Thumbs up: Adding to the California Coastal National Monument

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President Barack Obama added to an already impressive conservation legacy last week by adding six sites totaling more than 6,000 acres to the California Coastal National Monument. The newly protected spots include Trinidad Head, the Waluplh-Lighthouse Ranch and a stretch of the Lost Coast Headlands in Humboldt County, as well as sites in Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties and a group of small islands off the Orange County coast. The designation closes the areas to new development, including oil and gas drilling.

The monument was created in 2000 by President Bill Clinton, and Obama expanded it in 2014 to include the Stornetta Public Lands, a breathtaking stretch of the southern Mendocino Coast.

Obama has protected nearly 550 million acres of public land during his White House tenure. Given his successor’s weekend comments about civil rights leader John Lewis, it’s perhaps fitting that Obama’s final monument designations also included a Birmingham, Alabama, church bombed by segregationists and a site from the Freedom Rides in 1961.

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