American cultural sites, it is open to hikers, hunters, anglers, mountain bikers, horse riders and off-road vehicle drivers.
“Overturning its designation would be grossly out of step with the will of the public,” Thompson said.
No uses of the land were eliminated by the designation, which Thompson said primarily made for “better management” by two federal agencies and better marketing.
Trump’s list was limited to monuments larger than 100,000 acres and created in the last 21 years.
That excluded a 1,665-acre addition to the California Coastal National Monument near Point Arena in Mendocino County made in 2014.
The other four California national monuments on the list were: Giant Sequoia in the southern Sierra east of Visalia; Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County; and Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow, both in San Bernardino County.
The 346,177-acre San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in Los Angeles County was not on the list, according to USA Today.
You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 707-521-5457 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @guykovner.