Eureka >> Trinidad Head, Lost Coast Headlands, and Lighthouse Ranch may become part of the California Coastal National Monument, thanks to the Golden State’s senators.
Democrats Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, Aug. 5 that would expand the national monument to add 6,200 acres of federally owned lands in four California counties, including 461 acres on three sites in Humboldt County.
Under the legislation, 440 acres of the Lost Coast Headlands formerly used as a listening post on guard for Soviet submarines would be included in the monument, as well as 8 acres of Lighthouse Ranch — the former Coast Guard lighthouse site approximately 11 miles south of Eureka — and 13 acres at Trinidad Head, including the lighthouse looking out on the sea stacks and Trinidad Harbor.
Patti Fleschner, the president of the Trinidad Museum Society, said that already 20,000 rocks off the shore of the California Coast are a part of the monument.
“I have learned a lot, I’m not a scientist I’m a historian and I have learned an awful lot about appreciating nature and geology through working with the California Coastal National Monument,” Fleschner said.
The Trinidad Museum and other local partners, including the Bureau of Land Management and local tribes have been working together since 2006 to teach people about the significance of the monument and the offshore sea stacks.
“We mainly just want to make sure people are aware of the beauty. These rocks in Trinidad Head are a wonderful place to observe the bird and whale life,” Fleschner said.
Joseph “Jeff” Fontana, the public affairs officer for the BLM Northern California District Office said when the monument was first established by President Bill Clinton in 2000, it was composed of offshore rocks, islands and exposed reefs along the coast.
“The rocks and islands are important for sea birds and for marine mammals and for a lot of different kinds of plants that may not be found on the mainland,” Fontana said. “The only current onshore part of the monument is at Point Arena. This would add more onshore land to the monument.”
Feinstein and Boxer, along with Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, introduced legislation in 2012 to expand the monument to include Mendocino County’s Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands. Last year the expansion was declared the first onshore addition to the monument by President Obama. The legislation introduced Wednesday would expand the monument further, to include onshore land throughout Humboldt, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties.
“This legislation would create a new network of spectacular public lands up and down the Pacific coast, boosting tourism in our communities and permanently protecting these pristine areas for current and future generations to enjoy,” Boxer said in a press release.
Tourism generated over $330 million in Humboldt County every year, and Richard Stenger, the media and marketing manager for the Humboldt County Convention and Visitors Bureau said expanded monument land will likely draw even more visitors.
“The redwoods are our primary attraction, but the coast follows right behind it, and certainly the areas that are going to be included, Trinidad Head and Lost Coast Headlands are among our more popular attractions,” Stenger said.
Stenger added that since all of the current monument locations are offshore, they are limited in access. Having onshore locations will make people more aware of the locations and their beauty.
The new designation protect the areas from development, and will also help to restore habitats and protect water quality through a unified management plan.
“We’re very happy to see more protection for this very unique location,” he said.
Contact Tabitha Soden at 707-441-0510.