In Honor of the Opening of Pinnacles National Parkby Representative Sam Farr
Posted on 2013-02-14
in the house of representatives
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the opening of Pinnacles
National Park, the 59th National Park in the United States. I want to
thank Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for joining us to celebrate
the opening of Pinnacles National Park on February 11, 2013.
Pinnacles truly is a special place. There are few words that can describe the feeling of watching a California condor spread its massive wings as it soars high above the volcanic spires or the beauty of the Park's wildflowers painted upon the landscape by the springtime sun.
Native Americans were the first to discover the cliffs of Pinnacles. The Chalon and Mutsun groups of the Ohlone people lived here thousands of years ago. This place was more than just a home to these native tribes; it was the center of their community. As our nation spread west and homesteaders began to settle on the Central Coast, they too were drawn to this spot. Led by Schuler Hain, who the wilderness of Pinnacles is now named for, they would hike into the park to explore the Talus Caves or picnic in the open meadows. Realizing that this was a special place worthy of protection for generations to enjoy, Schuler Hain gathered the community and preservation efforts were launched. Then, in 1908 President Theodore Roosevelt established Pinnacles National Monument. A century later, understanding the economic potential of a National Park designation, surrounding counties again turned to Pinnacles as a means to support their communities.
I would like to thank Representative Jeff Denham, who co-sponsored the bill, Senator Barbara Boxer for championing the bill in the Senate and President Obama in making Pinnacles a national park thus achieving the dream of Schuler Hain and President Theodore Roosevelt.
I can't help but think of the pride my father, who as a state Senator protected so many special places here in California, would have felt if he were alive to see the creation of the ninth national park here in his home state. I also think of my friend and my first campaign chair, Ansel Adams, whose iconic photographs captured the unbelievable beauty of this country, inspiring a whole new generation of Americans to experience our other great parks. Finally, I think of the Ansel Adams of this generation, Director Ken Burns, a supporter of elevating Pinnacles to a national park, whose documentary series National Parks: America's Best Idea captured the story of our country's efforts to set aside land for protection.
He and his business partner, Dayton Duncan wrote: ``National parks are truly `America's best idea,' an idea that for nearly 150 years has kept evolving and expanding, not just in the United States but across the entire world. It is the Declaration of Independence written upon the landscape, a statement that a nation's most majestic and sacred places should be preserved for all time and for everyone . . .
``Pinnacles National Park, like so many in our history, is the result of the dedication of individual citizens who worked tirelessly to save a special place they loved, so that others could love it and appreciate it as well. It has a deep history that matches its beauty . . .
``We cannot think of a better way to express our feelings than to quote John Muir, who had this to say about the people responsible for the birth of a new national park: `Happy will be [the ones] who, having the power and the love and the benevolent forecast [to create a park] will do it. They will not be forgotten. The trees and their lovers will sing their praises, and generations yet unborn will rise up and call them blessed.' '' Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to call Pinnacles a national park. I encourage all Americans to come visit this truly special place and be inspired to go home and preserve the special places in their own communities.